The Darwin Symphony Orchestra will celebrate its 30th anniversary this month with a gala concert, conducted by the orchestra’s new Chief Conductor Jonathan Tooby, featuring Sibelius’ iconic Finlandiaand Mahler’s First Symphony. At the centre of the program, however, is a brand-new work commissioned by the orchestra, Yuwani, by Perth composer Lachlan Skipworth and Numbulwar musician Don Nunggarrgalu, who will sing and play lambirlpil (the Numbulwar word for didgeridoo) in the performance.

Darwin Symphony Orchestra at Uluru The Darwin Symphony Orchestra became the first orchestra to perform at Uluru in 2013. Photo supplied

Skipworth has written for the orchestra before, contributing (along with Ross Edwards, Iain Grandage and Kat McGuffie) one of four movements for a work commemorating the 40-year anniversary of Cyclone Tracy in 2015. But when he was asked to contribute a piece for the orchestra’s 30th anniversary, he was initially reluctant. “It’s an occasion for the orchestra and I didn’t actually go up to Darwin last time, in 2015, so I’d never been there, and I was struggling, in my mind, to justify how some art that I produced would be relevant to that occasion,” he says. “So that’s why...

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