The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra has announced a new series of community concerts, titled Sanctuary. While the ASO is yet to return to the concert hall since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, the new series – created in partnership with Community Centres SA and conducted by Martin Butler – will see a 16-strong string ensemble perform at Community Centres across metropolitan Adelaide in August.

ASO Community Centre ConcertsPercussionist Sami Butler, conductor Martin Butler and violinist Shirin Lim. Photo courtesy of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

“I think the idea of music as providing a sanctuary for the listener is very strong, especially given the circumstances today,” Butler said. “The original meaning of the word describes a place that provides immunity from arrest for fugitives or debtors, but it has now come to mean a place of refuge or protection. Our mixed program of shorter pieces, from the music of the court of Louis XIV to the tangos of Piazzolla, will certainly provide that. Besides, we can’t wait to hear some actual applause! It’s been a long time.”

The ASO hopes these programs will provide a sanctuary and remove many common barriers facing people that prevent them from attending mainstage performances, including social isolation, financial stress and mobility issues. “Music brings people together, where they may not have crossed paths before,” said ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello. “It can facilitate understanding, empathy and discovery. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s work in the community space encourages all of these things, with a focus on access for all. Whilst our concerts have been put on pause, the orchestra can’t wait to get on the road and out and about in local communities which will provide some much needed relief for those doing it tough during this unprecedented time.”

The ASO has performed in Community Centres since 2016. “For many years, Community Centre participants have delighted in the emotional journey that the ASO community concerts have taken them through,” Community Centres CEO Kylie Fergusen said. “Feedback consistently tells us how valued the concerts are. Attendees find that the beautiful orchestral sounds support their stress management, enhance memory, promote wellness, and nurture their expression of feeling. And of course, the delightful engagement with the ASO conductor always brings a smile. We can’t wait to hear this year’s performances!”

“We are looking forward to re-establishing the relationship with our audiences as soon as possible,” Butler said. “I hope our music provides some solace and humour, in these disquieting times.”

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will perform at Community Centres around Adelaide from August 3 to 19

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