Following the orchestra’s triumphant 2015 season opener, Sir Simon praised AWO as one of the world’s great orchestras.

Without question, the opening night of the Australian World Orchestra’s 2015 season, under the baton of arguably the world’s most revered and accomplished conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, was the hottest ticket in the country yesterday evening. To an almost packed Sydney Opera House, the orchestra, which is made up of Australia’s finest orchestral musicians recruited from major orchestras Down Under and overseas, delivered a faultless performance of astonishing finesse and power, featuring the music of French impressionist Claude Debussy (with some Aussie orchestration courtesy of Brett Dean) and Bruckner’s gargantuan Symphony No. 8.

Sir Simon Rattle conducts the AWO (Photo: Prudence Upton)

Sir Simon took the opportunity at a function following the performance to speak about the unique phenomenon that is the Australian World Orchestra, and the position of this wonderful ensemble among the world’s most elite musical institutions.

Around the world there aren’t many great orchestras but the Australian World Orchestra is one of them without any doubt. You don’t only have to say it’s a national treasure; it’s an international treasure. In Japan, it would already be one of their ‘living national heroes’. Please, I know you have looked after it. I know it’s difficult. It’s always a difficult time for the arts, but this is very, very special – very unusual. It’s only going to get better. One of the players said to me after the Bruckner, “Playing this piece, it sometimes feels like trying to lasso galaxies”, which is a great phrase. However, I think if any group of musicians could lasso galaxies it’s this. Bless you, all of you who have supported them. Bless you, the musicians. Bless you, the crazy people who came up with the idea in the first place. Magdalena, me and my family – the whole zoo, as we call them – have loved being in this incredible country. More power to your elbow, and we will do all we can to support you. Meanwhile, look after them and love them as you have. They deserve it more than I can tell you.”

Read Clive Paget’s 5 star review here.
Simon Rattle conducts the Australian World Orchestra again at the Sydney Opera House on July 31, and Arts Centre Melbourne on August 1. 

Sign up to the Limelight newsletter