The Canberra Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2019 season, with an offering spanning classic masterworks to Australian compositions. “Our dazzling concerts have been created to invigorate your senses, elevate your spirits and open your imaginations to a transcendent world of impeccable beauty,” the CSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Dr Nicholas Milton AM said.

“The four stellar concert programs of the ActewAGL Llewellyn Series escort you on an intriguing and beguiling odyssey. You’ll be swept away by the momentous drama of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony and Ravel’s sumptuous orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and exhilarated by the craggy sonorous landscape of Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony.”

Canberra Symphony Orchestra, CSO, Nicholas MiltonNicholas Milton. Photo © Martin Ollman

Oboist Diana Doherty, will perform Nigel Westlake’s Spirit of the Wild Oboe Concerto in the opening concert in April (she’s also performing the work, written for her in 2017, in both the Sydney and Queensland 2019 seasons) on a program featuring Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus Overture, Ross Edwards’ Ecstatic Dances and Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony conducted by Jessica Cottis.

“The CSO’s 2019 Artist in Focus is an Australian musical legend,” Milton said. “The captivating and inimitable Diana Doherty, Principal Oboe of the Sydney Symphony. Diana is recognised as one of Australia’s most brilliant and compelling artistic personalities, a performer whose artistic genius ignites every stage upon which she performs.”

“It will be the first opportunity of this kind for me and I am grateful and honoured to have the chance to highlight the oboe in so many different ways,” Doherty said.

In June, author and conductor Paul Kildea will lead the CSO in the world premiere of a new work by Kirsten and Kenneth Lampl, To the Memory of Nelson Cooke: an Elegy for Cello and Orchestra, with David Pereira as soloist, with the Grigoryan Brothers joining the orchestra for Rodrigo’s Concierto madrigal, the concert bookended by Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro Overture and Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony.

Pianist Andrea Lam will perform Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto with the orchestra and Milton in August, alongside Ravel’s La Valse, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Matthew Hindson’s The Stars Above Us All, a Hush Foundation commission.

Rounding out the season in October, Milton will conduct Sibelius’ Finlandia and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony, with cellist Umberto Clerici joining the orchestra to perform Elgar’s well-loved Cello Concerto.

Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Diana Doherty, Christie BrewsterDiana Doherty. Photo © Christie Brewster

On top of the mainstage concerts, Classic Afternoon in September will see Doherty directing the orchestra in a concert featuring the oboe concertos of Bach, Mozart and Vaughan Williams alongside Mozart’s Symphony No 25. The CSO Opera Gala in May will see conductor Richard Gill join soprano Jacqui Porter and bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman in a concert spanning Monteverdi to Cole Porter, while the Shell Prom in November will see Vanessa Scammell conduct the orchestra and musical theatre performers Genevieve Kingsford and Josh Piterman in a concert of Broadway hits from My Fair Lady to Wicked.

2019 will also see the return of the CSO’s Australian Series, a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery curated by composer Matthew Hindson. “I am humbled and honoured that Prof Matthew Hindson AM continues to curate such an important aspect of our vision and to kindle and protect the flame of the CSO’s own distinct and blooming Australian musical tradition,” Milton said.

The two concerts will showcase the work of Australian composers, including Michael Smetanin, Benjamin Drury, Claire Edwardes (who is also the soloist in the first Australian Series concert in March), Clare Strong, Kate Moore, Paul Mac, Ross Edwards and Cyrus Meurant. The series will also feature the world premieres of newly commissioned works by Elizabeth Younan, Deborah Cheetham and Rhyan Clapham.

Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Andrea LamAndrea Lam. Photo: supplied

The orchestra’s Recital Series will feature Diana Doherty and pianist Bernadette Harvey, the Grigoryan Brothers, Andrea Lam and Umberto Clerici (with pianist Benjamin Kopp) in concerts across the year.

“I invite you to join us in 2019 on an epic journey of exceptional musical experiences,” said Milton, “in which we may share a fierce yearning for the profound joy and exquisite beauty of music that enriches our community.”


The Full Season

Limelight, Australia's Classical Music and Arts Magazine