The Darwin Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2020 season, with a wide-ranging program spanning Mozart and Shostakovich to ABBA, as well as new collaborations with Galpu songman Guwanbal Gurruwiwi and the dancers of NT Dance Company.
Jonathan Tooby and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Photo supplied
“2019 was a year of incredible growth and prosperity for our organisation, and has set an exciting precedent for things to come,” the DSO’s Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Jonathan Tooby said in a media release. “And 2020 is another year full of extraordinary musical experiences for DSO.”
“For me, putting any program together requires a clear perspective on the artistic needs of the community you are serving, including the musicians,” Tooby told Limelight. “In 2020 I felt that musical diversity was paramount, given that we are reaching diverse audiences in different contexts. I am also constantly mindful of giving Darwin Symphony Orchestra’s musicians meaningful and challenging work to present. Our 2020 Season very much reflects this diversity, with the program ranging from ABBA to Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.”
The season opens in March with Around the World in 80 Minutes at the Darwin Entertainment Centre – a race through music from around the world hosted by Shalom Kaa – with Kids’ Classics concerts in June and September, and a weekend of intimate concerts, DSO Up Close, in May. The orchestra returns to the Darwin Botanic Gardens in June for ConocoPhillips Symphony: DISCO, a concert of iconic dance hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s.
At the centre of the DSO’s 2020 season are two collaboration with Indigenous artists. Love and Revolution, presented as part of the Darwin Festival in August, will see the orchestra perform the world premiere of a work by DSO violinist and composer Netanela Mizrahi and Guwanbal Gurruwiwi, with whom she has collaborated regularly. The new work, called Miyapunu, will open a concert featuring Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, with violinist Semra Lee Smith and violist Sally Boud as soloists.
Where I Roam in December will see Larrakia choreographer Gary Lang create a new work for the orchestra and the dancers of the NT Dance Company, of which Lang is Artistic Director. The work follows the success of his recent collaboration, Milnjiya, Milky Way – River of Stars, with Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham and the West Australian Ballet, which Tooby conducted in 2018.
“Indigenous art and culture is so strong and present in the NT,” Tooby said. “It makes so much sense that we collaborate with Indigenous artists to create something meaningful and unique to this place. In 2019 DSO commissioned and performed Yuwani, a work written jointly by Lachlan Skipworth and Don Nunggarrgalu from Numbulwar, which was a huge success. Yuwani already has two performances planned for 2020. This work was a real partnership between Indigenous storytelling through song, and western art music. So for me this really marks a new direction for DSO. Collaborating with Netanela and Guwanbal, and Gary Lang’s NT Dance Company is the next step we take on what I hope will be a long and purposeful journey.”