The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2020 season, which will feature a brand new clarinet concerto by the orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence Alice Chance. “Alice Chance writes music of spectacular originality, portraying a myriad of colours and textures,” said WSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Nicholas Milton, who described Chance – who was a finalist at this year’s Art Music Awards – as “one of Australia’s most compelling composers.”
Alice Chance. Photo © Steven Godbee
The new work, which the orchestra has commissioned for clarinettist Oliver Shermacher – a finalist at last year’s ABC Young Performers Awards and winner of the 2018 Freedman Fellowship – will premiere in May, conducted by Sarah Penicka-Smith. The concert will also feature music by Farrenc, Debussy, Brahms and another world premiere, the winner of the Fine Music 102.5 and Willoughby Symphony Young Composer Award.
As Composer in Residence in 2020, following in the footsteps of Kate Moore, Nigel Westlake, Daniel Rojas and Elena Kats-Chernin, Chance’s work will also be featured in the orchestra’s April concert, which showcases the Willoughby Symphony Choir and Bel a cappella Chamber Choir. Anthony Pasquill conducts Chance’s Holy Dreaming, a meditation on the words of the first Aboriginal Deacon ordained by the Anglican Church, alongside Dyson’s Hierusalem, and Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. The concert will also feature another Australian work, with Maria Lindsay performing the Violin Concerto written for her by the late pianist and bandleader Tommy Tycho.
Other guest artists on the 2020 season include pianist Amir Farid, who joins Milton and the WSO in July for Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2, alongside Mendelssohn’s Ruy Blas Overture and, to mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the famous Fifth Symphony.
In September, the Nexas Saxophone Quartet will perform Elena Kats-Chernin’s Five Chapters, originally composed for the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, with Milton conducting, alongside Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.
Rounding out the year, the Estivo Trio joins Milton and the WSO in November for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, alongside Sibelius’ Finlandia and Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony.
Next year will also see the return of plenty of WSO favourites, with Milton opening the season in February with soloists from Pacific Opera joining the orchestra and choir for the annual Gala concert, as well as Last Night of the Proms in August and The Magic of Christmas – conducted by Guy Noble – in December. The orchestra will join with the Willoughby Symphony Choir in June for Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and with Lior in May for a concert conducted by Nigel Westlake. The orchestra’s children’s concerts will also return, with Mini Maestros Singalong in January and Beethoven’s Birthday in July.