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Message from the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

Dr Nicholas Milton AM

Welcome to 2020

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 season — my final year as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director with this unique ensemble. I am incredibly proud of all we have accomplished together over these past fourteen years. For my farewell season, the musicians and I have produced a captivating range of dramatic and vivid programs that deliver our profound musical mission across our community.

Our flagship Llewellyn Series provides an extraordinary platform as we perform the most ambitious and thrilling works of the symphonic canon. Every concert of the 2020 season brings together astonishing and stunningly gorgeous repertoire, from the explosive power of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony and the raw energy of Beethoven’s most revolutionary symphony to Mahler’s monumental Fifth Symphony with its heart-wrenching Adagietto. Alan Vivian will perform Weber’s virtuosic Clarinet Concerto, and you’ll also experience the phenomenal intensity of Konstantin Shamray’s interpretation of Grieg’s beloved Piano Concerto.

Australian music holds an integral place at the heart of the CSO’s musical quest. Curated by my dear friend Matthew Hindson, our Australian Series is one of the most remarkable and successful initiatives in the national orchestral landscape. Our extensive commissioning program has opened up imaginative and dramatic sonic dimensions and continues to unleash the prodigious potential of an emerging generation of composers and performers. In the Llewellyn Series, we’ll also hear riveting Australian works by Natalie Williams, Carl Vine, Ella Macens, and Matthew Hindson. In their diverse languages, these composers celebrate the fervent freedom of our national character in all of its ardent variety.

I am especially overjoyed to announce that our 2020 Artist in Focus will be Umberto Clerici. His unforgettable performances with the CSO have received the most enthusiastic feedback, and he consistently inspires all of us — on stage and in the audience — with the enchanting poetry of his artistry. I look forward to conducting what I am sure will be a spectacular performance of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto. Umberto is also a brilliantly talented conductor, and he will direct the Canberra Weekly Classic Afternoon concert in a program that couples some of his favourite Italian music with one of Mozart’s glorious violin concertos performed by the internationally renowned Australian violinist, Natalie Chee.

Our 2020 Gala concert event is a Last Night of the Proms style tribute concert, complete with flag-waving and sing-along opportunities. This ‘Best of British’ performance features the talented Lorina Gore, who will sing selections from the beautiful Songs of the Auvergne and, by way of contrast … Mary Poppins! With a massive orchestra and massed choir, we’ll also bring you all of your favourite Last Night of the Proms hits, including Elgar’s enthralling Pomp and Circumstance March, Dambusters, Jerusalem and, of course, Rule Brittania. This event will sell out quickly, so secure your tickets soon for what will be the biggest and brashest night of the year.

I’d like to warmly thank our management team and our enlightened Board of Directors led by Sir Angus Houston for their ongoing engagement and passionate support of our shared dreams for the community. All of us in the Canberra Symphony Orchestra family keenly look forward to seeing you at our concerts in 2020, and sharing with you magnificent, reflective, magical moments of exquisite beauty.

Dr Nicholas Milton AM
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

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