Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra Announces Its 2021 Season

Article Pixel

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra today announces its 2021 Season — a celebration of Australian artists.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra Announces Its 2021 Season

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra today announces its 2021 Season - a celebration of Australian artists as 19 of the nation's internationally-renowned musicians join Australia's premier Orchestra.

Usually based internationally, Australia's leading expats have returned home in numbers seldom experienced before. The Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 2021 Season features the best and brightest of our musical exports, allowing audiences the rare opportunity to hear the nation's foremost performers back on home soil alongside Australia's premier Orchestra.

In the Orchestra's upcoming season, 18 works will be premiered, including 15 world-premieres of Australian works. Throughout the season, audiences will experience weekly the best of Australian artistry through returned, internationally-acclaimed homegrown soloists and conductors, our nation's foremost composers, and never-before-heard Australian works with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra CEO Emma Dunch is proud to announce the Orchestra's latest season, a program developed in history-defining circumstances and a reminder of the power of live music.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 2021 Season," says Dunch.

"In 2021, we celebrate the magic of live performance with the very best of our nation's artists and composers. We launch our major commissioning project, 50 Fanfares, giving the world premiere of 15 new Australian works by composers of a broad range of voices and musical styles, commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, we share the stage with the world's most sought-after artists, and we spotlight the extraordinary virtuosity of our very own Sydney Symphony musicians.

"This is a truly remarkable time for music here in Australia. The historic circumstances that we have found ourselves in this year reminds us of the importance of community, of connection, and live performance. We cannot wait to take the next step with audiences in our Orchestra's musical journey - it'll be a year filled with old favourites and new discoveries, exceptional music-making, and as always, sublime moments with Australia's premier Orchestra!"

With more of the nation's leading artists returning to Australia than ever before, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will share the stage with 19 illustrious soloists and conductors. Alongside Australia's premier Orchestra, audiences will experience the immense virtuosity for which these artists are internationally celebrated, back in some of the very same venues that they performed in before they took the world by storm.

Among the artists include Australian-Chinese conductor Dane Lam who made his debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the iconic Sydney Opera House at the age of 18. Since then, Lam has gone on to lead orchestras across Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia. In 2021, the Brisbane-born conductor will lead the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the first Symphony Hour program for the season- one hour programs starting at 7.00pm exploring classical and contemporary works right in the heart of the city at Sydney Town Hall. In this bite-sized concert, Lam will together with Australia's premier Orchestra perform Water, written by English rock band Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, and Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 Organ Symphony, with Sydneysider and organist David Drury performing on the largest instrument of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere (25 February).

Fast gaining a reputation as Australia's finest young violinist, Grace Clifford will perform Sibelius' intense and fiendishly difficult Violin Concerto. Currently studying at the New England Conservatory in Boston, United States of America, the 22-year-old musician has performed with orchestras across the country, New Zealand, Malaysia, and toured the United States of America. Clifford will join the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by New-Zealand born conductor Gemma New for Arctic Winds - Sibelius and Tchaikovsky at the Sydney Town Hall (25-28 August).

In his Sydney Symphony Orchestra debut as conductor, Australian Fabian Russell will explore a program of early works by composers of the 21st Century, featuring John Adams' Shaker Loops and Dmitri Shostakovich's First Symphony (27 May). The pieces launched the careers of each composer when they premiered.

A renowned brass specialist, Russell will return to conduct a program celebrating the best of the brass repertoire (28 May). The program will begin with Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, which was written in 1942 under the direction of conductor Eugene Goossens, who would then go on to become the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's first chief conductor five years later.

Other Australian artists who will join the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2021 include Benjamin Bayl (conductor), Nicholas Carter (conductor), Ray Chen (violin), James Clayton (bass baritone), Steve Davislim (tenor), Daniel de Borah (pianist), British-Australian Finnegan Downie Dear (conductor), Andrew Goodwin (tenor), British-born and Australian citizen Stephen Hough (pianist), Caitlin Hulcup (Mezzo soprano), Piers Lane (pianist), Benjamin Northey (conductor), Jacqueline Porter (soprano), Siobhan Stagg (soprano), and Simone Young (Chief Conductor Designate).

Setting the tone for the season to come, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 2021 Season will kick-off with a program featuring Chief Conductor Designate Simone Young at the helm as she leads the Orchestra and Brisbane-raised violinist Ray Chen in Tchaikovsky's swoon-worthy Violin Concerto at the Sydney Town Hall (10-13 February). The program will also feature a new work by fellow Queenslander Connor D'Netto, the first of the 50 Fanfare commissions to be given its world premiere.

Since winning a position at age 15 at the highly selective Curtis Institute of Music, Colorado, Taiwanese Australian Ray Chen is regarded as one the world's foremost violinists. Leveraging social media and producing videos that combine comedy, education and music, the 31-year-old soloist is a pioneer of using modern technology to engage new audiences and demographics. His proficiency for making classical music relatable through social media is surpassed only by his mastery on the stage, performing globally with the world's major orchestras in leading concert halls across the globe.

Described by ABC Classic FM as "the model contemporary Australian composer," 26-year-old Connor D'Netto combines lush orchestral textures with driving rhythms and delicate electronic music elements. An award-winning composer, D'Netto's music has been commissioned by ensembles across the nation and internationally, and performed by artists such as Australian singer-songwriter Katie Noonan.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra welcomes back Australian conductor Simone Young as its Chief Conductor Designate.

Showcasing her mastery on the podium for which she is globally renowned, the Sydney-born conductor will perform works by Beethoven (18-20 February), and Bach and Brahms (29-31 July).

For Sacred Ground (4-7 August), Young will be joined by an all-Australian cast including Siobhan Stagg (soprano), Caitlin Hulcup (mezzo-soprano), Steve Davislim (tenor), James Clayton (baritone), and the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs for Mozart's exquisite Requiem. In the same program, the globally sought conductor will give the world premiere of Australian composer Mary Finsterer's new work, as part of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 50 Fanfares project.

Simone Young's long-standing association with the Sydney Symphony began in 1996, and she has been a frequent guest conductor while residing in Europe and holding roles with major institutions there. Young becomes the Orchestra's thirteenth Chief Conductor, the first Australian-born conductor to hold the position since 1991, and the third Australian to hold the title. The Sydney Symphony's two previous Australian-born Chief Conductors were Sir Charles Mackerras (1982-1985) and Stuart Challender (1987-1991).

PRINCIPAL GUEST CONDUCTOR DONALD RUNNICLES TAKES AUDIENCES ON A JOURNEY THROUGH CLASSICAL MUSIC'S MOST SUBLIME WORKS AND UNCOVERS NEW AUSTRALIAN WORKS

Appointed in 2018, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles returns to guide audiences on journeys through the most sublime works in 2021. Across the season, he will give the world premiere of three 50 Fanfares commissions written by Australian composers.

Joined by Australian soprano Jacqueline Porter, the Scottish conductor will lead the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Schubert's Lieder selections and Mahler's Fourth Symphony - works which will illustrate why Runnicles is sought the world-over as a masterful interpreter of music (6 and 8 May).

From 12-15 May in the Force of Nature program, Runnicles will be joined by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Principal Flute player Joshua Batty debuting as soloist in Leonard Bernstein's Halil. The Hebrew word for .

"flute", Halil will showcase Batty's virtuosity as a flautist and demonstrate why he was appointed as Principal

.Runnicles will return to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 15-18 September, joined by British-born pianist Stephen Hough performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 - the opening theme of which was used in the final leg of the 1980 Soviet Union Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony torch relay. First performed in 1937, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony - a work rumored to be a rebellion against Stalin's rule - will also feature as part of the program.

Showcasing the phenomenal artistry of its own musicians, 35 Sydney Symphony Orchestra musicians will feature as guest conductors, and in chamber ensembles, and in specially curated programs.

In an Easter special, Concertmaster Andrew Haveron will lead and direct Haydn's Seven Last Words of Jesus on the Cross - a work that uses as inspiration each of Christ's final seven words on the cross (26 and 27 March). A technical feat, Haveron will lead his fellow musicians, displaying the artistry for which they are renowned. On 27 March, the work will feature alongside Barber's Mutations from Bach, Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium, and Giovanni Gabrieli's Canzon per Sonar Primi Toni No.1 and Canzon per Sonar in Echo Duodecimi Toni.

Principal Cello Umberto Clerici will take up the baton in place of his cello in 2021, conducting a program inspired by Mozart. Featuring Mozart's Piano Concerto No.17 with Australian pianist Daniel de Borah, the work will be performed alongside Ibert's Hommage à Mozart and Schubert's Fifth Symphony, a work inspired by Mozart.

Recently appointed Principal Clarinet James Burke will make his soloist debut with the Sydney Symphony performing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto (17-20 March). Prior to his appointment with the Sydney Symphony in September 2020, British-born Burke was Co-Principal of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Principal Clarinet of the Academy of St Martin in-the-Fields in London. His extensive career has seen him perform with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia and London Symphony Orchestra, and collaborate with world-renowned artists such as violinist Joshua Bell.

Appointed as Principal Flute in 2019, Joshua Batty will debut as soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Leonard Bernstein's Halil as part of the Force of Nature program, conducted by Principal Guest

Conductor Donald Runnicles (12-15 May). Performing extensively as Principal Guest Flute with leading orchestras across Europe, USA and South America, the accomplished flautist is known for his virtuosity and championing new and rarely performed works. As a soloist, he has premiered several works and performed at Buckingham Palace.

Chamber performances featuring Sydney Symphony musicians will take place throughout the year as the Orchestra continues its intimate Utzon Room concerts at the Sydney Opera House.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will be bringing the most distinguished artists to Australia. American conductor Karina Canellakis (14-17 July), New-Zealand born Gemma New


Related Articles View More Classical Music Stories

More Hot Stories For You