Your free what's on guide to the top end

Darwin Symphony Orchestra 2017

This year is looking good for the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO), with a line-up of exhilarating events that will bring a diverse selection of music and artists to the Top End. 

Interview with Chelsea Heaney.

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Matthew Wood has put together a program that explores iconic composers, features some of Australia’s leading soloists, celebrates our iconic Territory landscape and continues to deliver on the DSO’s commitment to providing vibrant and engaging performances for the community. Following the realease of their 2017 program, Off The Leash caught up with Wood to chat about what audiences can expect from the year ahead. 

What are you most looking forward to with the DSO in 2017?

Everything! This year we continue our dedication and commitment to being an orchestra of and for the community by bringing you a rich and diverse season of indoor and outdoor performances filled with a veritable treasure trove of music ranging from operatic opulence to rock royalty.

How is this year's program different to others?

In many ways we are building on the tremendous success of previous years – continuing our much-loved association with ConocoPhillips in our annual rock-orchestral concert at the Botanic Garden’s Amphitheatre and our annual Opera Gala at the Darwin Waterfront. We also head into the fourth year of our extremely successful MasterSeries concerts at the Darwin Convention Centre – we are confident that this year will not disappoint. 

How do you feel about the DSO audiences in Darwin? Do you get a wide range of people attending concerts?

The DSO has had 27 years of developing a fantastic relationship with its audiences. It has achieved this by being an orchestra of and for all the people of Darwin and the Territory as a whole, through regional touring and accessible, relevant and quality programing. I love our audiences – who generally are very open and willing to give anything a chance. 

You have a very diverse line up of concerts this year, why is that?

We really strive to reach all of our community and to share our love and passion of symphonic music with everyone. Therefore our programs should be diverse. This year we have opera, symphonic, rock, Australian composers, Chinese composers, Western composers, world class and renowned singers and instrumentalists and a new education series called Kids’ Classics that will be run by our new Concertmaster and Education and Outreach Officer Monica Naselow. We perform indoors and we perform outdoors. There is something for everyone. 

As someone who has conducted and worked with orchestras both here and overseas, what do you think is unique about Darwin?

On the one hand we are situated in an environment with many thousands of years of history and culture, on the other we are a developing city still in its infancy. Our landscape is extremely unique and alongside that comes some pretty unique experiences. For example, we recently became the first symphony orchestra to perform at Uluru. A tour of this magnitude naturally comes with considerable logistical and financial implications; however the ‘can do’ attitude of the Territory assists us in finding ways to do many things that seem unreachable for what is essentially a small and resourcefully challenged organisation. This was even more recently demonstrated with our tour to North-East Arnhem land where we performed Bizet’s Pearlfishers at Gulkala – a profoundly sacred place for the Yolngu people and the space where the Garma Festival is held each year. Here we collaborated with local musicians, translated the opera synopsis into Yolgnu and ran a four-day education program designed to break down cultural boundaries and develop a two-way dialogue of learning and appreciation. What an extraordinary thing to do! 

The DSO open their season with a Fundraising Gala on Sat 1 April, 7.30pm at Charles Darwin University Theatre.

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