PSO Community & Education Coordinator Bronwyn Ife elected councillor for Town of Victoria Park

We are excited to announce that our Community & Education Coordinator, Bronwyn Ife, has been elected as a councillor for the Town of Victoria Park! Here’s what she had to say about it:

After hearing of plans that threatened my local park, home to mature Tuart trees and endangered red-tailed black cockatoos, I was inspired to run for council, on a platform of protecting precious community green spaces and better public consultation. 
I was the only woman candidate in a field of six in Jarrah Ward, and was elected for a four year term for my ward.  I received the most votes – 1792, from 3734 ballot papers. 
With the results in both wards electing 3 women (a total of 4 positions were elected), we have taken the Town of Victoria Park Council from 3 women and 6 men to 6 women and 3 men.
We’re thrilled for Bronwyn and wish her all the best of luck with her time as a councillor! We’re sure she will bring as much positivity, creativeness and fun to Victoria Park as she does in our office!

Perth Symphony Orchestra engaged by South32 to perform at TEDxPerth Event

We are excited to announce that we will be collaborating with South32, a second year sponsor of TEDx Perth 2017, to entertain and engage the audience at this event designed to share ideas worth spreading.

A lively and fun percussion duo will perform during morning break to make sure everyone is awake and ready for the day ahead, with a brass quintet blasting out a variety of tunes during lunch – proving there need not be any barriers between classical instruments and contemporary songs.

Bourby Webster, our Executive Director said:

“We are very grateful to South32 for this amazing opportunity. We challenge ourselves to dare to be different across our performances and the way our organisation works. TEDxPerth is a great opportunity to showcase how we can contribute new ideas, new experience and innovation.”

South32 is a global diversified mining and metals company, and like PSO, is committed to innovation and technology to support their operations.

A Perth Symphony string quartet has been working with Professor Alan Harvey and Andrew Price to prepare a TEDx Talk which shows music’s effect on the brain following a collaboration we did earlier this year with the team at Scitech. Alan’s studies in neuroscience include trauma, transplantation, gene therapy and regeneration. His research has helped understand how nervous systems can be protected and repaired after injury. In collaboration with Andrew Price and Perth Symphony Orchestra, Alan will show the audience what’s going on in their brains, live on stage.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised. This annual event, in its sixth year, is the second-largest TEDx event in Australia and sells out quickly.

TEDx Perth 2017 will take place at Perth Concert Hall on November 11.

CLICK HERE for tickets.

PSO members to accompany Noongar poetry readings in Northam

We are delighted to announce that three members of Perth Symphony Orchestra will accompany the Bilya Kep Waagnkiny Nyoongar poetry readings at the Link Theatre in Northam on Sunday November 5 at 2pm.

Music director and didgeridoo player Ian Willkes said the event is a one-of-a-kind show.

“It’s going to be an exciting collaboration for the group, complementing the poetry with traditional music fused with classical sounds from the orchestra,” he said.

The event will include poems that tell of the Stolen Generation, Noongar soldiers in the Vietnam war and trips through Country by new and established poets, the event maps a compelling range of local stories and history.

You can read more about the poetry readings here and here.

The event is free but seats are limited. Tickets can be booked online at Eventbrite at or by calling 9226 2422.

Goodbye to Peach & Pineapple!

As all good things must come to an end, so did the partnership between PSO and Peach & Pineapple.  Perth Symphony has been lucky enough to have this amazing power duo as it’s official Publicist for 5 years.

Executive Director Bourby Webster noted:

“Caitlin Irving of Peach & Pineapple has supported PSO as our publicist since before our first concert. I’ll never forgot seeing an image in the paper talking about the first concert thanks to Caitlin. It was finally real” She said. “We’ve seen her grow into Peach and Pineapple working with Zara and together they’ve become a powerhouse in Perth. We will of course miss working with them as they have both been so supportive of PSO and me personally. We wish nothing but the best to them both as they take on new clients that will see them grow into one of the leading PR firms in Australia. And we, of course, will be keeping in touch.”


Caitlin and Zara secured some amazing publicity for the Orchestra over this time, and we can’t thank them enough for coming on this crazy journey with us.

Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined – ‘…the closest we will ever come to seeing Kurt live in concert’

Our Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined concert was an amazing success, and here is what the reviewers are saying:

“This was no regular concert, this was an immersive experience. The vocals were outstanding. The crowd stomped and cheered their way through the duration of the encore wait. The curtain finally lifted to reveal Burford wearing a different band T-shirt and cardigan, however, the more exciting costume change was PSO members wearing sleeveless vests to reveal tattooed arms. The encore comprised three of Nirvana’s biggest mainstream hits, which were not originally included on the Unplugged setlist; Lithium, In Bloom, and Smells Like Teen Spirt. The crowd could no longer contain their excitement, with many leaping out of their seats to mosh. The excitement intensified when four girls in cheerleading outfits waving pom poms made their way to the front of the stage for the final song of the night. At this point, not even PSO musicians could contain themselves with many jumping up to dance while continuing to play their instruments. In full rockstar mode, one of the violinists took centre stage to smash her violin to pieces!

The performance left no doubt as to why this event sold-out well in advance. Burford and PSO did Kurt Cobain and Nirvana justice. Unsurprisingly, they received a well-deserved standing ovation for their efforts.”

– Amy Smith of The Music. Read the full review here.

“From the moment the concert started, everyone was in character as the show transported us back through time to November 18, 1993. “Is Kurt Cobain in the house? Please report to Studio One,” was heard over the speakers as the stage-hands inspired by the old MTV Unplugged set in New York rushed around putting the final touches in place.

End of Fashion frontman Justin Burford as Kurt Cobain finally came out, hair unkempt and wearing a baggy, knitted jumper – looking the part and indeed sounding very much like Kurt for most of the performance. Burford and the orchestra started with About A Girl and Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam, surprisingly breaking with the original album’s setlist order two tracks in. But if you closed your eyes, you could imagine that you were in the room with Kurt himself.

They managed to capture the souls of the songs in such a way that you just knew that Kurt would have been so happy with it and especially with the last three songs of the night – Lithium, In Bloom and Smells Like Teen Spirit – even ending the night with the violent smashing of a violin.”

– Karen Lowe of Xpress Magazine. Read the full review here.

Ash Gibson Greig’s arrangements of the original MTV Unplugged setlist (plus a few extra tracks) were the perfect blend between familiar recognition and refreshing originality. Greig truly rose to the challenge in translating the MTV Unplugged experience to an orchestral context. The instrumentation brought a variety of colours to successfully convey the messages of the songs, and I was particularly impressed with the woodwind writing. Who knew that Lake of Fire needed a bluesy bassoon solo? Or that the mournful oboe solo in Where Did You Sleep Last Night could make an already sad song even more heartbreaking?

But the star of the night was vocalist, actor, and associate music director Justin Burford. Burford was an incredible Kurt Cobain, capturing the talent, poignancy and humour of the late icon perfectly. His interactions with Gethin and the audience between songs were full of humour and warmth, and his stage manner was open, vulnerable and almost shy. When Burford performed Pennyroyal Tea sitting cross legged on the stage floor, I wanted to climb onto the stage, give him a big hug and tell him, “Everything’s going to be ok!”. His singing was clear yet with the appropriate amount of grit and intensity to do Cobain justice; the famous vocal climax of Where Did You Sleep Last Night was beautifully heart-stopping, a testament to the talent of both Cobain and himself.

– Laura Biemmi of CutCommon Magazine. Read the full review here.

PSO Director Bourby Webster finalist for Telstra WA Business Women’s Award

We are proud to announce that Perth Symphony Orchestra’s Founder and Executive Director Bourby Webster is a finalist for the Telstra WA Business Women’s Award of 2017.

Here’s what Telstra had to say about her:

Whether by igniting conversations about mental health or turning classical music on its head, the 21 finalists of the 2017 Telstra Western Australian Business Women’s Awards are striving to challenge some of the state’s most ingrained perceptions.

One such orchestrator of change is Bourby Webster. Royal College of Music alumni and the founder of the Perth Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Bourby has become a model entrepreneur for WA’s arts sector. Her belief that successfully bringing people together over classical music rests on breaking the rules, is what has driven Bourby to produce adventurous, alternative shows, like Steampunk Mozart and UNPLUGGED: Nirvana Reimagined.

You can read the full article, and find out about the other finalists here.


Hawaiian Investments signs on for another year supporting PSO on the Streets

We are excited to announce that Hawaiian Investments have signed on to support our PSO on the Streets initiative for another year.  PSO on the Streets, now in its third year, provides people with access to live music where they live, work and shop. Pop up performances take place in shopping centres across the metropolitan area, so people can take a few moments out of their busy days to enjoy live classical music.

These performances often coincide with important events such as Halloween, Christmas or special local occasions, meaning that more people are passing through the shopping centre at these times, increasing the reach of our performances. This greatly helps PSO achieve our mission of Music for Everyone, and our aspiration to perform to 250,000 Western Australians by 2020.

PSO and WAAPA Gospel Choir at the 2017 Altitude Ball

On August 12th, Perth Symphony Orchestra and the WAAPA Gospel Choir performed highlights from ‘Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael’ at the 2017 Altitude Ball.

Presented by Pilatus, Altitude is the prestigious, black tie ball established to raise essential funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Western Australia. The glamorous, annual event is an elegant evening featuring world-class service, fine dining, premium beverages and an exciting live charity auction, all within the five-star surrounds of Crown Perth.

A highlight on the Perth social calendar, the 2017 red carpet event was bigger and better than ever. Featuring state-of-the-art audio visual, spectacular lighting and stage design, Altitude provided the ultimate high-end charity experience.

We, at Perth Symphony were delighted to be a part of it – see highlights from our performance at the ball in our Gallery.

PSO to perform with renowned beatboxer Tom Thum!

PSO will perform with renowned Queensland beatboxer Tom Thum and conductor/composer Gordon Hamilton as part of the Red Earth Arts Festival in Karratha next month.

Fusing jazz, hip-hop and symphonic sounds composed by Gordon Hamilton, backed by a 16-piece ensemble from Perth Symphony Orchestra this is a unique performance not to be missed.

Get a sneak peak of the show here, debuted with Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

Click here for tickets if you want to join us on the road!

Serenades in the City – ‘an exhilarating, rhetorically astute performance that will stay long in the memory’

Our Serenades in the City concert was a beautiful morning, and we got some fantastic reviews!

“Perth Chamber Orchestra strings positively danced their way through a perfectly curated program of miniature romantic masterpieces… Sutherland was one of Australia’s finest composers, with immaculate taste and a fine ear for counter-melody. Her Concerto for String Orchestra is traditional yet novel, tuneful yet challenging. It received the performance it deserved, with Gethin bringing out the gorgeous, sometimes piquant cantabile quality of the part-writing to perfection.

The other highlight was the Tchaikovsky, even in excerpt arguably the best work on the program. Here the PCO played with a precision and vitality equal to any other string band, anywhere. This was an exhilarating, rhetorically astute performance that will stay long in the memory.”

– William Yeoman of The West Australian. Read the full review here.

“Hosted by Ros Appleby, well-known journalist, music critic and author, Serenades In The City was a delight. Conductor Jessica Gethin and leader Paul Wright steered a well-schooled string ensemble through a program of excellent music drawn from a wide repertoire. Thank you, Perth Chamber Orchestra, for another most enjoyable presentation. 5 out of 5 stars.”

– Satima Flavell of ArtsHub, giving us 5 out of 5 stars. Read the full review here.

“It’s cliché to use the term “a delight to the senses”, yet when you are visually and aurally stimulated in such a joyous way, it is difficult to avoid the cliché. A pleasant aperitif on a Sunday morning to brace you for the rigours of the week to follow, and one that has me eagerly awaiting the baroque conclusion to the PCO’s Heritage series.”

– David O’Connell of Xpress Magazine giving us 8/10. Read the full review here.

Thank you William, Satima and David for your kind words and we’re so glad you enjoyed the morning.

We particularly loved collaborating with ballerinas Sara Ouwendyk and Kirsty Clarke, currently studying at WAAPA and artist Ben Brennan – we look forward to working together again in the future.

Fabulous images capture by PSO photographer Richard Jefferson from the morning are available on the WATCH & LISTEN section of our website. We would like to thank series co-presenter MSWA, series concert partner Hewshott International, and event partner Barton Jones Wines in bringing this concert to life.