Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin returns to Dallas

Perth Symphony Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Jessica Gethin has returned to the USA, and is currently in Dallas assisting on the US Premiere of Van Der Aa’s 3D Opera, ‘Sunken Garden‘ working with Nicole Paiement (Principal Guest Conductor, The Dallas Opera) and Michel Van Der Aa (Composer/Director). A 3D opera… how exciting! Love the innovation from The Dallas Opera.

Sunken Garden is Van der Aa’s fourth work for music theatre. Like its predecessors it employs a distinctive combination of live action and video projections to tell its story, and for the first time includes 3D film!

Nicole Paiement has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. She has conducted multiple performances for The Dallas Opera, and returns this year to conduct Sunken Garden.

Michel van der Aa is a truly multidisciplinary figure in contemporary music. A unique voice, he combines composition with film and stage direction, and script writing. Classical instruments, voices, electronic sound, actors, theatre and video are all seamless extensions of his musical vocabulary.


It’s been a whirlwind 2018 for Perth Symphony so far!

We’ve been super busy here at Perth Symphony, opening our new office in Cottesloe, putting on a grand total of seven free community concerts around Perth Metropolitan area over summer, and taking our Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael show to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, and soon to be dancing the night away for Ministry of Sound: Orchestrated at King’s Park later this month. In February alone we have reached almost 20,000 people across Perth with our music – what a way to start the year!

Did you manage to catch us last month? If you did, make sure you let us know by using #perthsymphony and tagging us in your photos on Facebook, instagram, twitter or however you share your stories!

If you’ve been to any of our summer concerts and liked what you’ve heard, be sure to grab your tickets to Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie & Aretha later this year!

PSO’s 2017 Wrap

2017 was a huge year for Perth Symphony Orchestra, and we’re set for an even busier 2018!

Our community initiatives took off in 2017, from visits to the remote community of Burringurrah, to pop ups in Kwinana, to Perth Symphony strings and percussion accompanying a lunchtime yoga class on St. George’s Terrace, we engaged in a diverse range of community activities across Western Australia. We visited a number of schools to educate children about classical music, and Perth Symphony string quartet toured the Gascoyne Region as part of the Gascoyne in May coordinated circuit of festivals, journeying over 2700km across the most sparsely populated region in the state to bring music to Western Australians from all backgrounds.

Perth Chamber Orchestra continued to push boundaries with a series of unique concerts, beginning with An Irish Night: Strings, Stout and Storytelling which celebrated traditional Irish music and culture, Baroque by Candlelight which brought to life the amazing music of the baroque era in both Armadale and Perth City, Steampunk Mozart which saw orchestra members dressed in steampunk attire, performing the music of Mozart in the industrial setting of Midland Railway Workshop, and Serenades in the City, in which PCO collaborated with ballet dancers from WAAPA and local painter Ben Brennan to present a beautiful brunch concert at Government House Ballroom.

Perth Symphony pushed forward with our goal to bring orchestral music to all, with free concerts Romance Under The Stars at Sorrento Quay, Music @ Murdoch at Murdoch University, Romance on the Green in Rockingham and Music Under The Stars at ECU Joondalup, and two unique and daring Perth Symphony ticketed concerts: Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael in which we performed the music of the late, great George Michael alongside performance partner WAAPA Gospel Choir at The Astor Theatre, and Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined, in which we recreated Nirvana’s 1993 live recording of their MTV Unplugged in New York album at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Perth Symphony was also engaged to perform by a number of touring and Perth local events, including Zep Boys ‘Hammer of the Gods’ performing the music of Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley The Wonder of You, Art of Symphony with Kate Ceberano, Scotland the Brave, Path of Hope, the 2017 Altitude Ball, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Red Earth Arts Festival, the 2017 Innovation Awards, and the 2017 Pinnacle Awards.

If any readers are keen for their company to host a CALM concert (Come And Listen to Music – mindfulness session with live orchestra), engage musicians for a function, sponsor a concert or orchestra, or get music into their world, please get in touch.

And that’s a wrap – Happy New Year! Here’s a small taste of what we’ll be up to in 2018.

Concertmaster Development Program 2017 a big success!


We are delighted to announce that violinist Lucas O’Brien has completed the inaugural Perth Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Development Program 2017.

During his time in the program, Lucas served as Associate Concertmaster for Perth Chamber Orchestra for five concerts, Steampunk Mozart, An Irish Night: Strings, Stout & Storytelling, Beethoven, Beer and Bratwurst, Baroque by Candlelight and Serenades in the City, and lead five concerts for Perth Symphony Orchestra: Romance Under The Stars, Music @ Murdoch, Romance on the Green, C.A.L.M and Path of Hope. Here’s what he had to say about it:

‘The concertmaster development program has been invaluable for my development both as a musician, as well as an administrator by equipping me with crucial performance skills as well as allowing me to be involved in the artistic planning and longer term vision for the orchestra. It really is a unique and valuable initiative!”

– Lucas O’Brien

PSO’s Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin had the following to say:

“We were delighted to appoint Lucas O’Brien as the inaugural participant of Perth Symphony’s Concertmaster Development Program. Over the years Lucas had demonstrated a high level of both artistic and leadership qualities that we felt could be further fostered through mentoring opportunities. As part of the program, Lucas became a member of the artistic planning team, which he did with much enthusiasm, offering invaluable input with programming throughout 2017. We hope the experiences gained in the program are ones he will continue to expand in his career, we believe Lucas has much to offer the industry and will be extending our support behind him every step of the way.” 

– Jessica Gethin

Lucas has since been given a trial for a full-time position at the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra – please join us in wishing Lucas the best of luck on his journey with WASO and in his career!

PSO heads into 2018 with a new patron, a new board member and a new office!

Perth Symphony (PSO) is delighted to announce that we welcome 2018 with a Patron, a new Board Member and a new, second office!

Tim Roberts of Cottesloe-based Warburton Group has become a patron of Perth Symphony Orchestra. Over the past three years, Tim has made a number of remarkably generous donations to PSO, and recently secured a second office for the orchestra at No. 1 Station Street, Cottesloe.

Tim’s patronage marks a very exciting development in the short history of Perth Symphony, offering the orchestra the chance to grow, take risks and develop key programs.

Governance professional and experienced Director, Suzanne Ardagh, has also recently become a board member. Suzanne brings a wealth of insight and experience to the PSO board, having served on the boards of the Perth Festival, Musica Viva and in sectors including Health, Commerce and International Development.

Maurice Spillane, Chairman of the PSO board, welcomed the news, stating: “Perth Symphony Orchestra is in its infancy, but in that short time has achieved remarkable things. Tim Roberts becoming a patron comes at a time when the orchestra is moving forward in leaps and bounds, and Suzanne’s knowledge, passion and insight will be a valuable addition to the current board skill-set during this period of rapid growth.”.

Tim, in accepting the position of patron, stated:  “Music is, and always will be, something I am passionate about. After hearing Perth Symphony’s vision to create unique exciting concerts and experiences for every Western Australian, I felt it was something I both wanted to help and be a part of. I see my role as assisting the orchestra to become self-sustaining: a strong business with a legacy of increasing the cultural vibrancy of WA, creating opportunities for WA musicians, and making a difference in the lives of many through music. I am excited for the journey ahead, and look forward to encouraging others to join us.”

PSO’s small team continues to grow, and the new office Tim will provide as part of his support as patron will give PSO a new workspace to help us keep expanding. The PSO team will work across our two offices, the new base in Cottesloe as well as our existing home at Scotch College, Swanbourne, where we will continue to rehearse and engage with the school in many other ways. PSO will settle in to the new office in Cottesloe from February 2018.

‘Tim Roberts Giving’, Tim’s personal foundation, is, along with Minderoo Foundation, Perth Symphony’s ‘Sustainability Partner’.

PSO Christmas Pop Ups!

Throughout December, various Perth Symphony ensembles will be popping up in the morning and over lunchtimes across various locations around Brookfield Place in the city.

We at PSO absolutely love sending orchestra members out into the public to bring a little Christmas Cheer to your busy days, and this will be the third year running we have done this!

Why not take a little time away from the Christmas shopping rush and come listen to some music? Look out for us at BHP Billiton and EY lobbies, cafés and at Heritage Square in the run-up to Christmas!

PSO’s Executive Director Bourby Webster visits Dallas Opera

PSO’s Executive Director Bourby Webster recently visited The Dallas Opera in Dallas, USA to explore their programs developing women in Opera. Here’s what she had to say about her inspiring trip:

What was the purpose of your trip to Dallas?
My recent trip to Dallas was at the invitation of the CEO, Keith Cerny. Keith has created two groundbreaking programs to develop women in Opera – an Institute of Women Conductors and an Institute of Women Administrators. The Conductors program is in its third year, however this is the first year they have been joined by up and coming female administrators from across the USA. As a passionate educator (I teach business skills every year at WAAPA to sometimes over 100 music students a year) and strong supporter of women, I was very curious to learn more about the programs – how they are structured, who is involved, what are the outcomes? Following a skype hook with Keith, he invited me to see for myself with a view to determining whether or not something similar was appropriate here in Australia and could add value to what we are doing already at PSO. I am eternally grateful for Darryl Mack and Helen Taylor for their support in helping me fund the flight to be able to go. I learned a huge amount, and also gained a lot of confidence that we are doing so much right here at PSO HQ as a company.
I did feel that the time isn’t yet right to commence a similar institute, despite my desire to do so, as the pressure on my current team to deliver is already so high. The Dallas Opera has around 35 staff, 10 of whom are focused on development (bringing in money from gifts, patrons, donors, sponsors and more) and they have over 150 members on their board, all of whom are constantly promoting The Dallas Opera and working together to bring in financial and other support. As PSO has only three full time staff (and around five FTE) and six board members, we have our job cut out just existing. But the whole trip has confirmed that arts companies full of inspiring professionals have a role to play in developing the next generation, and I cannot wait until we have enough funding and resources to be able to create a similar program of our own – hopefully in the next 3-5 years.
What would you say was the highlight of your trip?
Spending time with one of the world’s leading opera companies was in itself mind-blowing. To see a company that at its core functions like PSO, but on such a huge scale, was just so inspiring for me. I could see how the admin side interlinks with the orchestra, the conductor and the singers, and how, when each element is the best it can be, it results in a life-changing performance. The Dallas Opera invited several outstanding young singers to perform in concert at the end of the course, and being close to them, the orchestra and the conductors in rehearsal was just incredible. The power of the human voice cannot be underestimated. It is hard to pinpoint one highlight, as the week unfolded, inspiration came from all angles, but having one-on-one time with Keith, the CEO, was extremely beneficial to hear his thoughts and ideas and how they might apply to PSO.
Who was the most inspiring person you met on your trip?
Watching the phenomenal world-renowned conductor, Marin Alsop (pictured) work with the six young female conductors on the podium in front of The Dallas Opera Orchestra gave me a new-found respect for just how hard it is to conduct – it is truly an incredibly physical and emotional skill that clearly takes years of knowledge, study and talent to master. It made me even more proud of our Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin, as it was clear to me she is a world-class talent. Marin isn’t just a world-class conductor, she is a world-class educator. It made me want to learn to be the best educator I can be as young people depend on having incredibly inspiring educators to lead them to the next level. Also Keith Cerny the CEO is remarkable. His vision, passion, broad range of skills, and strong business acumen are what drives the company. The fact he is so involved in the artistic side of the company was in some ways a relief, as I love being part of the creative vision of PSO, but often the CEO or General Manager leaves all artistic decisions to the Artistic or Music Director, but his input, and the success that comes from it, gave me confidence to continue playing a strong role in leading the artistic side of PSO with Jessica and Paul Wright our Concertmaster. I hope I get to return one day to spend more time with Keith and his team. I shall be eternally grateful the amount of time he gave me, and the unique opportunity I had to see the inner workings of a major institution in my industry. I am looking forward to keeping in touch with Keith and The Dallas Opera into the future.
We look forward to drawing on the inspiration Bourby gained in Dallas and seeing that help PSO grow!

PSO to perform Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

We are excited to announce that following its sell-out success at The Astor Theatre, we will be performing Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael once again at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre on March 3rd, 2018.

To celebrate the launch of Mandjar Art Awards 2018, join us for the art preview (all welcome!) and round off your evening with a ticket to one of the most hotly anticipated shows at ManPAC!  This is an evening guaranteed to inspire and uplift you – join us for the party!

– Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

Read more about the show and purchase tickets HERE.

Scotch College headmaster Alec O’Connell receives WA’s highest teaching honour

PSO Board member and the man behind our home Scotch College, Alec O’Connell, has received WA’s highest teaching honour, the Australian College of Educators Medal.

Geoff Hutchison at ABC News had the following to say:

Scotch College Headmaster Dr Alec O’Connell feels we should be looking at creating a more flexible and less structured school environment.

Earlier this week Dr O’Connell received the prestigious Australian College of Educators Medal.

The award recognises his passion for teaching over almost four decades and he’s still as driven as the first day he started teaching.

You can read the full news story and listen to Geoff’s interview with Alec here.

“As PSO has benefited from his vision and leadership we couldn’t be more delighted for Alec. This recognition is wholly deserved.” 

said Bourby Webster, PSO Exec Director.

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!