Perth Symphony Orchestra announces unique partnership for its inaugural Heritage Series

Perth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is delighted to announce a partnership with MSWA on their inaugural Perth Chamber Orchestra Heritage Series.

The Heritage Series is a set of five concerts in 2017 – the first time the Orchestra has performed so many in any one year –combining music, food, wine, theatre and more, into some of Perth’s most remarkable Heritage Buildings.

The Perth Chamber Orchestra comprises some of the Perth Symphony Orchestra’s leading musicians, and aims to showcase some of the repertoire for smaller orchestra in intimate spaces, bringing the music to life through unique themes, stories and by engaging other art forms from theatre to projection artists to live painting and other music genres.

MSWA joins PSO in presenting the remaining four concerts that form the 2017 Heritage Series in venues including Midland’s Historic Railway Workshops, Perth’s Government House Ballroom, Perth’s St. George’s Cathedral and Fremantle Port’s B-Shed.

PSO Executive Director, Bourby Webster, says the partnership opens new doors and offers new possibilities:

“We are so excited to be able to present a series for the first time in 2017, and with MSWA as a partner, we can increase our reach, offer their Members access to concerts and rehearsals, and try new things in partnership,”

“Our thinking is to bring our two charitable organisations together, doing very different yet complimentary things, who exist to enhance and improve the lives of Western Australians. We plan to work in collaboration rather than isolation, to see what mutual benefits are possible together.”

Marcus Stafford, CEO of MSWA has seen his organisation grow exponentially over the past decade, helping and supporting hundreds of people with MS and other neurological conditions.  He is also excited at what can be achieved:

“MSWA is excited to be partnering with the Perth Symphony Orchestra in their inaugural Heritage Series of concerts.  This is a wonderful opportunity to bring more music into the lives of our Members and supporters,”

“We are proud to collaborate with another iconic Western Australian organisation and the partnership enables MSWA to continue to spread the message about the work we do for people living with MS and all neurological conditions to a wider audience.”

The next Heritage Series instalment is Wednesday 14th June 2017 entitled “Steampunk Mozart” and will take place at Midland Railway Workshops featuring a program celebrating the music of Mozart and the historic industrial setting.

A big thank you to Cherratta Lodge!

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to Tom, Malcolm and all the staff at the Cherratta Lodge for helping us out during our visit to Karratha for our performance at the Red Earth Arts Festival concert in September 2016. We hope we can come back and visit again soon!

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Cherratta logo - No Pilbara

PSO Concertmaster Development Program – an exciting initiative

We are excited to announce a fantastic new initiative at Perth Symphony Orchestra, created specifically to offer our musicians the opportunity to develop their skills and learn indispensable new ones. Under the guidance and tutelage of Concertmaster Paul Wright and Conductor and Artistic Director Jessica Gethin, the musician chosen to participate in the Concertmaster Development Program (CDP) will learn about leading concerts, concert planning, artistic direction and more.

Violinist Lucas O’Brien was the first musician to be offered a position in this program and accepted at the end of 2016.

It’s a very rare opportunity as a violinist to be able to be developed in this way. I’m not just learning how to improve my playing and incorporate leadership skills with that, but I’m also learning about the artistic vision and logistical planning required to present successful concerts such as those that PSO produces.
– Lucas O’Brien, Violinist and CDP participant

Lucas led a series of outdoor community concerts, each with a 2000+ crowd in February (see photos here of our Music @ Murdoch and Romance on the Green concerts) for Perth Symphony . He is also involved in Artistic Planning meetings with the artistic team (Exec Director Bourby Webster, Jessica Gethin and Paul Wright) which brainstorms innovative, creative and challenging ideas for presenting and programming concerts, particularly for the Perth Chamber Orchestra. Lucas has already brought some fantastic and fresh ideas to the group.

We passionately believe we exist for our musicians: to give them diverse playing opportunities; opportunities for skills development; and more, with the aim of working with our musicians to reach their full potential. We want them to be able to explore everything a career as a performing orchestral musician has to offer. Lucas is a talented musician and a committed member of PSO and we are excited to see him developing leadership and playing skills that will help his career and benefit PSO.
– Bourby Webster, Executive Director, PSO.

We are looking forward to working closely with Lucas throughout the rest of the year.

An Irish Night: A Big Success!

An Irish Night: Strings, Stout and Storytelling with Perth Chamber Orchestra, held at Fremantle Town Hall on March 15th, was a big success! Neville Cohn from The Weekend West had this to say about it:

This was a delightful entertainment for a cheerful full house with music provided mainly by Perth Chamber Orchestra strings with an engaging linking commentary by Bryan Rice Dalton. At interval, there were generous portions of Irish stew served to audience members in their seats, airline style. And there was more than a drop of the grape to wash it down.

There was something for everyone, not least an impeccably presented Irish reel by two delightful young ladies from Kavanagh Studio of Irish Dance who understandably brought the house down.

Jessica Gethin, who is known to most concert-goers as a fine orchestral conductor, demonstrated splendid skill on the violin as well. Why don’t we hear more of this exceptional musician in this capacity?

Star of the evening was Stephanie Nicholls, who played Enya’s Watermark on the oboe. Here was a finely pitched, faultless stream of sound which carried effortlessly into the auditorium. A storm of applause that greeted its conclusion was entirely warranted. Brava!

Paul Wright, that tireless musician of highest accomplishment, led the orchestra through a varied program which included a rare airing of Sibelius’ Impromptu for string orchestra – and a gutsy, grainy, attacking account of the Allegro assai from Bartok’s Divertimento for strings. Its grating dissonances were attached with relish, as were its pizzicato measures.

Yet another highlight was a family affair with conductor Gethin and cellist Sophie Curtis in ensemble with their guitarist father Ray Walker. Also contributing were Rob Zielinski on Irish fiddle, Phil Waldron (bouzouki) and Fiona Doyle (Irish flute). 

A huge thank you to all involved, and in particular to our Concert Partner Hewshott International, Event Partner Barton Jones Wines and Orchestra Partners AHG and The West Australian.

Perth Symphony String Quartet to perform as part of Gascoyne in May

We are excited to announce that the Perth Symphony String Quartet will be performing as part of the Gascoyne in May.

Gascoyne in May is a coordinated circuit of festivals held on consecutive weekends across the region. Mostly free to attend, each festival is themed to reflect its diverse and individual locations, each celebrating and sharing local culture in their own Gascoyne style.

Strings, Stout and Storytelling – program announce

We are so excited to announce the program for the Perth Chamber Orchestra’s first performance for 2017 – ‘An Irish Night: Strings, Stout & Storytelling’.

Artistic Directors Jessica Gethin and Paul Wright and Producer Bourby Webster have put together a brilliant program, with some of the most beautiful classical music, interwoven with traditional Irish songs which together take you on a journey and celebrate Irish culture in Australia.

“The musical diversity offered in this program will truly showcase the Perth Chamber Orchestra strings at their very best. We will explore the nationalistic writing of important historic works including movements from Bartok’s Divertimento to the lush sounds of Sibelius and pure energy captured in the final movement of Dvorak’s well loved ‘American’ quartet. The strings will also show the influence of modern Irish music on Australian music history as created by Australia born composer Percy Grainger in his delightful arrangement of ‘Molly on the Shore’ for strings. In usual PCO style, the program is not limited to the classical genre; the ensemble performing several works inspired by modern Irish groups including Riverdance, Enya and The Corrs as well as swinging the more traditional jigs and reels led by Rob Zielinski and the Kavanagh Dancers. This concert will be full of energy, flair, soul and life”.

– Jessica Gethin, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor






Arrangements for this concert were done by Jessica Gethin, Ray Walker, Phil Waldron and Stephanie Nicholls.


More information   |   Buy tickets

Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined Teaser Announced

We are excited to announce a concert coming soon! Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined.

Kurt Cobain: spokesman for a generation. Nirvana: flagship band of Generation X. No one flinches when you say it.

In the year Kurt would have turned 50, Perth Symphony Orchestra presents a concert event unlike anything seen before in WA. Or anywhere, for that matter.

This isn’t Nirvana with strings. Prepare to witness a fully-fledged orchestra in bloom, transformed for one night into a raging rock beast.

Already regarded as “the orchestra that breaks rules” for their radical reinterpretations of everything from Beethoven to WA’s greatest ever songs at RTRFM and the WA Museum’s flagship event A Moment in Time, Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined will take orchestral sounds to some heavy, heavy places.

Using Nirvana’s legendary MTV Unplugged in New York as inspiration, which took place just five-months before Kurt’s untimely death in 1994, PSO will take songs from the concert and from throughout Nirvana’s discography and blow them up.

Imagine About a Girl and Where Did You Sleep Last Night backed by a wall of sound big enough to match the angst in the songs. Picture Smells Like Teen Spirit and Lithium pushing the year punk, alternative and grunge broke through, 1991, into the stratosphere.

Unplugged: Nirvana Reimagined will not only take you back there, it will remind you of music, culture and a generation changing forever.

Joining PSO is award-winning songwriter and the veteran of sold out Nirvana reinterpretations from Melbourne to Perth, Justin Burford. Fresh from a return tour with End of Fashion, one of the greatest voices WA has ever produced will lead the concert alongside conductor Jessica Gethin, and no one nails Kurt quite like him.

Burford and PSO have bandied together to reveal their most ambitious show ever. This is a dream event for the artists and Nirvana fans alike, and it is fitting that it will be one of the first concerts to take place at the Crown Pyramid, a new venue within the Crown Complex – a venue big enough to capture the hopes and dreams of a generation.

More information coming soon, get excited!

Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin awarded Churchill Fellowship

Congratulations to our Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin, who was recently awarded a 2016 Churchill Fellowship for ‘Performance Excellence in Classical Music’ sponsored by Mr and Mrs Gerald Frank New. Jessica will be travelling to the United Kingdom and United States over the coming year, to gain further insight into the creative and directive roles of the conductor in some of the major established arts organisations across the globe, including The Met, Covent Garden, New York Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra.

“I’m really looking forward to gaining a more global perspective into the role of a conductor in different houses and halls, bringing my new experiences back to Australia in my work with orchestras such as Perth Symphony, as well encouraging other young Australian conductors across a variety of genres to further develop their skills on podiums within Australia’. Jessica also thanked her mentors for the project, Brad Cohen (WA Opera), Paul Wright (PSO Concertmaster), Bourby Webster (PSO Director) and Andrew Tait (Churchill Fellow mentor) for their support and advice. ‘Mentors in this industry are essential, people who can help you with career direction, motivate you artistically and provide advice. I’m very appreciate of the time Brad, Paul and Bourby have given me as well as Andrew who as a previous Fellow, will be providing practical support as I undertake the Fellowship in the coming year.”

We wish Jessica all the best on her travels, and we are excited to see what the fellowship will bring for her! You can find out more about the 2016 Churchill Fellowship here.

WAAPA Gospel Choir collaborate with PSO

For our upcoming concert Faith & Freedom: The Music of George Michael, we are excited to be collaborating with the remarkable WAAPA Gospel Choir, led by Matt Allen, Head of Contemporary Voice at WAAPA. The evening showcases WA’s incredible talent brought together for the first time in concert. Joining Matt will be members of the Gospel Choir for duets that saw George perform with the likes of Aretha Franklin and Elton John – be prepared for voices that will blow you away.

PSO was delighted to welcome WAAPA as a Performance Partner of the orchestra in December 2016. The announcement followed the signing of an MOU with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at ECU, marking the start of a strategic partnership that promises to bring significant benefits to both organisations.

You can find out more about the show here, and buy tickets here!

Music @ Murdoch returns in 2017!

We are pleased to announce the return of Music @ Murdoch for 2017! On Sunday 19th February, join us as we take you on a journey through musical theatre, film classics and rock hits in the beautiful surrounds of Bush Court in Murdoch University.

This concert is made possible thanks to Murdoch University, Perth Symphony Orchestra, the City of Melville and support from Gold Partner AHG and Concert Partner Hawaiian.

Last year, over 3000 tickets were snapped up by keen concert goers in under 48 hours for the Music @ Murdoch début concert. Tickets will be made available for this year’s concert at 9am on February 1, via the Perth Symphony Orchestra event page and Facebook event.

General admission is free, and Premium tickets are also available for $50 (includes open seating in reserved seating area, a chair and invitation to a pre-function).

Perth Symphony will be joined by soloists Jay Weston, Emma Pettermerides and Justin Burford.  For more information, see the Music @ Murdoch event page.