Bronwyn Ife joins PSO

151019 Meet BronwynPSO is proud to introduce the talented and charismatic Bronwyn Ife as our Education and Community Coordinator. Bronwyn joined the team in July and has fit in perfectly – enthusiastically embracing the role and the work PSO does.

Bronwyn’s role will encourage schools and the community to engage and experience the magic of live music. Through initiatives such as ‘Share The Chair’ (part of our ‘PLAY WITH US’ education program) and Hawaiian Presents ‘PSO on the Streets’, PSO want to work with anyone that wants brilliant music in their world.

Q & A with Bronwyn

I know this is standard, but tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in Perth into a musical family where music was either being played or listened to pretty much all the time. As a family we went to lots of musical events and concerts. The Festival of Perth was an important annual event for us as we took advantage of fantastic music and theatre groups visiting our city.

In 1997 I graduated from the University of Western Australia with an arts degree and a diploma of education. From there I began to work in the state public service.

Then in 2007 I had a beautiful boy and with the focus now on my children, I decided to leave my job in public service. I started teaching Kindermusik – group music classes for 0-7 year olds and set up my own business “Kindermusik with Bronwyn”.  In 2010 we welcomed our daughter into our lives and my Kindermusik program continued to bring music into the lives of the very youngest children in my neighbourhood.

I played the flute in high school and have always sung in choirs – from large student choirs at university and WASO chorus to smaller groups at St Georges Cathedral. I am currently singing with Rhythmos, a vibrant, fun a capella group based at Curtin University.

Having been influenced by a rich arts background, is there any genre in particular which you tend to like more?

I like to be entertained by anything from Mozart to burlesque to drum and bass. I am always drawn especially to choral music, probably because of my own history in singing with choirs. If I can sing along to it, I will!
What attracted you to PSO?

When I was thinking about returning to the workforce I decided I would only apply for a job that I would genuinely enjoy and that was meaningful. I was also looking for part-time hours, as my kids are still quite young. I thought that with those strict criteria I might be looking for quite some time.

I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw that PSO, a vibrant, valuable organisation with a great vision were looking for someone part-time with music, education and administrative experience. My immediate thought was “I could do that!” I’m so pleased I did. I love the fast-pace of the office, I love working with musicians, schools and the community and I love that the work I do matters.
Do you have any other interests that are not arts related?

My husband and I do the Oxfam Trailwalker, a 100km bushwalk through the Perth Hills that must be completed within 48 hours. In 2014 and 2015 we completed it in just over 25 hours. So yes, I like bush walking and can often be seen on weekends in the beautiful Perth Hills with my friends, a backpack, hiking poles and a big supply of chocolate.

Bronwyn has taken the Community and Education arms of Perth Symphony in her stride.  If you want to get in touch, she can be reached on

PCO’s candlelight concert receives outstanding reviews from a capacity audience

Last week Perth Chamber Orchestra performed a candlelight concert at St. George’s Cathedral to a capacity audience.

“There are not enough superlatives to describe the whole Vivaldi event on Wednesday night. Well done. Love the music, the catering, the venue… what more can one say? Bring it on!!!! We want more!!!”

12081593_10153550664449017_858119334_n-1The music of Vivaldi, Gregori, Caldara and Scarlatti ‘remixed’ by Australian composer Joe Chindamo were brought to life by a 14-piece PCO and soloists. The atmosphere was set by an abundance of candles, candleabra and perhaps surprisingly, some brand new LED lights, recently purchased by Perth Symphony as the result of a generous contribution from BHP Billiton.  The new LED lights subtly changed between orange, red and yellow hues, adding to the most incredible atmosphere in the cathedral.  Concert goers were immediately transported from the bustling St. Georges Terrace to 1600s Venice as soon as they set foot inside the cathedral.

We have received an incredible amount of feedback so far from the concert, all overwhelmingly positive – we must be onto something good here!

“We wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the entire Vivaldi by Candlelight experience last night, starting with the drinks and intimate concert tease by Paul Wright in Burt Hall, through to the magnificent setting… wonderful musicianship, quirky hosting by Vivaldi himself and food and drink to complement it all!”

Missed out? Read a wonderful review of the concert on ArtsHub HERE.

All in all, Vivaldi by Candlelight was a fantastic idea, and well-executed. I hope Webster and her team will give us another such concert before too long.”

A highlight of the night was the Caldara, with all the lights dimmed to a deep red and soprano Brianna Louwen singing flawlessly over the reduced string section.  During Boccherini’s popular ‘Nights of Madrid’, musicians plucked their instruments (violin and celli) as they made their way down the centre aisles of the cathedral to the ‘call’ of Paul Wright, on his Adelaide Guadagnini violin.

“A magical evening, congratulations to all of you and thank you so very much”

We at Perth Symphony are incredibly grateful for everyone who helped to make this event possible. First of all our musicians – for being so open to our crazy ideas (not many of them had been asked to play in Venetian masks before!), the teams at Comestibles and Barton Jones Wines for the tasty eats and drinks, St. George’s Cathedral and of course, our partners, in particular Foundation Partner AHG, SevenWest Media and Scotch College.

Vivaldi by Candlelight Program

Perth Chamber Orchestra presents the 2015 Vivaldi by Candlelight concert at the magical St George’s Cathedral in the heart of Perth City.

We are excited to announce the program of works to be performed, showcasing the music of Vivaldi and other contemporaries such as Caldara, Gregori and more, performed in the style in which it was meant to be heard: in a beautiful cathedral, lit by candlelight, with the aroma of Italian Food and Wines to complete this sensory experience.

Nibble: Radicchio and parmesan risotto cakes

Sip: 2012 BartonJones ’’The Brilliant Cut’’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (Premium Series Label)

Listen: Gregori – Concerto No. 1 and No. 2
Vivaldi – Organ and Violin Concerto RV 808


Nibble: Roasted pumpkin and mushroom, veal piccate, slow roasted tomatoes and wild rocket

Sip: 2010 BartonJones ’’The Bigwig’’ Shiraz (Premium Series Label)

Listen: Boccherini – Nights of Madrid
Vivaldi – Spring from The Four Seasons


Nibble: Chico Gelato Ice Creams – espresso or white chocolate, rosewater and pistachio

Sip: 2015 BartonJones Chenin Blanc (Cellar Series Label)

Listen: Caldara – In Lagrime Stemprato Il Cor Qui Cade
Vivaldi – Il Riposo RV 270
Chindamo/Scarlatti – Sonata in G K427

ARTISTIC DIRECTORS: Jessica Gethin and Paul Wright
VIVALDI ACTOR: Nick Maclaine
VIOLINS: Paul Wright, Lucas O’Brien, Susannah Williams, Teresa Vinci, Kathryn Shinnick, Rachael Aquilina, Madeleine Antoine
VIOLAS: Alix Hamilton, Jared Yapp, Freya Petersen
CELLI: Noeleen Wright, Catherine Tabi
DOUBLE BASS: Libby Browning
THEORBO: Aidan Deasy
SOPRANO: Brianna Louwen

Paul Wright on the Adelaide Guadagnini violin

Concertmaster Paul Wright will perform on the historic Adelaide Guadagnini violin – crafted in 1751 at the upcoming Vivaldi by Candlelight concert this September.

This year’s Vivaldi by Candlelight concert will be even more rich in sound and history as the Adelaide Guadagnini violin crafted by J B Guadagnini in Milan, 1751, will be showcased.

Today, almost 60 years later the Ngeringa Arts Foundation has awarded the precious instrument to acclaimed Baroque violinist and Perth Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Paul Wright.

PSO_2015_sponsorsnights_036The violin made its way to Australia after Carmel Hakendorf was invited to London in the early 1950’s to debut her outstanding talent.  She was discouraged by the poor quality of her violin, so the Music Committee of South Australia fundraised and was able to purchase the Guadagnini at just 1, 750 pounds for Carmel to play.  Today, the violin is worth infinitely more.

We are honoured that Paul has decided to share this remarkable work of art with the Perth Chamber Orchestra in the upcoming performance of Vivaldi by Candlelight, a concert which he not only leads, but is also co-Artistic Director.

Like all instruments, it needs ongoing maintenance. The Guadagnini recently returned home to Italy to be restored, resulting in an outstanding transformation and a much more powerful voice.  We so look forward to hearing the instrument in all its glory, in the amazing acoustics of St. George’s Cathedral, where Perth Chamber Orchestra have taken their ever popular concert for 2016.

For those lucky enough to have snapped up a VIP ticket before they sold out, you will get to experience this beautiful instrument up close and personal,  as Paul gives an exclusive solo performance during the VIP pre-function in the heritage listed Burt Hall, adjacent to the Cathedral.


Tickets are on sale now – click HERE to read more about this spectacular concert experience and to purchase tickets.

Read more about the Adelaide Guadagnini violin HERE.

Perth Symphony welcomes Hawaiian as sponsor of ‘PSO on the Streets’ (#UrbanPSO)

The West Australian property group is well known for its patronage of the arts, and the new relationship between Hawaiian and Perth Symphony marks the start of a partnership aimed at bringing about a musical revolution on the streets of Perth.

The partnership with Hawaiian has given life to an initiative that has long been a pipe dream for Perth Symphony.  ‘Hawaiian Presents: PSO on the Streets’ will bring the suburbs of Perth alive with world-class music, giving Western Australians the joy of experiencing music in the heart of their community.

Chamber ensembles comprising of musicians from each section of the orchestra will appear in Hawaiian owned properties across the metropolitan area over the next 12 months from The Mezz in Mt Hawthorn to Claremont Quarter; from Forrestfield Forum & Marketplace to Carillon City.  Ensembles will be accompanied by PSO Street Team members who will share insights with the community on the local music scene, give away merchandise and share information on the instruments being played.

People will be able to see where and when the ensembles will be appearing by following the hashtag #UrbanPSO.

“The inspiration came from my memories of visiting cities in the UK such as Bath, Oxford, Manchester and London when I was a kid, where you’d find young classical musicians pumping out crazy fast Vivaldi, or stunningly brilliant Mozart on a street corner.  There is something just so exciting seeing brilliant musicians in action where anyone from anywhere can stop and experience that for a moment or longer”.

Perth Symphony Orchestra – Executive Director, Bourby Webster

The partnership was a vital step for the initiative to be able reach the widest possible audience. With eight shopping centres across the metropolitan area and three Perth CBD locations, close to half of Perth’s population falls within the catchment of Hawaiian’s properties.  This enables thousands of people to have access to live performances by Perth Symphony ensembles, many of whom would not have experienced a live music performance before.

“Giving back to the communities we do business in is an integral part of Hawaiian and how we operate. With properties spanning a 20km radius of the CBD, communities can access experiences such as ‘Hawaiian Presents: PSO on the Streets’.  The vibrancy of PSO, we believe, will inspire some to embrace their own and local arts cultures.”

Hawaiian – Director, Kate O’Hara

The performances will commence later in 2015. For news and info, simply keep your eye on #UrbanPSO! We look forward to sharing photos, thoughts, and our music with you!

For more information contact: Caitlin Irving, Publicist


Vivaldi by Candlelight VIP tickets sold out in a week.

Perth Chamber Orchestra’s announced it’s next concert – Vivaldi by Candlelight last week.  Tickets were available to previous donors, Perth Symphony Friends (members) and sponsors during an exclusive pre-booking last week and open to the general public as of midday today (Wednesday 19th August).

Wednesday 30th September
Doors open 6.00pmbook-tickets
Tickets from $85, available HERE

All tickets include small plates of Italian food (by Comestibles) and Barton Jones Wines, designed to complement the music.

In this week we have had an incredible response to the upcoming concert – selling out of all VIP tickets!  The VIP package includes –

– Exclusive pre-concert function
– Solo performance by Concertmaster Paul Wright (during pre-function)
– Talk by Maestra Jessica Gethin
– Dedicated VIP entrance
– Reserved seating in front rows

We are so excited about this response and cannot wait to bring this magnificent concert to life, this year in the iconic St. George’s Cathedral in the heart of Perth.  The Gothic Cathedral will provide the perfect back drop to transport you back to 1600s Venice, while the Perth Chamber Orchestra play the music of Vivaldi and his contemporaries, in the building’s naturally beautiful acoustic.


PSO’s Chief Conductor, Jessica Gethin, has quickly followed her recent announcement as Inaugural Fellow at the Institute of Women Conductors with the Dallas Opera (USA) with the news she has been awarded the 2015 Brian Stacey Emerging Australian Conductor Award.

The $10,000 prize has been awarded annually since 2002 and recognizes an Australian Conductor, early in their professional career who shows both potential and skill on the podium.  Jessica is the fourth female to receive the prize and the second last recipient as the prestigious award is in its penultimate year.

Jessica flew to Melbourne in June for the announcement at the Helpmann Awards Media Launch and found there was much interest in the Perth Symphony Orchestra. Jessica explains –

“I was both humbled and excited to receive this award, and look forward to putting it towards projects in the USA and Asia that will assist me in further developing my conducting career.  I hope this in turn will benefit Perth Symphony as I will be able to bring new skills, greater depth of experience and fresh ideas back to my home orchestra.  I believe PSO is on its way to being a really great orchestra; each concert goes from strength to strength. Contributing to that journey is a privilege and something I am excited to be a part of moving forward.”

In recognition of this latest achievement, Jessica was invited to be a presenter at the Helpmann Awards at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on July 27, where she announced the award for ‘Best Musical Direction’. The awards were broadcased live on Foxtel Arts. We wish Jessica all the best luck with all her future endeavors!




Jessica with cellist James Beck at the Helpmann Awards in Sydney, 27 July 2015.



BHP Billiton supports Perth Symphony

Perth Symphony was extremely delighted to receive a contribution from BHP Billiton last month to help the orchestra buy some much needed equipment, and take music to young school kids in the outer metropolitan suburbs of Perth.

“BHP Billiton is a proud supporter of the arts in Western Australia.

Helping the Perth Symphony Orchestra to purchase equipment  that will be used in classrooms across the State ensures more young people will have access to the world of music.

We believe that by combining education with music is a powerful way to engage and at the same time have a little fun.”

– Richard O’Connell, Senior Manager Community, BHP Billiton

With the contribution from BHP Billiton, Perth Symphony will be able to purchase some brand new drum screens and orchestral baffles – equipment which is essential to the occupational health and safety of our musicians.  These items will help to protect the precious ears of those playing in the orchestra – because, where would out musicians be without their hearing?

We will also purchase some new battery powered, LED lights which will help to transform the places where we perform into magical spaces.  Think spotlights on soloists, lit-up heritage building features, softly coloured trees and so much more…



Perth Symphony Director, Bourby Webster, and Technical Manager, Gaetan Schurrer, with BHP Billiton Senior Manager Community – Richard O’Connell (middle) pictured here at Rottnest Island. Photo courtesy of Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce.



BHP Billiton has also made a contribution towards Perth Symphony’s Education program: ‘PLAY WITH US’.  Together, we will take elements of this brand new program to children in less fortunate areas who may not have easy access to a wide range of live music performances.  We will collaborate with a small number of schools, creating a tailored program with the aim of bringing about a “musical revolution” for many children who have little or no exposure to live music, particularly classical. We hope to do for children and music what Jamie Oliver has done for children and food.




Perth Symphony percussionist – Paul Tanner with a percussion student at Scotch College, where ‘PLAY WITH US’ was launched at the beginning of 2015.




We are thrilled to announce this new relationship with BHP Billiton.

If you know of a school that would benefit from PLAY WITH US, please contact us to let us know more.

Congratulations Jessica – Institute of Women Conductors with the Dallas Opera

Congratulations to Perth Symphony Chief Conductor & Artistic Director – Jessica Gethin.

Jessica was recently announced as an Inaugural Fellow into the prestigious Institute of Women Conductors with the Dallas Opera. She was selected as one of only six conductors chosen internationally from 27 countries to travel to Dallas this November to participate in the elite opera program for distinguished professional conductors. 

The IWC will consist of master classes and one-on-ones with Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement; seminars, discussions, and networking opportunities; as well as the chance to conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in a public concert performance the evening of December 5, 2015 onstage in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas, Texas.

Read more HERE.

Well done Jessica – we know what an incredible talent you are, and are more than happy to share you with the Texans! Enjoy being totally immersed in such a creative environment, we can’t wait to work with you when you return in December, full of inspiration and knowledge.

At Perth Symphony, we are working our hardest to grow the music and culture scene in WA, so that talented musicians and artists like Jessica have world class opportunities here in Perth.

PSO’s End Of Financial Year Giving Campaign off to a great start!

Perth Symphony launched it’s Annual End Of Financial Year Giving Campaign at the end of May. Having recently been granted DGR Status, all donations made to the orchestra over $2 are now tax deductible.

We have five donation levels:

Donor levels - Yellow

Donor levels - Green

Donor levels - Orange

Donor levels - Blue

Donor levels - Pink

In the first week of the campaign, we were so humbled to receive two ‘blue’ donations, as well as so many generous donations of varying amounts.  As Perth Symphony is a completely unfunded orchestra, every dollar counts and we work our best to make every cent stretch as far as possible.

Click HERE to find out more about our 2015 EOFY Giving Campaign and to make a donation today.