Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Justice

In light of the unrest in the US over the last week, Perth Symphony Orchestra wishes to state that we are committed to equality, diversity, inclusion and justice. We pay our respects to the Whadjuk traditional owners of Perth, the land on which we are based, and to all First Nation peoples throughout Australia. We stand with you. We pledge our ongoing commitment to reconciliation and welcome artists and audiences of all backgrounds, all ethnicities, all orientations and world-views. We passionately oppose racism in any form. It will never be tolerated within our organisation and we continue to advocate for equality and show leadership in doing so.

We recognise the desire to achieve equality for all, and acknowledge the struggles faced by people of colour the world over. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go for a fair and just society for all. Our mission is Music for Everyone, and by that we mean Every Single Person within our community. We aspire to bring all people together through music and remain committed to this goal with open hearts and minds.

The photo above was taken at our 2019 collaboration with Karla Hart and four Noongar families – WOWAK [breathe]. Find out more about this rewarding and touching performance here.
Photo from Rebecca Mansell and the 10 Nights in Port Fremantle Festival.

We say goodbye to Maurice Spillane, Founding Chairman

Earlier this week we received the devastating news that on Thursday 28th May, our Founding Chairman, Maurice Spillane, sadly passed away, losing a 6-month battle with cancer.

Maurice was the Chairman of Perth Symphony Orchestra from 2014 – 2018 and his love of the orchestra, its staff and musicians was unflinching. He was a close and dear friend to CEO Bourby Webster, providing support and mentorship long before Perth Symphony formed.

On hearing of his passing, Bourby shared;

“Maurice put people before business. To him, the music, the vision, the people would always be the most important thing.”

Maurice was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Perth 20 years ago and became almost like family to me. His unwavering support of me personally and determination to see PSO become sustainable is why we are here today.

We are the lucky ones as we had the privilege of knowing him and having his wisdom, loyalty, humour and warmth on a regular basis.”

Maurice was vibrant and full of life, a regular participant in the Rottnest Swim, always had a story to tell about recent kite surfing trips with friends. He was part of so many communities and clubs – from North Cott SLSC to the Twilight Sailing group at Freshwater Bay. He absolutely loved the water and could regularly be seen going for an early morning dip at Cottesloe beach.

From everyone here at Perth Symphony, Maurice, you will be terribly missed but never forgotten. Perth Symphony is indebted to you.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Perth Symphony Orchestra is writing its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and has formed a working group to oversee the development and implementation. The first meeting of the Working Group takes place this week, coinciding nicely with National Reconciliation Week 2020.

The Working Group includes;

  • Phil Walley-Stack, Noongar singer-songwriter, speaker, dancer and author
  • Michelle Broun, cultural planner and producer, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Curator at the WA Museum
  • Julian Donaldson representing the Perth Symphony Board of Directors, CEO of The National Trust of Western Australia and former General Manager of the Perth Festival
  • Bourby Webster, CEO Perth Symphony Orchestra, representing the Perth Symphony administration team
  • Bronwyn Ife, Education and Community Coordinator Perth Symphony Orchestra, representing the Perth Symphony administration team

We are honoured to be able to bring these brilliant minds together with their diverse experience and knowledge, to finding creative ways to ensure Perth Symphony has reconciliation underpinning all activities.

Other staff members and musicians will be invited to meetings on a rotating basis to offer insight and ideas around opportunities to integrate reconciliation activities seamlessly across the organisation. We are delighted to have staff across all departments on board and invested in making these changes happen, evident in the initial brainstorm and feedback sessions held with the team.

We are looking forward to seeing what the RAP Working Group achieve and again would like to thank them for their time and contribution.

Pictured above is Phil Walley-Stack, hosting a collaboration between Karla Hart (also pictured) and Perth Symphony Orchestra – WOWAK as part of the Fremantle Festival, 2019.

Farewell Tina!

Today we say goodbye to a very special team member, Tina.

Being the first General Manager at Perth Symphony and in this role over the past two years, she has been the go-to support system for everyone at the office!
Full of life and giggles, she’s always made working fun and comfortable.

Dedicated to her work, you’d only ever find her away from her desk for a quick cookie snack before she’d be back, head down working.

“She has worked tirelessly, and with a commitment that I know has been an inspiration to us all. Tina has taught me what hard work and commitment really means.”

– Bourby Webster, CEO

She’ll truly be missed and we’re wishing her all the best in her journey ahead!

Music for PASTA!

And we’re back with a delicious new playlist – Music for Pasta!

Music you love to listen to while you prepare, cook or eat pasta, favourites from your Italiano dinner party playlist to music you can imagine Italian composers writing while eating a carbonara. What do you think Vivaldi, Paganini, Scarlatti, Monteverdi, Puccini were eating while they composed some of their greatest works? What were they listening to and inspired by?

Discover new music across all the genres Perth Symphony performs and loves.

Look out for some special insights and stories into the music with CEO Bourby Webster on Facebook and Instagram, shared while cooking some of her favourite pasta dishes. You may not know but Bourby is an incredible cook and has a great passion of cooking.

Take a listen and follow the playlist here, and don’t forget to send us your favourites and requests via our Facebook or instagram.


New additions to the Perth Symphony Board

Perth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is excited to announce and welcome Julian Donaldson and Dr. Ashley William Smith to the PSO Board of Directors.  While the current restrictions in Australia have put a halt to all performances and concerts, CEO and Founder Bourby Webster expressed that

“We could not be more delighted to have two incredibly experienced new board members with incredible experience of the arts: Julian as a senior Arts Administrator, and Ashley as a soloist and orchestral performer.”

Julian is the CEO of the National Trust of Western Australia and the former General Manager of the Perth International Arts Festival.  His vision saw the Festival grow and included one of the largest events ever to hit Perth – ‘The Giants’, an event still talked about today.

Acclaimed clarinettist Dr. Ashley William Smith has performed throughout Australia, the USA, Europe and Asia, and has won some of the nation’s most prestigious prizes and awards, a Churchill Fellowship.  A graduate of Yale University as well as UWA and ANAM, Ashely is now the Head of Winds and Contemporary Performance at UWA.  He was humbled to be invited to join the Board of Directors and added;

“Music should be part of everyone’s life, and I have always admired Perth Symphony’s commitment to developing new audiences for orchestral performance through its innovative programming and constant exploration of new modes of music presentation.”

“My aim is to offer insight from an artist’s perspective in PSO’s quest to redefine what a 21st century orchestra can be.”

You can hear Bourby in conversation with Ashley on the latest episode of Perth Symphony’s podcast series: Music on the Move, released on Friday 24th April (available on any podcast app including Spotify, search ‘Perth Symphony Orchestra’).

“Julian and Ashley both bring a wealth of experience and will provide a strong artistic presence on the board, to ensure we continue to deliver outstanding, high quality performances and experiences to the widest audience. I am very much looking forward to working with them.” Bourby concluded.

Find out more about Julian and Ashley here.

Support us this End of Financial Year, without spending a cent!


End of financial year is the time when we would normally be reaching out to you, our incredibly generous donors and supporters to ask for donations.

However this year, we are asking for your support, without the need to open your wallet or spend a penny.

We understand this is a challenging time for everyone – whether you are working in health services or have lost work – everyone is affected and we know you will all get through it.

This year, here are ways you can still support us without spending a cent!

  •   Like, comment, share our posts and stories
  •    Invite your friends to follow us on social media
  •   Sign up to our newsletter (promise we don’t spam you!)
  • Invite your friends to concerts and events IRL 😉 and through Facebook events
  • Tell ALL your friends about us
  • Show us how you listen by snapping yourself while you’re listening to our podcast or playlist and share to your insta stories
  • Connect us to potential corporate sponsors and partners

We hope that during this time we can help YOU by enriching your life with music, inspiration and most of all… fun!

However, for those who may be in a position to donate, we would be eternally grateful.
Every dollar goes a long way and helps us along our mission of bringing more music to more people across WA and beyond. Find out more here.

Thank you. Stay safe and keep washing those hands! 🎶👏

Welcome, Louise & Mathumai!

Although these two amazing people have been on board with us for the last few months, they’ve been head down busy with work.  However it’s about time we introduce you all to our expanding team! We thought what better way than to have them send in a few fun answers so that you get to know them better!

First up, meet Mathumai our Finance Manager!

  • What do you love about PSO?
    The diversity and innovation that PSO introduced to the world of music
  • What is your personal connection to music?
    Part and partial of life , best part of my childhood was listening to my mom sing!
  • What was the last concert you attended?
    Light of the World where my son Harry performed as a part of a Indian classical  music team.
  • What music are you currently listening to a lot?
    I love listening to instruments and love veena the most.

Next up, Louise our Admin & Librarian Assistant

  • What do you love about PSO?
    I love how innovative and uplifting PSO is. Our performances are unique and everyone puts in so much heart and soul from start to finish. Every day is an adventure, and having the support of such a wonderful team is the best!
  • What is your personal connection to music?
    I started learning the violin when I was 5 years old and music has been a part of my life ever since.
  • What was the last concert you attended?
    The last performance I went to was by the Australian Youth Orchestra, at their National Music Camp in Adelaide. I played with AYO for years, but absolutely loved being in the audience for a change to support fellow musicians. Highlights included Stravinsky’s Petrushka and Sculthorpe’s Earth Cry.
  • What music are you currently listening to a lot?
    To be totally basic, I’m listening to a lot of Lizzo. Otherwise I’m on board the podcast wagon, and am binging every single Shameless episode that exists.

Music for HEROES

Announcing Perth Symphony’s “Music for…” interactive playlists.

A series of playlists, curated by the eclectic taste of the Perth Symphony musicians and admin team, and YOU!  A way to share our musical knowledge with you and to discover new, fabulous music. Fun and serious suggestions all welcome – classical, contemporary, jazz, folk…. we’re all ears!

Send your requests to @PerthSymphony on instagram or facebook and we’ll add it in.

To kick off the series, our first playlist is “Music for Heroes“, celebrating all those working on the frontline and in support services keeping us all safe and healthy through this crazy pandemic.

You can listen to the playlist on Spotify (below) and don’t forget to send us any piece you think is missing via our Facebook or instagram.

It’s got everything from Bowie to Beethoven, a real mix of music, you can really hear the bravery through the music!
Music has an amazing ability to sweep you away and take you on a journey, all while staying home – perfect for this time of social distancing!

Hear CEO Bourby Webster share some personal favourites from the playlist –
Beethoven’s Eroica | Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben | Hans Zimmer’s Superman / Alicia Keys’ Superwoman

#BachintheBathroom #Bachaday

We all know how good we sound when singing in the shower, so why not let your instruments experience that same amazing reverb? Not to mention the selfie-worthy lighting that bathrooms offer.

Time for a bit of fun…

In the lead up to Bach’s birthday (31st March) and along with PSO violinist Julia Watson’s #Bachaday campaign, #BachintheBathroom is designed to inspire everyone to pick up their instruments, encourage connection through music and social distancing through practise.

Perth Symphony is asking musicians around WA and the world, of all skill levels to simply take a video of themselves in the bathroom, playing their favourite piece of music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Join the campaign by –

– uploading a video to Instagram or Facebook with #BachintheBathroom and #Bachaday
– uploading a video to instagram stories with the above hashtags
– tag us (@PerthSymphony) so we can see too!

Take this as seriously or as silly as you like – we’re expecting everything from stunning, virtuosic solos to fun videos with musicians in shower caps and bubble baths! How creative can you get, while distancing yourself at home?

We can’t wait to see all the videos, and hope that by preparing and sharing these videos, musicians will pass this isolating time a little quicker and bring joy and smiles to all those (digitally) around them.