Swan River Pedestrian Bridge Project

On Sunday the 21st of January, 12 Perth Symphony musicians came together in small groups to improvise some incredible music for the new Matagarup Bridge. As you walk across the bridge there are now motion-activated sound pods that will play music inspired by themes of transience of water, conflict, crossings and life of the river.

Local composer Ash Gibson-Greig composed a short melody that our musicians improvised around, playing in different keys, at different tempi and using a variety of instruments. We played in really unusual combinations – who has ever heard of oboe, French horn, didgeridoo and guitar in collaboration before!?

Here’s what some of our musicians had to say about it all:

“It was such a great experience. Would love to explore so much more of this with you all”

Sacha McCulloch (Cello)


“…All the musicians that were involved have been ‘BUZZING’ about it”

Tresna Stampalia (Flute)

It was an incredible experience for our musicians and crew! Many thanks to Audrey and Arif Satar for inviting Perth Symphony to be part of this project and to our extraordinarily talented musicians who embraced the opportunity and delivered such impressive results.

Take a walk over this spectacular bridge and have a listen – let us know what you think by tagging us in your pictures!  @PerthSymphony on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Image by Samuel Wiki (via Wikipedia)

Symphony Spectacular

The City of Kwinana was transformed on Saturday the 1st of December into a state of lights and music when we performed in the Tianqi Lithium Symphony Spectacular!

The show was a huge success which featured local soloists Justin Burford, Timothy Nelson and Lani Melrose under the baton of Jessica Gethin. These talented individuals partied alongside the musicians of Perth Symphony Orchestra to bring the audience to life, singing along to hits from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bee Gees and INXS.

We were absolutely delighted to include the talents of 12-year-old Anastacia Dawes as a soloist after our Chief Conductor, Jessica Gethin was enamoured with her in the recent documentary ‘Don’t Stop the Music’. We will be releasing a short video soon to fill you in briefly on this part of Anastacia’s journey!

See the full photo album on our Watch & Listen page.

Anastacia Dawes from ABC’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ to perform with Perth Symphony.

13 year old Anastacia Dawes from Challis Primary School in Armadale, featured in the recent ABC docu-series ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ has been invited to perform her song ‘Catastrophe’ with Perth Symphony Orchestra.

The 55piece orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin will perform at the Tianqi Lithium Symphony Spectacular concert on Saturday December 1 at Calista Oval in Kwinana.

This concert follows the hugely successful Act-Belong-Commit Rock Symphony in 2017, which drew a crowd of almost 5000 people from the City of Kwinana and surrounding areas.

Anastacia caught the ear of Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Senior Lecturer Micheál McCarthy when she was singing by herself outside the ‘karaoke room’ set up by Challis Primary School music teacher Simon Blanchard. It soon became clear that Anastacia had a dream to one day study voice at WAAPA.

Micheál recalled how

“[his] heart sank, as [he] figured she might not get the chance unless she went to a high school where she could study music”.

Micheál took it upon himself to secure the talented student auditions to high schools with established music programs, and as a result, Anastacia was able to secure herself a position at Kelmsott High School– taking her one step closer to her dream of studying at WAAPA.

Anastacia’s song “Catastophe”, which is featured heavily in the docu-series was transcribed and harmonized by Micheál McCarthy and is being orchestrated Corey Murphy and Callum O’Reilly – both students of Micheál at WAAPA. Also accompanying her on the night will be music teacher Simon Blanchard on guitar.

Perth Symphony Founder and CEO Bourby Webster said of the project,

“Perth Symphony is passionate about giving Western Australian musicians and those who love music a chance to shine. We cannot wait for our musicians to have the opportunity to perform with such gorgeous young talent as Anastacia,”

“Inspiring young musicians and instilling a love of music in all kids from a young age is incredibly important to Perth Symphony”.


Farewell to Founding Chairman, Maurice Spillane

The 2018 AGM saw us farewell Founding Chairman, Maurice Spillane, who served on the Board from 2014 – 2018.

Maurice was integral in building the foundations on which Perth Symphony could begin and grow. His knowledge, down to earth attitude and dedication has seen the orchestra grow exponentially in his time, and his sense of humour has made sure even Board meetings follow Perth Symphony’s mantra of ‘unexpected and fun’!

On stepping down from the Board, Maurice said,

“The founding principle of PSO and Bourby’s driving ambition was to give opportunities to WA musicians and bring music to the people of WA where they live.
I have been honoured to assist in the first phase of that incredible journey and am proud of what has been achieved in such a short time with the wonderful assistance of numerous musicians, donors, sponsors, volunteers and many other community members. I’ve no doubt it will grow from strength to strength under Bourby and the board’s guidance over the coming years”.

While we are sad to see Maurice go, he assures us he won’t be a stranger so you will see his face around many upcoming Perth Symphony concerts and performances.

Bourby Webster, Perth Symphony Founder & Director noted,

“I’ve valued Maurice’s leadership, counsel, wisdom and friendship during his tenure as Chairman. As the founding Chair of Perth Symphony Orchestra Limited his legacy is remarkable – to leave an organisation that has grown 480% since he came on board turning it into the company it is today is an impressive achievement. His trust in me and my vision is truly appreciated. I will miss him greatly but look forward to seeing him at many Perth Symphony concerts and events into the future.

Pictured above: Chairman – Phil Thick, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor – Jessica Gethin, Founder and Executive Director – Bourby Webster, Former Chairman – Maurice Spillane.

‘PLAY WITH US’ – Perth Symphony’s school program visits Kwinana

Things might be tapering off at the end of the year for some, but the Perth Symphony Education program has never been busier! Perth Symphony musicians are visiting no fewer than seven schools in the Kwinana area this month, with incursions at Leda, Orelia, North Parmelia, Bertram, and Honeywood Primary Schools. Our ‘PLAY WITH US’ incursions are interactive, collaborative, fun and LOUD! And feature traditional brass and percussion ensembles as well as some unusual combinations of instruments, keeping things fresh and exciting!

Musicians will also be working with Peter Carnley Anglican Community School students in a “Share the Chair” program with the school’s concert band.

In addition to the ‘PLAY WITH US’ and ‘Share the Chair’ programs, Perth Symphony oboist Kate Page is working with head of music at Gilmore College to create an ensemble to accommodate the various instruments played by students in years 7-9 at the school, in a project spanning the entire month.

Igniting and fostering a love of music in young people is such a crucial part of what Perth Symphony does, which is why it’s fantastic that over 2,400 students will have access to the orchestra’s education programs this month.

PSO Core Player Group established

We are excited to announce we have appointed a number of core players for the first time. The name of the group is PSCORE (referred to as P-Score, representing the “PSO Core”. PSO has grown significantly in the last few years and creating a core group of musicians was deemed an important step in keeping music and musicians at the core of what we do. The remit of the group includes:

a) to assist in formulation of artistic strategy to achieve PSO core goals;
b) to increase player engagement and input within the organisation;
c) to contribute input and feedback on artistic matters including programming and player appointment;
d) to be an ambassador for the PSO brand, preserving the culture and reputation internally and externally;
e) to assist the PSO in its main endeavours, business and goals.

The membership of CORE will comprise of at least two PSO core staff, Perth Symphony’s Executive Director,  Artistic Director and/or General Manager and a select number of musicians. The musicians have been chosen for their stellar musicianship, industry experience and commitment to the success and longevity of the organisation. Tenure is for one year, and musicians may be invited to continue as PSCORE musicians, and others may be asked to join the group.

Jessica Gethin, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director commented:

“Since inception, Perth Symphony has always valued our musicians’ input at the core of our organisation, therefore it’s exciting that as we enter our eighth year of operation, we are able to take the next step of formally appointing a core player group to represent the orchestra. This is a really exciting time for us as we look ahead into the next stage of growth for Perth Symphony”

For the financial year 2018/2019, these musicians are:

Paul Wright – Concertmaster
Pascale Whiting – Principal 2nd Violin
Kathy Potter – Principal Viola
Sophie Curtis – Principal Cello
Libby Browning – Principal Double Bass
Stephanie Nicholls – Principal Oboe
Wendy Tait – Principal Horn
Paul Tanner – Principal Percussion

We are excited to be working closely with this group of incredible musicians whose commitment to PSO is appreciated.

PSCORE member, Stephanie Nicholls noted,

“Perth Symphony Orchestra has given me opportunities to perform with extraordinary artists in extraordinary surroundings. I’m excited to contribute back to PSO as part of the core player group, helping to drive the orchestra’s vision in bringing quality music to all West Australians”

They will be working with PSO Management to encourage aspiring musicians to play with PSO, identifying new talent; acting as the first point of contact for other PSO musicians to communicate with, and provide feedback to, management; and much more.

Bourby Webster, PSO Executive Director, concluded:

‘We thank them, and all our musicians, for the incredible support we have received since day one and look forward to continuing to grow with our musicians at our core.”


The Perth Symphony is looking forward to being a part of this unique and innovative performance at the Perth Festival in 2019. The Nature of Why is an interdisciplinary performance, drawing inspiration from the life and works of Richard Feynman.

String players from Perth Symphony will be joining musicians from the British Paraorchestra – the world’s first largescale ensemble for professional disabled musicians – to perform a filmscore by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory. They will be collaborating with dancers performing choreography by Australian artist and disability advocate Caroline Bowditch.

Merging contemporary dance and live orchestral music The Nature of Why erases the divide between musicians, dancers and audience, immersing you in an uplifting up-close-and-personal theatrical experience.

To find out more, visit the Perth Festival website, or check out this promotional video from the British Paraorchestra.

Where: Heath Ledger Theatre
When: Thu 21st – Sat 23rd February, 2019
Tickets: start from $25, available here.

PSO brings romance to Bayswater!

We are very excited to be hosted by the City of Bayswater for what is sure to be an incredible night of music under the stars. This is the Perth Symphony’s first time to the eastern suburbs, and we’re looking forward to making it the first of many!

Join us for a night of romance – the perfect early Valentine’s gift to share with your partner or with the whole family. The Perth Symphony will be playing the greatest romantic hits of all time, from Elvis to Queen. We’ll sing and dance the night away with a program that will appeal to people of all ages. This is a FREE community event sponsored by the City of Bayswater

When: Saturday, 2 February 2019
Time: 7.30pm – 10.30pm
Where: Pat O’Hara Reserve, Morley
Tickets: Free of charge

To find out more visit the City of Bayswater website or let your friends know you’re coming by joining the Facebook event here.


Looks like another busy year shaping up for our Chief Conductor Jessica Gethin! It’s just been announced that she will conduct the opening concert for the Adelaide Festival on March 2nd as well as being appointed conductor for two seasons with the West Australian Ballet in 2019, ‘Giselle’ and ‘ALICE (in wonderland)’.

You can read more about Jessica’s ongoing successes here and on her website. We wish Jess all the best in her upcoming engagements!


Perth Symphony welcomes a new Chair

Perth Symphony Orchestra is delighted to welcome Phil Thick, General Manager, Tianqi Lithium, as new Chair of the orchestra. In doing so, the orchestra says farewell to outgoing founding Chair, Maurice Spillane, Senior Member, State Administrative Tribunal.

Phil brings with him a wealth of experience having worked as Executive Director for Shell Australia Ltd., Director, Esperance Port Authority, CEO & Director Coogee Chemicals, Managing Director & CEO, MHM Metals, and Managing Director, New Standard Energy, prior to taking on his current role with Tianqi Lithium.

Phil has had considerable not-for-profit experience including a directorship with the Disability Services Commission (WA) and more recently as Chair of Avivo (formerly Perth Home Care Services).

In taking on the role with Perth Symphony, Phil noted,

“I’m passionate about the arts and particularly the impact music can have on the lives of everyone, regardless of age, culture or status.  We have been big fans of PSO for many years, particularly their commitment to bring music to the community.  The opportunities are endless, and I want to work with Bourby and the PSO team to continue to grow and spread our influence, so all can share the joy the PSO experience brings.”

Phil replaces founding Chair, Maurice Spillane, who has been with Perth Symphony since its inception in 2014, since starting from a Kitchen Table. Maurice has overseen the orchestras beginnings and its formation into a registered charity with DGR status. During this time the orchestra’s constitution was formed, the board was established, and founding Executive Director, Bourby Webster, was supported in setting the organisation’s vision, mission and purpose.

Under Maurice’s guidance, the orchestra has grown into one of WA’s largest and most sustainable arts companies with an Annual turnover of just under $1.5m.

In departing, Maurice noted,

“The founding principle of PSO and Bourby’s driving ambition was to give opportunities to WA musicians and bring music to the people of WA where they live.”

“I have been honoured to assist in the first phase of that incredible journey and am proud of what has been achieved in such a short time with the wonderful assistance of numerous musicians, donors, sponsors, volunteers and many other community members. I’ve no doubt it will grow from strength to strength under Bourby and the board’s guidance over the coming years”.

Phil was welcomed as Chair-elect at the October board meeting and will be formally appointed at the orchestra’s AGM on November 18th. His role involves supporting the achievement of Perth Symphony’s strategic goals, building strong lasting relationships with major supporters such as Founding Partner, AHG, and Sustainability Partners, Tim Roberts Giving and Minderoo Foundation, and developing diverse funding sources.

Phil joins the below members of the Perth Symphony Orchestra board:

Mr Alec O’Connell, Appointed 18 November 2014
Ms Joanne Palmer, Appointed 18 November 2014
Ms Bourby Webster, Appointed 11 September 2014
Mr Simon Joyner, Appointed 5 April 2016 (retired Oct 12)
Ms Suzanne Ardagh, Appointed 19 September 2017
Ms Niamh O’Connor, Appointed 28 March 2018

In addition, Perth Symphony also bids farewell to Simon Joyner who joined the Board in April 2016.

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