6 concerts you really shouldn’t miss when the TSO turns 75

By Stephanie Eslake, 2022

We’re turning 75! It’s a huge achievement for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and we have a huge program to match. There’ll be international guests, chamber music in a historic estate, and a new series of 6PM shows that’ll fill in that gap between work and dinner.

So where do you even begin?

To help you get started as you navigate the TSO’s 75th-Anniversary Season, we’ve put together some of our top picks.

You can jump straight into the full program any time you like, and even Create Your Own Package. (Single tickets will be on sale 17 January 2023, except Voices en Masse – Brahms Requiem, which is on sale now. Subscriptions are already available, too.) Here, we’re giving you a first taste of what’s in store.

Start raiding your wardrobe, because you’re invited to dress up to the nines for our first special event on the list.

1. 75th-Anniversary Gala Concert

It wouldn’t be right to start our list without the first major event of the season – the 75th-Anniversary Gala Concert. We’ve selected an explosive program of classical works that’ll turn your night into a party.

What’ll you hear?

Shostakovich’s Festive Overture has been described as boasting “vivacious energy spilling over like uncorked champagne” – a natural choice to get you into the spirit. Then, you’ll see our first soloist of the year: Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 in B-flat minor.

To celebrate our Diamond Jubilee, the TSO will play alongside next-gen musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music. With so much talent at the ready, it means we can bring you Rachmaninov’s epic Symphonic Dances.

How do you book?

This 25 March 2023 event features in our Federation Concert Hall Series. This means you can wrap it into one of our packages of 6 or 12 concerts and save up to 20% off the ticket price. Or if you’re after something more customisable, Create Your Own Package and save up to 15% off the ticket price.

Can’t get to the venue? This concert is also live streamed for subscribers. Then, it’ll be played in an On-Screen Event at Woolmers on 16 April 2023 – tickets to those go on sale in 2023.

Warm up with…

…this video of Eivind Aadland and the TSO in action.

2. Sibelius Violin Concerto

We’re bringing in so many soloists to celebrate our 75th anniversary – it’s hard to know who to start with! But Benjamin Beilman is one violinist you won’t want to miss. He performed Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with us in 2019, so he’ll be a familiar face when you see him on stage.

What’ll you hear?

Before we get to the concerto, let’s talk Torrent. This composition was penned by Harry Sdraulig – one of our past Australian Composers’ School participants, opening our concert with a touch of the new.

Next up is the “poised and monstrously talented” Benjamin Beilman (Philadelphia Inquirer) who will play the only concerto Sibelius ever composed – Violin Concerto in D minor.

Nielsen’s Symphony No 2 ‘The Four Temperaments’ is also on the program, and the whole concert will be led by Danish maestro Giordano Bellincampi.

How do you book?

This concert on 28 July 2023 is another pick from our Federation Concert Hall Series. So you can work it into your chosen package, or watch it as an On Screen Event Woolmers on 13 August 2023. This concert is another one you’ll be able to stream from home too, so you might like to check out a Digital Subscription.

Warm up with…

…this close-up look at Benjamin’s extreme skill level as he plays through some solo pieces from Ysaye and Bach. Just wow.

 3. Sky Burial – Faure Requiem

We’ve shamelessly stolen this top pick from Eivind Aadland – our Chief Conductor and Artistic Director who reckons it’s a highlight of the 75th-Anniversary Season. He says: “I personally am delighted to be conducting Sky Burial – which combines Fauré’s Requiem with video projections by artist Mat Collishaw.”

What’ll you hear?

A program of striking French music with some stand-out soloists.

First up is Rameau’s operatic Les Indes galantes, then Debussy’s Five Preludes (arr Zender). Your two featured voices are soprano Rachelle Durkin, and baritone Samuel Dundas.

Then, Faure’s Requiem is woven into a remarkable visual narrative called Sky Burial, Mat Collishaw’s beautiful exploration into ageing and mortality, nature and fantasy, dreams and death.

How do you book?

This is a Special Event on 11 March 2023 in the Federation Concert Hall, presented in association with Ten Days on the Island. You can book your single ticket, or add it as an extra to your Fixed or Create Your Own package.

Warm up with…

…a look at the artist Matt Collishaw’s previous large-scale video installation Sordid Earth, including some words from the artist himself.

4. Tarkine/Takayna

Our 6PM Series is a new initiative that acknowledges the inconvenient gap between work and dinner, then fills it with great music just for you.

What’ll you hear?

Nigel Westlake was inspired by our island’s north-west wilderness when he composed Towards Takayna. Benjamin Northey will conduct this local premiere, and you’ll hear the soloists for whom this piece was written – critically acclaimed guitarists Leonard and Slava Grigoryan.

Finnish composers Sibelius (with the classic work Finlandia) and Rautavaara (with the folk-inspired Symphony No 7 ‘Angel of Light’) will also feature on the program.

How do you book?

This one-hour concert takes place on 4 May 2023, and it’ll be performed live in the Federation Concert Hall or live streamed for subscribers. If the 6PM timeslot is as convenient for you as it is for us, there are three more gigs in the 6PM Series you can attend; they all fall on Thursdays.

Warm up with…

…a bit of Nigel Westlake nostalgia – his magical score to Australian farm film Babe. (Did you see him conduct this score to our movie screening a few years ago?)

 5. Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Grace Clifford is one of Australia’s brightest young musicians – at just 16 years old, she took second place in the 2014 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year awards. The violinist has already developed an international career, so it’s a privilege to watch her on the Federation Concert Hall stage.

What’ll you hear?

Grace will play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. Also on the program is an Australian piece by our resident composer Holly Harrison: Centrifuge. Eivind Aadland will conduct, and he opens and closes this concert with Grieg – first the Lyric Pieces, and ultimately the Norwegian Dances.

How do you book?

This is another from our Federation Concert Hall Series, so you can book your package of 12 or 6 concerts – or Create Your Own Package. This 1 December 2023 concert is live streamed for subscribers too, and you’ll be able to book single tickets in January.

Warm up with…

...this video of violinist Grace Clifford performing Schubert's beloved 'Trout' quintet with the chamber players of Selby & Friends. (You may even recognise the viola player!)

6. Music at Woolmers III

You’ll be pleased to know Brass in St David’s is returning this year. But that’s not the end of the story for this bold family of instruments: the Overland Ensemble features some of our leading brass players, and they’ll perform in the north of the state as part of Music at Woolmers.

What’ll you hear?

Tasmania’s own Overland Ensemble featuring Tim Jones (tuba), Mitchell Nissen (bass trombone), David Robins (trombone), and more. They’ll take you through a program that’s exploding with variety – think Rossini, Debussy, Tomasi, Verhelst, Barber, Jones, and Gershwin! It’ll all reverberate off the walls of this historic country venue in Longford.

How do you book?

There are five other concerts in the Music at Woolmers chamber series, and they explore a range of instrument configurations – saxophone, cello, voice, you name it! Book tickets for this 23 September 2023 event on the website this January, or subscribe to a 4 or 5 concert package for the full chamber series.

Warm up with…

…our Principal Tuba Tim Jones performing the second movement of Vaughan Williams’ Tuba Concerto.

These are just a few of our top picks from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s 75th-Anniversary Season. Explore the full program, or dive straight in and find the subscription that suits you. We look forward to seeing you for our Diamond Jubilee in 2023!