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ASO seeks to dispel ‘mystique’


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The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is seeking to extend its reach in 2015 with a season that includes a concert devoted to disco hits and a new light-hearted series showcasing famous classical music tunes.

Managing director Vincent Ciccarello says the program, launched today, is about breaking down barriers and dispelling some of the “myths and mystique” surrounding classical music.

“The motivation is to convey the very strong message that while symphonic music remains the ASO’s core business, we do much more than that … orchestral music is represented very much in daily life, whether it be in film music, popular music or television.”

One of the most popular events in 2015 is likely to be ASO Does Disco at the Festival Theatre in July, which will see conductor Guy Noble lead the orchestra in a performance of songs by the likes of the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Village People, and KC and the Sunshine Band.

It is part of the Showcase series, which also includes the return of Last Night of the Proms; a performance of Led Zeppelin music with Australian rock band The Zep Boys, and a collaboration with the Australian Ballet School featuring excerpts from works such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.

Three Classics Unwrapped shows at the Adelaide Town Hall will present “the best, bite-sized bits of classical music”, each introduced with a back-story presented by conductor Noble. The shows (in May, August and November) will include works such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

“They really are the top-of-the-pops classical repertoire,” Ciccarello says.

“They will be the kind of music people know and hum.

“It’s meant to be an entry-level series … a completely non-threatening entrée into the world of classical music.”

Violinist Sarah Chang will play with the ASO in a concert at the Town Hall. Photo: Cliff Watts

Violinist Sarah Chang will play with the ASO in a concert at the Town Hall. Photo: Cliff Watts

Another new element of the 2015 season will be a series of performances in metropolitan venues, although details of these have not yet been announced.

Despite a certain amount of doom and gloom surrounding the high arts in the current economic climate, Ciccarello says the reality is that “there is still a demand for what orchestras do”.

He says the ASO’s core classical repertoire remains the most successful part of its program.

“We have to continue to respect and present what our core business is, and that is symphonic music of the very highest quality.”

Among the world-class musicians who will be performing with the ASO in 2015 are American violinist Sarah Chang (Virtuoso Violin), French-Canadian pianist Louis Lortie (Lortie Plays Schumann) and American pianist Garrick Ohlsson (Epic Strauss). American soprano Christine Brewer will be guest at a concert featuring the music of Mozart, Strauss and Mahler in June.

Other 2015 program highlights include composer Iain Grandage and librettist Kate Mulvany’s Towards First Light, which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, and a production with the State Theatre Company of South Australia which will bring together four actors, two sopranos, a female chorus and the orchestra to present Mendelssohn’s incidental music for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“If there was a single event that really stands out for me in 2015, it is the collaboration with the State Theatre,” Ciccarello says.

“That promises to be a really special, enchanting evening.”



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