2019 music season will electrify

Get ready for an explosion of music in 2019 and a season set to burst at the seams with at least 13 world premieres, 12 Australian premieres, galaxies of luminaries including conductors, composers and soloists from all over the world, outstanding local musicians, hundreds of world-class concerts — all packaged and presented in a series of inspirational programs.

2019 music season will electrify


Music lovers can look forward to a feast of new music across the states. The ASO features the world premiere of a double concerto written by Avner Dorman to celebrate Artist in Association Pinchas Zukerman’s 70th Birthday, and a world premiere by Composer in Association, Cathy Milliken.

Eumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace, composed by Deborah Cheetham AO, makes its orchestral debut with theMSO, while Composer in Residence Paul Dean steps up as soloist in his own brand new Clarinet Concerto. The MSO will also celebrate new works in contemporary symphonic music from a host of Australian composers in theirMetropolis New Music Festival.

The WASO will present two world premieres from home-grown composers, Iain Grandage and James Ledger, showcasing the considerable talents of WASO’s Leanne Glover and celebrated Australian composer and violist Brett Dean respectively.

The SSO push the boundaries with three noteworthy Australian premieres — Steve Reich’sMusic for Ensemble and Orchestra, the Australian premiere of Wynton Marsalis’s The Jungle – Symphony No. 4 withJazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and the premiere of Christopher Rouse’s Bassoon Concerto.

Musica Viva will showcase world premieres by Australian composers Natalie Williams, Brett Dean, Ross Edwards, Graeme Koehne, Nicole Murphy and Stuart Greenbaum, while in Tasmania, Saxophonist Amy Dickson will première Matthew Hindson’s Saxophone Concerto — a TSO commission.

Next year marks some significant milestones, including Brandenburg’s 30th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of Principal Conductor Asher Fisch’s WASO debut. Sadly, 2019 also marks Sir Andrew Davis’s final season as Chief Conductor of the MSO, and David Robertson’s final season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the SSO. Next year will see SSO launch multiyear artistic cycles for the first time, with four visionary conductors joining the orchestra over 2019–2021. The SSO will also bestow Conductor Laureate and Principal Guest Conductor titles for the first time — on Conductors Vladimir Ashkenazy and Donald Runnicles.

It is impossible to do justice here to the season’s offerings — but we can offer a taste of the highlights. TheACOreunites with celebrated Australian photographer Bill Henson to celebrate ten years since the last performance ofLuminous, the ACO’s ground-breaking musical and visual feast. Look out for featured performances from ACO players, including Artistic Director Richard Tognetti, Principal Violins Satu Vänskä and Helena Rathbone, Principal Cello Timo-Veikko ‘Tipi’ Valve and ACO Collective Artistic Director Pekka Kuusisto.

The Brandenburg Concertos will be the first time that The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra has performed a full concert program of the music it was named after. These concertos are considered the pinnacle of orchestral writing in this genre. Handel’sAnthems and Fireworks will be a gala event featuring celebratory music for royal festivities, including theMusic for the Royal Fireworks and Handel’sCoronation Anthems sung by the soaring voices of the Brandenburg Choir. Vivaldi’sThe Four Seasons, Baroque music’s biggest hit, will be reimagined with concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen as soloist.

Sir Andrew Davis’s last season at the MSO will be one to remember. He will conduct the MSO at the Season Opening Gala and will be joined by Lu Siqing. Melbourne audiences will see them perform Bruch’s Violin Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth SymphonyPathetique — pieces that received six rapturous standing ovations across the country when the two stars recently performed them on tour in China. Sir Andrew’s last performance as Chief Conductor of the MSO will be of his own reorchestration of Handel’sMessiah— an event not to be missed!

The ASO flagship Master Series returns with 10 programs featuring internationally renowned conductors, together with program favouritesClassics Unwrapped, Gigs at Grainger andMozart at Elder. The company will also offer a series of Special Events, includingBeethoven: The Piano Concertos, and another outstanding Showcase Series, featuring a tribute concert to Prince;Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert,and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert.Get set for Orianthi, one of the world’s greatest female electric guitarists, who will rock the stage with her purple guitar.

Topping Musica Viva’s bill, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the Emerson String Quartet return to Australia. MVA also introduces Britain’s Doric String Quartet to a national audience, and presents highlights ranging from the all-star Skride Piano Quartet and cellist Natalie Clein to early music sensation Nevermind and the multimedia magic of ZOFO.

QSO’s Latin American Gala conducted by Music Director Alondra de la Parra promises to be one of the sensations of the season. Artist in Residence Paul Lewis is one of the greatest pianists of the 21st century and his intimate concert will be a musical highlight of 2019.

The grand finale of the SSO season will be a special celebration, including André Previn and Tom Stoppard’s show-stopper,Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, andAmerican Harmonies, featuring works by Adams, Copland and Rouse.

The TSO welcomes sensational soloists appearing with the orchestra for the first time — among them dynamo violinists Benjamin Beilman and Stefan Jackiw — and welcomes back Nina Stemme, the world’s number one Wagner soprano. Another high point — English conductor, choral director and Baroque specialist Stephen Layton will conduct a performance of Bach’sSt John Passion.

WASO highlights two exceptional artists — the company’s first Artist in Association, Australian soprano Siobhann Stagg, who will appear as soloist in three concerts conducted by Asher Fisch, and Featured Artist Nikolaj Znaider who will appear as both violin soloist and conductor.

Audiences around the country can look forward to a number of their favourites. MSO performs its soundtrack to summer in Melbourne at theSidney Myer Music Bowl in its free concert series.  The Musica Viva Festival is back with world-renowned double bass player Edgar Meyer heading the bill. He will be joined by the Dover Quartet, pianist Andrew Tyson, brilliant violinist Tessa Lark and MVA chamber music legends, the Goldner String Quartet.  The ever-popular Last Night of the Proms is a firm fixture in the WASO program, while in Tasmania, the much lovedRACT Symphony Under the Stars returns to Hobart and Launceston.

AMPAG members will play host to some of the brightest stars in the constellation of international musicians next year. SSO will be joined by internationally lauded violinist James Ehnes, trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis and his JALC orchestra, pianist Behzod Abduraimov, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, acclaimed pianists Lang Lang, Alessio Bax, Lisa Moore, Geoffrey Lancaster and Paul Lewis; and renowned Shostakovich expert conductor Mark Wigglesworth.

Guest artists in the ACO’s 2019 Season include fiery violinist Lorenza Borrani, renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, the famed Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, while favourite ACO collaborators pianist Dejan Lazić, violist Brett Dean, and keyboardist Erin Helyard will also appear throughout the season. 

ASO’s flagship Master Series features internationally renowned conductors and soloists from Austria, Britain, Canada, China, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Ukraine, US, Russia, Scotland and South Africa.  Conductors include Mark Wigglesworth, Stephen Layton, Douglas Boyd, Dalia Stasevska,

MVA’s International Concert Season opens with acclaimed British cellist Natalie Clein. Pianists Eva-Maria Zimmermann and Keisuke Nakagoshi are ZOFO — a one-piano, ‘20-Finger Orchestra’ whose quirky performances have enthralled audiences. In June, the Doric String Quartet (considered the leading British quartet of its generation) will make its national debut and will perform the world premiere of a piece that Brett Dean wrote for this quartet.

Danish-born violinist and conductor, Nikolaj Znaider, will play Elgar’s Violin Concertounder the baton of WASO’s Principal Conductor Asher Fisch.  Fisch will also conduct WASO’s 2019 Gala Event,An Evening with Gun-Brit Barkmin.

The MSO will take us out of this world next year, with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert; whileProfessor Brian Cox will escort audiences on a journey through an infinite universe with conductor Daniel Harding and the MSO providing the soundtrack.

Next year promises some exciting musical collaborations. The ASO celebrate the Year of the Pig with theirChinese New Year Concert, in association with Adelaide Festival Centre, led by Chinese­–Australian conductor, Dane Lam, Principal Conductor of China’s Xi’an Symphony Orchestra, and featuring the Australian-Chinese Cellist, Li-Wei Qin. Another outstanding collaboration,The Magic Flute,is presented by the Adelaide Festival in association with State Opera of South Australia, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Festival Centre.

Grainger Studio and Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dream BIG Festival have collaborated onWho Needs a Conductor, Anyway?  Celebrated Australian pianist Simon Tedeschi tackles the question head on, with the help of the ASO.

Brandenburg’s Paul Dyer and Circa’s Artist Director Yaron Lifschitz have devised a brand-new show with English Baroque music inspiring the explosive and thrilling collision of music and circus.

In a special event for 2019, WASO will be joined on stage by some of Australia’s most talented young and emerging artists from Melbourne’s Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) to bring Shostakovich’s Symphony No.7Leningradto life. WASO and ANAM Side by Side will be conducted by Simone Young.

Other notable collaborations include Wynton Marsalis with the MSO in collaboration with Arts Centre Melbourne and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival; andEumeralla: A War Requiem for Peace,which is presented by the MSO in collaboration with Short Black Opera.

That should be enough to get you started!