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The 2017 Season Announced

Janine HanrahanHappy New Year to everyone – or “Auguri” as they say in Venice from where I am writing this post.

Today I have announced the preliminary concert schedule for the ADO’s 2017 season.  More details, including dates and venues to be announced shortly.  If you haven’t already seen it, tap here.

For the Season opening concert, we’re absolutely delighted to present Lisa Cheney’s evocative The Pool and the Star in a new version for symphony orchestra which the ADO will premiere.  The Pool and the Star, originally conceived for chamber orchestra, was first performed as part of the MSO’s Cybec program (under the direction of Brenton Broadstock) at the 2014 Metropolis New Music Festival.

The second work on the concert is the Sibelian-inspired second Symphony No. 2 ‘Romantic’ op. 30 by 20th-Century American composer, Howard Hanson (1896-1981).  Probably the best know of his seven symphonies, the work was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s music director Serge Koussevitsky in 1930 as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations.

This symphony became the subject of some notoriety when one of its most haunting themes was used in the closing credits of the original Alien film without the composer’s consent – much to his displeasure.  It’s a marvelous work of great beauty and not performed nearly enough.

The second concert in our season is a 50-minute thrill ride through the  ultimate music of  ‘love, murder and betrayal’ captured in Giacomo Puccini’s operatic masterpiece, TOSCA.  Whereas we’d love to play all of the opera our concerts as you know are only 50 minutes long, so we’ve selected equally the most sensuous and gripping moments to perform for you.  But don’t worry, we’re also developing a new 3D immersive game environment around Tosca’s Rome – where the opera is set – for you to explore the complete story in your own time.  Our principal conductor, Kevin Purcell, is currently in Rome preparing the media assets for this exciting new audience engagement platform.

The 2017 season kicks off  on May 7 with a special version of the ADO performing as part of Independent Schools Victoria’s Arts Learning Festival (May 3- 7).  More information about this to be posted shortly.

Lastly, just to note, we are having major issues with our Facebook page and not able to access it properly.  Basically we can’t write any posts onto our timeline right now.  We don’t know how long this will take to resolve with the ever-charming and helpful folk at Facebook!

Enjoy the remainder of the Summer,


Are We There Yet?

Janine HanrahanI thought it was a good time to reflect on the first half of our 2016-17 Season.  But, it’s over I hear you say?  No, actually, we’re only half-way through.  But I can understand the assumption that we have concluded our current season projects.

Our season starts in May each year and concludes in April-May the following year.  Odd? Perhaps, but there is a reason why we do this.  In Australia, the coming of Spring heralds the Spring Racing Carnival, the ALF Football Final series (like the American championship division finals and World Series), Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, The Melbourne Festival and the list goes on and on….

As a daring, highly-innovative and niche orchestra enterprise, we don’t want during this time to compete with all this noise – and, in reality, we can’t – so we don’t. Then, the long Australian Summer is upon us which takes us through to early February, followed by the mad scramble of people gearing up once more for School or work.  Suddenly, it’s April and wouldn’t you know it, we’re gearing up to start another ADO season.  But, wait, there’s more.  Like the eponymous free steak-knife bonus, the ADO has been busily planning during the Spring-Summer hiatus the second-half its previous calendar year season of projects.  Oh, what are they? Read on. Continue Reading →

How We Researched & Prepared For Our Forthcoming Concert

Eleanor_Rawling_Cover_GurneyIt probably would come as a surprise for some to learn, that much of the planning for ADO concerts happens at least a year in advance of presenting the concert itself.  In itself, this is actually fairly common practice for orchestras around the world; the preparation to put 60-100 players onstage to present a program having started long before the  first note of music has been performed.

In the case of our forthcoming ‘A Foreign Field That is Forever England’ concert, the preparations have been even more time consuming, and involved many more people than is usual.

Firstly, without the very kind assistance of the Ivor Gurney Trust we would not be performing the composer’s A Gloucestershire Rhapsody.  Specifically, the cooperation and willingness by former chairman of the Trust and composer, Ian Venables and the scholar and composer, Philip Lancaster to provide us with critically edited new performing materials has allowed us to prepare the work in the demanding and limited rehearsal schedule under which the ADO operates.

But then, how to explore the world of Ivor Gurney himself?  Fortunately, one of the most interesting and inspiring books I have come across about Gurney was published in 2011 by Eleanor Rawling (see the book cover above left and click image for further details).

Continue Reading →

Conducting Masterclass Participant News

The Podium

We were delighted to receive quite a number of applications for our first conducting masterclass of the season.  After reviewing all the videos received and applicant CVs and biographies, we have selected the following as active participants for the  2 x 2.5 hours rehearsals on May 27.  They are (in alphabetical order):

Joshua Geddes

Andrew Groch

Mateusz Gwizdalla

David Le Guen.

We noted, with some passing disappointment, that no applications from Australian women conductors were forthcoming!  Come on girls, it’s an occupation far too dominated by our male colleagues globally, so we hope to see you apply for the next masterclass in August?  Also, if you would like to sit in on the masterclass as an observer, we still have some places for this.

The programme for the two sessions will include all participants working on J. Strauss’s Die Feldermaus Overture with ADO Principal Conductor, Kevin Purcell, and guest conducting clinicians.  The participants then can choose from either Debussy’s Afternoon of A Faun or Copland’s famous ballet for 13 instruments, Appalachian Spring.  All these pieces present varied and challenging issues for conductors in bringing the music off the page with the orchestra to a listening audience.

Want to know more about our selected participants? Continue Reading →

We’ve Changed Our Newsletter Format

Janine HanrahanWe’ve decided after weighing up many, many options out there to abandon doing traditional newsletters (sorry about that AWeber, MailChimp etc).  One of the simple reasons is that by either occasionally visiting the ADO website or following us on Facebook will keep you up-to-date with everything going on with the Australian Discovery Orchestra.

But the Newsletter was also intended to be informative about other really interesting news related to classical music and the innovative work of many orchestras around the world (for example, check out our new listing under the Watch tab about the UK’s Multi-Story Orchestra).

In the end, we decided to incorporate all these intentions into a pro paper. gives us access to an ever-expanding universe of articles, blog posts, and rich media content extracted & analyzed from over 25 million articles. We think that should probably cover everyone’s interest!  We curate our daily newspaper (it’s not auto-generated) focusing only on music and theatre related news and articles.  Some of these get exported to our Facebook page as well.

As the saying goes, that’s all the news fit to print!