The Year Ahead


This coming year will be a watershed for the ADO in many ways.  There are a number of initiatives the management have been working on, some which have taken several years of pre-development behind the scenes, and one new one which won’t be up and running until 2019.  More information about these activities, as I am reliably informed, will be released soon.

Our concerts this coming season send us on a journey of discovery of works that remain under-represented in the concert hall.  Sibelius’s Symphony No.3 in C major is really one of the forgotten children of the Finnish master’s symphonic output.  I’ve never quite understood why this is so, as it is truly a wonderful work.  The second symphony from the Nordic Archipelago that we are going to tackle is Kurt Atterberg’s Symphony No.3 (‘West Coast Pictures’).  How and why this symphony remains almost univerally unknown is indeed baffling.

It seems remarkable, given the incredibly positive feedback we receive from our live-streamed concerts, that the works the ADO present are not taken up by orchestras far more reliant upon performing the commonly heard symphonic repertoire.

We are aware that other orchestras around the world are looking at our repertoire choices and, in a few cases, asking questions about these works for future programming. I remain in two minds about such enquiries as they are usually directed back to me to answer.  On one hand, I think it is great that the ADO is seen as an increasingly popular place to look for resources and ideas.  On the other hand, the ADO is not set up as a repository of knowledge in this respect, so it makes me wonder why we are identified as a point of reference?

The ADO exists to give professional orchestral players from across Australia, who do not hold a permanent position with one of the State-based orchestras, the opportunity to come together several times a year to perform with their peers.  Whereas it is true, as a rule, that the ADO does not perform Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky etc. as other orchestras cover this repertoire effectively, we don’t exclude this type of repertoire just beause it is well known per se. More’s the truth, we do exclude repertoire which we cannot accomplish in two, three-hour, rehearsals (although, mea culpa, I have come close to pushing the boundaries of this on a few occasions).

We have learned a lot about live-streaming our concerts over the last two seasons.  That we have done this with so few technical problems is really a testament to our production partners, 5 Stream, and a small team of very talented close associates of the orchestra behind the scenes who receive far too little credit.  We continue to improve our processes for creating compelling live-stream and interactive online engagment activities.  The preparation for these elements takes a very considerable amount of creative energy and time – and is one of the overarching reasons why we don’t do more concerts than we do in any season.

I look forward to working with all the wonderful players of the ADO again this coming year.  Our time together always seems short (probably because it is!) but I am always grateful for the camaraderie, passion and intense concentration these musicians bring to our concert events.  And, if you’re not aware: playing to camera is very difficult, so what you are seeing on-screen is really happening in the moment!

Best wishes,

Kevin Purcell

Music Director