Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was thrilled to reconnect with its loyal audiences in three delightful COVID-safe performances -and now it’s your chance to enjoy the performance in a special online premiere. The Willoughby Symphony strings section and piano, led by chief conductor and artistic director Dr Nick Milton AM, with singers from Pacific Opera, became one of the first Australian orchestras to perform on stage to a live audience since the pandemic.
Artistic director and chief conductor Dr Nicholas Milton AM said, “I am incredibly proud that Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was one of the first Australian orchestras to take up the challenge of performing in the ‘new normal’ as we learn to live with the pandemic.
Willoughby City Council has been tirelessly supporting musicians and music lovers during an incredibly difficult time for arts through its virtual performances. We were thrilled that they had the innovation to enable us to once again share the joy of live music with our cherished community.”
The concert, on August 22 at The Concourse in Chatswood, Sydney, was called A Mozart Celebration. The Pacific Opera singers, under the artistic direction of the inimitable Peter Coleman-Wright AO with Music Director Bradley Gilchrist, delighted patrons with heart-wrenching and piercingly beautiful arias and ensembles from some of the master’s most exquisite operatic creations including selections from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and The Magic Flute. Pacific Opera is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.
The concerts also featured crowd favourite Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry (Londonderry Air) and sumptuous string works by Grieg, Strauss and Tchaikovsky.
It was a new experience for the musicians, performers and support staff with COVID safe check-in processes for all musicians, singers, venue staff and patrons.
The musicians and singers physically distanced on stage and wind instruments were replaced by a piano reduction. Usually performing to a packed concert hall, the orchestra played to 20% of the venue’s capacity, so a lucky 150 people. The venue was extensively cleaned between performances.
A recording of the concert will premiere on the Willoughby Symphony’s Facebook page on Sunday October 11 at 2pm – https://www.facebook.com/WilloughbySymphony/
An icon on Sydney’s North Shore, Willoughby Symphony is proudly managed by Willoughby City Council.
Based at Chatswood’s performing arts centre The Concourse, the orchestra plays an important role in developing the arts and culture on Sydney’s North Shore. It performs a full program of rich and diverse concerts each year and is proud to provide education and development opportunities for the next generation of musicians and composers. It was a finalist in the APRA AMCOS 10th Art Music Awards for Work of the Year: Large Ensemble earlier this year.