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Melbourne Symphony Orchestra announces a 2022 Season packed with new beginnings, fresh programming and welcome returns.

Chief Conductor Jaime Martín, Xian Zhang, Benjamin Northey, Tan Dun,
Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Sophie Rowell, Christian Li, Deborah Cheetham,
James Ehnes, Paul Grabowsky, Emma Donovan, Archie Roach, William Barton, Nodoka Okisawa, Meow Meow and more.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Season 2022 program ushers in a bold era of orchestral music with new Chief Conductor Jaime Martín inviting audiences to take their seats for a season packed with exciting Australian composers and musicians, cross-cultural collaborations, and a vibrant program of classical and contemporary masters.

The 2022 season comprises more than 110 performances including six MSO commissions, five world premieres and two Australian premieres. The Season features an unprecedented eight female conductors/play-directors, 15 Australian composers and six First Nations artists.

The MSO will be joined by 20 international guest artists, among them South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son (pictured below) making her Australian debut.

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MSO Managing Director Sophie Galaise heralded an exciting year ahead for the orchestra.

“After a prolonged period away from the concert hall, we are ready for 2022 to begin. We are genuinely excited to reunite with our beloved audiences, welcome our brilliant new Chief Conductor Jaime Martín, and revel in a program of orchestral music as diverse as our wonderful musicians, composers, conductors and international guests,” said Galaise.

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Maestro Martín starts his inaugural season with the Season Opening Gala concerts, New Beginnings, featuring the world premiere of Deborah Cheetham’s Baparripna, with didgeridoo player William Barton (pictured above), alongside Haydn’s evocative depiction of a new day dawning, Symphony No.6, and Mahler’s awakening of nature from a long winter sleep, Symphony No.1.

Martín said he is looking forward to reuniting with the MSO for a year of inspiring orchestral music.

“I loved the sound of the MSO from the very first chord at the first rehearsal we shared in 2019,” said Martín. “The people of Melbourne and Victoria have already made me feel at home, and I look forward to many concerts together and to discovering more of this beautiful city.”

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In his Mid-Season Gala, Martín introduces Australian audiences to his friend, rising star Sheku Kanneh-Mason (pictured above), the first cellist in history to reach the top 10 of the UK Album charts.

The July concert marks Sheku’s Australian orchestral debut and will be followed up in August with a family affair in which the Kanneh-Mason Family – described by Simon Cowell as the world’s most talented family – perform a program of works by Chopin, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and more.

Throughout the year Martín will conduct the MSO at Hamer Hall through programs spanning beloved works of Bartók, Beethoven, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius and Ravel and some new Australian and international works. The MSO will be part of a select group of international orchestras presenting the premiere of British composer Thomas Adès’ newest work The Exterminating Angel Symphony.

Martín will conduct a triple bill of Stravinsky’s great ballet works The Firebird, Petruska (1947) and The Rite of Spring and will be reunited with the MSO Chorus in an epic performance of Verdi’s Requiem.

Rounding out his first year at the helm, Martín transports audiences to the striking landscapes of his Spanish homeland with a Season Finale Gala featuring vivacious and colourful works from two of Spain’s greatest composers, de Falla (El Amore Brujo, Three Cornered Hat) and Ravel (Rapsodie Espagnole, Boléro).

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The MSO will continue to engage and celebrate Melbourne’s vibrant Chinese community with a trio of East Meets West concerts, including a Chinese New Year concert featuring the MSO debut of celebrated Opera Australia tenor, Kang Wang and Melbourne favourite, Li-Wei Qin.

Academy Award®-winner and MSO Artistic Ambassador, Tan Dun introduces audiences to his Organic Trilogy, which explores his early memories of growing up in rural China surrounded by ritual music from nature. MSO Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang (pictured above) conducts Beethoven’s mighty choral Symphony No.9 alongside Zhao Jiping’s Violin Concerto No.1, performed by MSO Artistic Ambassador Lu Siqing.

Monday Evenings get a new look in 2022 with a series of one-hour programs offering a Quick Fix at Half Six and featuring Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (da-da-da-dummm), Dvořák’s New World Symphony, the Australian premiere of MSO co-commission from contemporary Australian composer, Brett Dean, and more.

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MSO’s Principal Conductor in Residence, Benjamin Northey (pictured), will conduct among other programs, two Metropolis concerts. The Lost, which will be performed in St Paul’s Cathedral, features two pieces from acclaimed Australian composer, Mary Finsterer, alongside works by Arvo Pärt and Hildegard von Bingen.

The second concert sees ARIA Award-winners, Paul Grabowsky AO and Lisa Gerrard join the MSO and MSO Chorus for the world premiere of Grabowsky’s Immortal Diamond, at The Forum.

Grabowsky continues as MSO Composer in Residence in 2022 in no small part due to the pandemic’s impact on his and the MSO’s 2021 plans, and 15-year-old violin sensation, Christian Li, joins the MSO Artistic Family in 2022 as Young Artist in Association. Christian was the youngest performer to win the Yehudi Menuhin international Competition for Young Violinists and recently became the youngest artist to sign a recording deal with Decca Classics. Christian will join MSO Conductor Laureate, Sir Andrew Davis, to perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Hamer Hall program, Debussy’s Nocturnes, features another world premiere of an MSO Commission, Melody Eötvös’ Sonarmilo for Harp and Orchestra, conducted by Nodoka Okisawa in her Australian debut. Matthew Laing’s Bassoon Concerto Of Paradise Lost, will have its world premiere under Vasily Petrenko.

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NAIDOC Week in July will bring together music and art with a disarming and uplifting performance from the MSO and Spinifex Gum, featuring the sound of young Indigenous women’s choir Marliya, with soul queen Emma Donovan (pictured) and the music of The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill.

Another new addition to the MSO series, Music and Ideas invites audiences to discover more about the music, artists, producers, and composers working on stage and behind the scenes. This fascinating new series includes open rehearsals, masterclasses, inspiring conversations and the ever popular Up Late with Ben Live, hosted by Benjamin Northey.

The hugely popular Sidney Myer Free Concerts return with A Symphonic Soiree, featuring the world premiere of an MSO commission for orchestra and Indonesian instruments by Bianca Gannon; An Evening of John Williams, celebrating iconic film music on the occasion of the composer’s 90th birthday; and One Song, with long time collaborators Archie Roach and Paul Grabowsky AO, conducted by Benjamin Northey.

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Along with new programs and series, the MSO will continue to deliver the finest of orchestral music across the city with MSO Mornings in Hamer Hall on Fridays at 11am, the Melbourne Town Hall Series featuring the best in Australian conductors and soloists, the Recital Centre Series offering a genre defying series of the unexpected performed in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, with Meow Meow’s The 20s, and all that dissonance a highlight; the MSO Monash Series in the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University and the MSO Geelong Series at the Costa Hall, Deakin University in Geelong.


Subscriptions to the MSO’s Season 2022 are available from 10am, Tuesday 28 September. Individual concert tickets will be available from 10am, Thursday 28 October. For further information visit mso.com.au or call (03) 9929 9600 to book your tickets.

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