These are good times for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Chief Conductor Davis Robertson announced a glamorous 2018 Season. The Board appointed a new MD, Emma Dunch, replacing Rory Jeffes, who after 8 years has moved to be CEO of Opera Australia. David Robertson began a 5 year term as Chief Conductor in 2014; he is widely admired for his artistic leadership of the orchestra. His influence attracts major international guest artists who next year will include pianist Emanuel Ax for 7 concerts in February, Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sofie von Otter singing Schubert in March, star German violinist Anne-Sofie Mutter playing Tchaikovsky in June and another welcome return by Simone Young conducting Mahler in August. Donald Runnicles will conduct Beethoven and Wagner in March, and Oleg Caetani will conduct Verdi’s Requiem in June while two former chief conductors will return – Vladimir Ashkenazy in September and Edo de Waart in October. Australian composers are not neglected; among them are Brett Dean, having a big year, Elena Kats-Chernin, Ian Cleworth, Lachlan Skipworth and Nigel Westlake. All this and more makes for a grand season.
Rory Jeffes leaves the orchestra after a period of growth and achievement. He’ll need all his skills to lead Opera Australia as it looks for a way forward. Emma Dunch is fortunate to be taking over an orchestra in such excellent shape. The year is crowned with a European tour, the orchestra’s first since 2010.
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