New maestro takes up the baton

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Be curious! That’s the message from Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s new Chief Conductor Umberto Clerici, as he unveiled Season 2023.

He said it promised to be a year of grand masterpieces and intimate chamber moments, world premieres, and experimental music experiences, anchored by some of Queensland’s biggest music names in Ray Chen, Piers Lane and William Barton, and featuring some of the greatest music in the world in Don Quixote, The Planets, Beethoven’s heroic Symphony No.9, and what will be one of the most spectacular productions of 2023, Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

“My ambition for these next three years is to create a web of interconnected programs in which each single concert has a clear and unique storyline that develops into a unified arc, embracing the entire season. My theme for 2023 is humanity, for after the past few challenging years I felt we needed music that celebrates sociality, friendship, and community,” said Maestro Clerici.

“An important priority for me is to feature soloists from within our orchestra and showcase the abilities of single sections. Our strings, wind, brass, and percussion will all have their chance to shine, both at QPAC and in our studio, which I consider our ‘painter’s atelier’ where we showcase our experiments and new projects.” He said the message this year was to be curious. “Come and explore unknown paths with us; listen, even if you don’t yet know every piece in a concert, I am confident there will be many things you will discover and love.”

QSO’s famed Maestro Series opens on 17 February with three performances of ODE TO JOY – a concert for the ages. ODE TO JOY will see Maestro Clerici lead the Orchestra, with internationally acclaimed didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and powerhouse violinist Véronique Serret along with soprano Eleanor Lyons, mezzo soprano Deborah Humble, tenor Andrew Goodwin, baritone Michael Honeyman and the Brisbane Chamber Choir performing Beethoven’s magnificent Symphony No.9 (Choral) along with Sculthorpe’s celebrated Earth Cry. Barton and Serret will also perform, for the first time in the Concert Hall, their collaboration Kalkani, described as ‘a message of peace and love carried by the eagle spirit’, transformed into a stunning orchestral version.

In April, it’s Gustav Holst’s mighty masterpiece THE PLANETS under the baton of South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung, with the fascinating Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov featured, with soloists Sara Macliver and The Australian Voices. The epic music continues in May with DON QUIXOTE. Featuring a mix of theatrical and visual elements, all built around the music of Richard Strauss, Maestro Clerici and the Orchestra will tell the famous story of the nobleman who deludes himself into thinking he is a knight. Then it’s drama of a different kind when Queensland favourite Piers Lane performs Mozart’s 24th Piano Concerto – one of his most dramatic pieces for piano and orchestra.

QSO Chief Executive Yarmila Alfonzetti said in 2023 and beyond, QSO would be everywhere, all the time.

“On the mainstage, in our studio, in the pit for the opera and the ballet, and touring all over this vast State; QSO thrives as an arts company for all Queenslanders. Be in no doubt that the QSO underpins a significant portion of the major performing arts sector in Queensland,” she said. “

In all QSO will travel almost 10,000km in 2023. For more information head to qso.com.au

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