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Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Orchestra)

Founded: 1932 - Sidney, Australia

Sydney Symphony Orchestra (= SSO) is a symphony orchestra based in Sydney, Australia. It is one of Australia's leading orchestras. The SSO evolved from a small group of twenty-four musicians which were brought together to play concerts and to provide incidental music for radio plays when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was established in 1932.

The first significant concert event in which the orchestra took part was in 1934, when the renowned Irish conductor Sir Hamilton Harty visited Australia. His visit led to calls for the creation of a permanent symphony orchestra for Sydney. In 1936, the orchestra was increased to 45 players, augmented to 70 for public performances. It also inaugurated annual concert seasons that year. Because of the political instability in Europe in the 1930s, many leading artists spent large amounts of time in Australia. Performances were given under the direction of the Hungarian conductor Antal Doráti and the British conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Soloists appearing with the orchestra included Artur Rubinstein, Bronislaw Huberman and Artur Schnabel.

At the end of World War II, the ABC reached agreement with the Sydney's city council and the New South Wales state government to establish an orchestra in Sydney. The new 82-player SSO gave its first concert in January 1946. Eugène Goossens joined the orchestra as its first chief conductor in 1947. Eugène Goossens' introduced outdoor concerts and conducted Australian premieres of contemporary music. In 1948, he uttered the prophetic words: "Sydney must have an opera house!" Eugène Goossens was succeeded by the Dutch conductor Willem van Otterloo. Under Van Oterloo, the SSO made an eight-week European tour in 1974 culminated in two concerts in Amsterdam and The Hague. Under Otterloo, the orchestra established the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House as its home base. In 1982 Sir Charles Mackerras became the first Australian to be appointed chief conductor. When he fell ill in 1985, the young Australian conductor Stuart Challender stepped in to conduct some of his performances. These concerts led to his appointment as the orchestra's chief conductor in 1987.

In 1994, the SSO received increase support from the federal government, enabling it to increase the number of players to 110, increase touring and recording ventures, and improve orchestral salaries. That year, it also appointed the Dutch conductor Edo de Waart the SSO's chief conductor and artistic director, who held the post until 2003. Highlights of his tenure in Sydney include the Ring in concert version and tours of Europe (1995), Japan (1996) and the USA (1998). The SSO gives 150 concerts annually to an audience of 350,000. From February 2004, Gianluigi Gelmetti will be its chief conductor and artistic director.

Chief Conductors

Eugène Goossens (1947-1956)
Nikolai Malko (1957-1961)
Dean Dixon (1964-1967)
Moshe Atzmon (1967-1971)
Willem van Otterloo (1971-1978)
Louis Frémaux (1979-1982)
Sir Charles Mackerras (1982-1985)
Zdeněk Mácal (1986)
Stuart Challender (1987-1991)
Edo de Waart (1993-2003)
Gianluigi Gelmetti (2004-2008)
Vladimir Ashkenazy (2009-2013)
States David Robertson (2014-2018; conductor-designate; announced May 15, 2012)

Source: Wikipedia Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2004, December 2013)

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach’s Works




Robert Pikler


Bach-Stokowski: Movements from BWV 4, BWV 478 - transcribed for orchestra

Ede de Waart


Bach-Schoenberg: Prelude & Fugue in E flat major ("St. Anne"), BWV 552, arranged for orchestra
Bach-Schoenberg: Chorale Prelude Komm, Gott Schöpfer, heiliger Geist (II), BWV 631, arranged for orchestra
Bach-Schoenberg: Chorale Prelude Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654, arranged for orchestra

Links to other Sites

Sidney Symphony (Official Website)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Wikipedia)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera House (SMH)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) (Cuture & Direction)
Encyclopedia: Sydney Symphony Orchestra

On-Cue Profile - Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Articulight Architectural Color Changers- City Color Application
On the road with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (ninemsn)
classical music - andante - sydney symphony orchestra managing

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 04:01