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ASO 2018 Season lets the music in with exciting additions to Artistic Leadership team

24 Aug 2017
  • Media Release
by Paola Niscioli

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter is set to lead the orchestra in another rich and varied program that promises to let the music in and deliver something of appeal to everyone. Through music, ASO continues to play a leading role in nurturing the cultural life of our vibrant state, nourishing the souls of South Australians. The 2018 Season includes 51 concerts and features 16 international conductors from Canada, China, Estonia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, UK, US, Russia and South Korea. As well as 52 soloists, 16 from Australia and 25 from across the globe. A total of 22 Australian artists and 86 South Australian Artists feature throughout the season.

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello tonight reveals the depth of the program, with the flagship Master Series, Classics Unwrapped, Gigs at Grainger and Mozart at Elder all returning in addition to a series of Special Events and an outstanding Showcase Series that will ignite and introduce new audiences to the Orchestra for the first time.

In 2018, the ASO is proud to reinvent its Artistic Leadership Team with some exciting additions.

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello announced with great pleasure three new appointments to the ASO Leadership Team: internationally renowned and Olivier award-winning conductor Mark Wigglesworth is Principal Guest Conductor in 2018 and 2019. Whist Cathy Milliken joins ASO as Composer in Association and Grace Clifford as Emerging Artist in Association.

Of Wigglesworth’s appointment Vincent said, “Mark is one of the outstanding conductors of his generation, as much at home in the opera house as the concert hall. He regularly conducts the great orchestras of the world.

“It’s a measure of the wonderful rapport between Mark and the ASO that we are able to make this announcement. We welcome him to the ASO family in this official capacity, here to conduct three Master Series programs next year.”

Both Milliken and Clifford are Australians at the top of their game. Milliken now resides in Berlin as a freelance composer and performer, creative director and educational program consultant and is part of the creative team for the Munich Biennale for Music Theatre.  

In 2016 she won the prestigious APRA Art Music Award for Orchestral Work of the Year for her epic and imaginative composition ‘Earth Plays’. Over three years Milliken will deliver three new compositions the first of which will have its World Premiere at Adelaide Guitar Festival conducted by Benjamin Northey in August next year.

Grace Clifford is no stranger to accolades, in 2014, at the age of 16 the young Australian violinist won the ABC Young Performer of the Year award, the biggest prize in Australia for classical musicians. Since then, Clifford has been studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and has performed with a number of orchestras around the world. She will demonstrate her talents as Mark Wigglesworth conducts Grace & Grandeur’ where she performs Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto an ideal match for the young violinist whose deeply-felt performance of the Sibelius concerto entranced Adelaide audiences in 2016.

Vincent said, “The appointment of Cathy and Grace demonstrates the strength of the ASO’s commitment to nurturing new work and talented artists. We believe that, as a critical part of the music sector, not only do we have a professional and moral obligation to support them but that doing so ultimately assists the ASO to secure the next generation of audiences”.

Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter remains at the helm of the leadership team for a third year. He said, “I am looking forward to another year strengthening my personal relationship with the ASO players and of course you, the patrons. ASO’s mission is to nourish the cultural landscape here in South Australia and by extension the lives of all its citizens. We hope that the 2018 program inspires you to get out and be a part of this incredible community, one we hope is more enriched by our commitment to the highest level of music making.” 

Whilst internationally acclaimed musical legend – conductor, violinist, violist and teacher – Pinchas Zukerman continues in his third year as Artist-in-Association. Vincent says, “He continues to be one of the greatest musicians of our era, Pinchas Zukerman, weaves time and sound, passion and vision together to create an experience of undiluted glory.”

The appointments of Milliken and Clifford are made possible respectively by the generous support of two benefactors Mary Louise Simpson, and Angelique and Michael Boileau.

Mary Louise Simpson said of Milliken’s appointment, “My support through this opportunity recognizes how very important the ASO is and in particular, how important it is to encourage and value new compositions. This donation is also given in honour of my mother, Grace Margaret McArthur who instilled in me from an early age a great love of music.”  

Angelique and Michael Bolieau are equally excited to be supporting Grace Clifford and said, “We saw Grace with the ASO in 2016 and were moved by her performance, her talent and dedication at such a young age is inspirational. We hope that our donation to support her work here in Adelaide will inspire new audiences to connect with this wonderful artform”.

There is no need for a passport as ASO’s flagship Master Series returns with ten programs, featuring internationally renowned conductors from around Australia and the world including: Eivind Aadland, Douglas Boyd, Karina Canellakis, Arvo Volmer and Mark Wigglesworth. As well as an equally stellar line-up of soloists: Grace Clifford, Amy Dickson, James Ehnes, Benjamin Grosvenor, Stephen Hough, Jacqueline Porter, Konstantin Shamray and Natsuko Yoshimoto.

“Music is everything,” Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter said, “The Master Series continues to present music you love. Prepare to be moved and inspired and reward your senses with the essential classics and explore the music of masters from Arvo Pärt to Haydn, Beethoven to Bartok and Bernstein to Wagner.”

Don’t miss the Master Series which features 13 of the great composers covering everything from Baroque through Classic, Romantic and the modern music of today’s eras: Arvo Pärt, Bartok, Bruch, Bernstein, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Chopin, Fauré, Haydn, Holst, Menddelssohn, Mozart, Mussorgsky orch. Vladimir Ashkenazy, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Walton and Weber. Breathtaking orchestrations, whether you need something sublime, whimsical or grandiose, the ASO’s Master Series will set the mood in 2018 and is proudly sponsored by new Platinum Partner China Southern Airlines.

China Southern Airlines General Manager John Yu says, “We’ve proudly been supporting the State in various forms, such as community events and major corporate sponsorship, including the State Government’s Educational Program, and Adelaide Football Club. Today, we are delighted to announce our newest partnership with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO). Apart from introducing our brand and product, we also enjoy being part of SA’s community.”

Strong new composition is a feature of the 2018 Season program  with four new premieres: Arvo Pärt’s Swansong will have its Australian Premiere during the performance of Master Series 4 Beyond Pictures;  James MacMillian’s Saxophone Concerto which was co-commissioned by ASO and  Aurora Orchestra and Perth Concert Hall (Scotland) Master Series 5 Romantic Rachmaninov along with the World Premiere of Milliken’s new work for solo guitar, soprano and orchestra at the Guitar Festival Symphony Gala at the Adelaide Guitar Festival. Whilst the World Premiere of Judith Weir’s Oboe Concerto will be played by ASO’s Celia Craig during Master Series 8 Sibelius Ablaze.

ASO’s popular Showcase Series is back with six showcase concerts guaranteed to be crowd pleasers. First up George Michael: Listen to your Heart, 15-16 February, Festival Theatre in association with  Adelaide Festival Centre. In this special concert event, your ASO pays tribute to the singer sing writer and transcendent world pop star that was George Michael. Relieve his greatest works in full symphonic sound: Careless Whisper, Faith, I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) and Freedom. Cast will be announced December 1 when single tickets on sale. In the meantime join the wait list

Beatles fans will rejoice when ASO and Let It Be Australia present All You Need Is Love, 23-24 March, Festival Theatre, From the producers of The White Album Concert, Beatles Back2Back, Let It Be and most recently Rubber Soul Revolver, All You Need is Love features the vocal brilliance of Jack Jones, Ciaran Gribbin, Rai Thistlethwayte and Jackson Thomas. The concert will showcase the Beatles creative genius and experimentation – from the breathtaking orchestrations of Eleanor Rigby and Across the Universe, to the epic proportions of A Day in the Life.

Harry Potter is back by popular demand. This time ASO and Cinemuse present the second in the series:  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert, 28 April, Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena. This concert features the film in high-definition, on a giant screen, while your ASO performs John Williams’s unforgettable score. Relive every magical moment as the music brings life to a story that has enchanted the world. Earning a Grammy nomination for the score, the bewitching and incredible music became an instant classic, conjuring beautiful and soaring motifs continuing the story of Harry Potter on his magical adventures.

One of the world’s greatest exponents of bel canto (beautiful singing), Sumi Jo, will make her eagerly anticipated Adelaide debut in a thrilling programme entitled Mad for Love. Presented by ASO, Andrew McKinnon and State Opera of South Australia, in association with the Adelaide Festival Centre, Sunday 15 July, Festival Theatre. Sumi will be partnered by dashing Argentine born José Carbó, now one of Australia’s best loved baritones. Together they will perform renditions of the most passionate repertoire from opera and operetta, as well as popular canzoni and tangos, and meltingly beautiful folk songs from Sumi Jo’s native Korea.

The Festival Theatre will become the hottest disco nightclub in town as it’s transformed into The Studio: 54 Reasons to Party, 29-30 June, Festival Theatre. ASO in association with Adelaide Festival Centre presents a Release Creative production, recreates the legendary New York nightclub, renowned for its celebrity guest list and hypnotic atmosphere: Studio 54. National treasures Kate Ceberano and Doug Parkinson will lead a stellar cast of performers (more to be announced) celebrating the electrifying music from artists like Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees, Earth Wind and Fire, through to Sister Sledge’s We are Family and Gloria Gaynor’s I will Survive.

Completing the Showcase Series for the year the ASO presents a Disney production Star Wars: A New Hope – In Concert, Saturday 17 September, Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena. This Adelaide premiere will see ASO “use the force” as they perform John Williams’s Oscar-winning score live to the complete film. Luke Skywalker begins a journey that will change the galaxy, as he leaves his home planet, battles the evil Empire and learns the ways of the Force.

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello says, “You could say that this year’s Showcase Series is intergalactic! ASO prides itself on presenting orchestral concerts that celebrate music in its myriad forms. I believe our 2018 season delivers a program that inspires, challenges, educates and entertains. It is rich in diversity with a breadth that will appeal to audiences of all ages and across lifestyles and cultures. The ASO welcomes you whether you are an orchestral aficionado, season subscriber or a first-time ASO concert goer. We encourage you to come and let the music in.”

ASO presents a series of special events and continues to collaborate with some of Australia’s leading creative bodies, both nationally and in South Australia.

ASO and Adelaide Festival Centre will present a concert that unites cultures through the power of music in a Chinese New Year Concert, 18 February, Festival Theatre. The concert of popular masterworks and traditional Chinese favourites is performed by artists direct from China: Muhai Tang, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Tianjin Opera and Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Shanghai Philharmonic and Zhenjiang Symphony Orchestras.

Also on the program is the Australian Premiere of a specially commissioned cross-cultural work, Rooster Fanfare which premiered at the historic AFL Port Adelaide match in Shanghai in May 2016. The music represents the coming together of Australian and Chinese sounds and features the talents of Australian didgeridoo virtuoso, William Barton plus the Shanghai Empireast Culture Group.

Two outstanding collaborations with Adelaide Festival include: the Australian premiere and Adelaide-exclusive national operatic event of the year Hamlet by Brett Dean, 2 – 6 March, Festival Theatre. Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy is given new life as a darkly complex opera, directed by Adelaide Festival’s Neil Armfield and conducted by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Nicholas Carter.

Shakespeare’s timeless tale of love, betrayal and revenge is taken to new levels through Dean’s vivid and richly lyrical music, highlighted by sensational arias, ensembles and choruses. The grandeur of the production extends beyond the stage with a semi-chorus and extra percussion adding to an all-encompassing theatrical experience.

The top-flight international cast features many of the original singers from the UK’s Glyndebourne production including the remarkable British tenor Allan Clayton as Hamlet and American baritone Rod Gilfry as Claudius, alongside leading Australian sopranos Cheryl Barker as Gertrude and Lorina Gore as Ophelia.

Bernstein on Stage! 16 and 18 March, Festival Theatre. Bernstein didn’t do anything half-heartedly, and neither are we. Leading this centenary celebration is John Mauceri, the master’s apprentice. Mauceri worked closely with Bernstein for 18 years, conducting many of the works on this program. As Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Mauceri is a significant musical figure in his own right and the perfect host for Lenny’s 100th birthday celebration.

ASO will again collaborate with the Adelaide Guitar Festival on its ‘Symphony Gala’ boasting a World Premiere by renowned Australian composer and ASO’s new Composer in Association Cathy Milliken. Along with music by Spanish composers Joaquin Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla. Conducted by Benjamin Northey the concert on 10 August, Festival Theatre also features The Beijing Guitar Duo, guitarist Vladimir Gorbach and soprano Jessica Aszodi.

Keep an ear out for announcements from cultural partners State Opera of South Australia and The Australian Ballet as together we present you with more memorable experiences.

ASO patrons won’t be disappointed as firm program favourites are once again included:

  • Classics Unwrapped the inimitable Guy Noble returns to unwrap the best bite sized bits of classical music with player guests on stage.
  • Gigs at Grainger – brings ASO and musical mavericks together- relevant to a diverse audience of different backgrounds and musical preferences.
  • Mozart at Elder – perennially popular lunchtime concert series at Elder Hall presented by Graham Abbott.

ASO nurtures future musicians and audiences through education and community outreach programs highlighting its long term commitment to music, ASO’s Festival of Learning is just one of these programs. Internationally acclaimed Paul Rissmann returns for the fourth year to lead the Festival and bring alive an exciting Australian premiere and exceptional programs for students from Kindergarten to senior school.

Paul Rissmann is an expert interactive story teller and the ASO have commissioned Rissmann to create a brand new work based on the glorious picture book What do you do with an idea? By Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom. Paul’s involvement with the ASO is generously supported by Roger and Helen Salkeld.

It’s the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This magical world premiere, 15 June, Adelaide Town Hall combines the orchestra and Young Adelaide Voices with theatrical elements, exploring the importance of creativity and imagination and how young people have the power to change the world.

Know someone under 30? Then introduce them to ASO’s #remastered program: attend an ASO concert followed by an after-party for people 30 years and under. Plus it’s the chance to get to know ASO players and our collaborators up close and personally.

Deepening appreciation around music, the 2018 program also features a dynamic series of Art Talks, where audiences can hear from the creators and reflect on how their world generates ideas and solutions to achieve cohesive, sustainable societies; Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is pleased to once more partner with The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, University of South Australia to provide you the chance to hear directly from the artists. All talks are free, registration is essential


Cheree McEwin, Publicist, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

08 8233 6205 / 0416 181 679 /

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

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