Acknowledgement of Country

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is proud to share our specially commissioned Kaurna Acknowledgement of Country, Pudnanthi Padninthi (‘The Coming and the Going’), that will be performed at the start of ASO concerts.

ASO musicians Steven Peterka and Gemma Phillips (styled by Carla Zampatti and MCo Style Bar) with Jack Bucksin at Tennyson Dunes. Picture Matt Turner.

This musical Acknowledgement is a collaboration with Kaurna Narungga musicians and composers Jack Buckskin and Jamie Goldsmith, and orchestrator/arranger Mark Simeon Ferguson, and Grayson Rotumah, lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music.

Watch the video to discover how the work came to life.

ASO commissioned South Australian film makers randy Larcombe and Suzi Ting to document the making of ASO’s Kaurna Acknowledgement of Country, Pudnanthi Padninthi (‘The Coming and the Going’)


Arranged by Mark Simeon Ferguson for the full 75-piece Adelaide Symphony Orchestra after nine months of working with Jack and Jamie, the Acknowledgement opens with Section Principal Percussion Steve Peterka playing two boomerangs with a steady beat

ASO Managing Director, Vincent Ciccarello, said Pudnanthi Padninthi reflects the musical heritage of the Adelaide Plains and our connection to the land where we work and make music.

“This musical Acknowledgement of Country reflects the ASO’s commitment to building respectful relationships and sharing cultures as outlined in our Reconciliation Action Plan,” Vincent said.

Composer Jack Buckskin said music, song and dance were an important part of Indigenous culture.

“Music’s just another educational tool. It’s one thing to be told a story, but you can forget the story very quickly. Song is the next stage of learning,” Jack said.

Arranger and composer Mark Simeon Ferguson says “This is about the Jack and Jamie, Kaurna culture and songs. This is about them sharing their Country with us and, and we can’t get in the way. And so it’s their melodies, and anything I do can’t be in the way of what they’re doing”.

ASO Percussionist Steven Peterka plays the Wadnas in the acknowledgement, he says “The Wadnas make a unique and ancient sound, one we can’t produce with standard orchestral percussion instruments. To be entrusted with the role of playing them in the orchestra is an honour, a humbling experience every time I hold them.”

Shivani Marx, ASO General Manager, People, Culture and Operations, spoke of the importance of the musical acknowledgement and how it forms part of the ASO’s greater commitment to reconciliation. She believes nothing is lost by the absence of words.

“In fact, what I hope is that something is gained by connecting it to what we do as an orchestra. We live and we make music on Kaurna land. And so for us, there’s nothing more meaningful than using music to convey the connection to the land and to pay our respects,” Shivani says. “And the same can be said for our audience. We have acknowledgements in our programs. Acknowledgements come on in our venues, but I think this connects the acknowledgement more with us as the artists, and the audience who have come together for a shared experience. I hope that the emotional resonance can be even deeper.”

ASO wishes to thank the project collaborators including Grayson Rotumah, Jack Buckskin, Jamie Goldsmith and Mark Simeon Ferguson for bringing this project to life.

“Pudnanthi Padninthi… is an eloquent piece, opening with the steady beat of clapsticks followed by the horns, with the brass and wind instruments evoking the kinds of sounds heard in a traditional ceremony. With the feel of a fanfare, this is a symbolic rather than literal welcoming of the audience, and it represents creative and respectful engagement between cultures.”

Limelight Magazine

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