ASO announces Festival of Orchestra as centerpiece of July–December 2021 Season

31 May 2021
  • Media Release
by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce an exciting new initiative – Festival of Orchestra (FOFO) – as the centrepiece of its July–December Season 2021.

Running from 26 November to 4 December at the Adelaide Showground, the Festival of Orchestra is an Australian first, and features six concerts celebrating the world’s greatest orchestral music from the concert hall, Broadway, dance club, rock arena and the silver screen.

Adelaide Showground will become the hub for the Festival’s sunset concerts. The central arena will feature the orchestra live on stage, with a capacity for 5,000 patrons each night. Adult tickets start from $49 and children from $19, with family and VIP packages and a variety of seating options available, including picnic tables in the garden; so start planning the perfect night out with friends. A selection of food trucks and bespoke bars will complete the festival atmosphere to ensure you can make it an enjoyable evening. Don’t miss 6 incredible outdoor concerts over 10 nights under the stars. Ancillary events, including pre-concert entertainment, free community events and masterclass opportunities, will be announced in the coming weeks.

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello said this new and unique event in SA’s festival calendar presents the ASO in a new light.

“Festival of Orchestra, or FOFO, takes the ASO out of the concert hall and onto the Main Arena of one of the State’s best-loved venues,” Mr Ciccarello said.

“We’re bringing back Symphony under the Stars, in the form of our opening night Classical Spectacular, complete with cannons and fireworks,” he said. “We have the Ministry of Sound orchestrated, the epic Carmina burana with massed choirs, a special night of highlights from Broadway musicals. And we’ll be joining forces again with SA’s own The Angels, before the Festival culminates in the BBC’s extraordinary Blue Planet II with a score by Hans Zimmer and special guest narrator.”

Mr Ciccarello said FOFO will have a carnival atmosphere by day, with lots of fun, family activities, demonstrations, games and displays.

The Festival has been made possible thanks to a $700,000 grant secured during 2020 through the Federal Government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund.

Season 2021: Part 2

In addition to Festival of Orchestra, the ASO continues its 2021 season with more unmissable masterpieces, as well as continuing its celebration of both old and new works on a grand scale. We continue our journey and commitment to representation of female composers past and present, along with unique collaborations: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 Season July–December invites you to reconnect and come together to create a space for music. The program is a rich and varied finish to the year that presents inspirational artists and conductors from Australia and abroad.

Celebrating excellence and innovation, the second half of the season spans genres that deliver something of appeal to everyone, for all ages and across all musical styles from classics in the Symphony Series or an introduction to classical through Classics Unwrapped; or choose the Meditation Series if you need a pick-me-up to nourish your mind, body and soul; or be transported to a galaxy far, far away in a cinematic John Williams spectacular – Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert.

We are thrilled to have Principal Guest Conductor Mark Wigglesworth back in Adelaide to conduct the orchestra for Symphony Series 5 Dreams and Passions including Konstantin Shamray in Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, as well as Classical Spectacular and Carmina burana in FOFO.

ASO Associate Concertmaster Cameron Hill can’t wait to welcome the Principal Guest Conductor back to the podium. He says,“When the ASO is fortunate enough to work with Mark, it always ends up being a moving, memorable experience. He can draw the orchestra in with the smallest of gestures, and has the ability to build and shape the music beautifully. There is a real freshness about his interpretations! 

“Due to the pandemic, we’ve missed him greatly. He truly is in the top tier of conductors.

Ravel’s Bolero, which features in Classical Spectacular, is one of my absolute favourite pieces to play, even though the violins sit out for much of it! Ravel uses a single Spanish-inspired theme with no development, and experiments with a 15-minute slow-building orchestral crescendo. It’s impossible not to get swept up in the craziness of it all. It’s bonkers.”

ASO is passionate about our purpose to bring music to all South Australians, for connection and wellbeing, for learning and to shine a light on new and diverse voices.

ASO July–December Season 2021 includes 48 concerts and features 22 special guest artists and 11 conductors throughout the second half of the season.

FOFO: Festival of Orchestra

Festival of Orchestra kicks off in spectacular style with a Classical Spectacular. This thrilling opening concert conducted by Mark Wigglesworth will be a night to remember! Featuring some of the greatest orchestral music ever created, this is music of passion and spectacle: the Jets and the Sharks facing off to the pulsating music from Bernstein’s West Side Story, the soaring emotion of the adagio from Khachaturian’s ballet Spartacus, the scintillating big city sounds of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Ravel’s powerfully hypnotising Boléro. As if that weren’t enough, the cannons will thunder and the fireworks will dazzle, to the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Wednesday 24 November, Adelaide Showground.

Ministry of Sound this year celebrates its 30th anniversary as London’s first superclub. The nightclub was a trailblazer for London’s club scene dedicated to house music.For electronic music enthusiasts, Ministry of Sound: Classical is a celebration of the most beloved dance floor moments of the last 25 years – rearranged, remixed and reimagined with the ASO. Featuring Adelaide’s own DJ Groove Terminator, aka Simon Lewicki, this event is supported with a warm-up set from DJ John Course, setting the mood for an epic evening of entertainment. Friday 26 November, Adelaide Showground.

GT, as he is widely known, is excited that finally this symphonic dance music experience is coming to Adelaide. He says, “Book the babysitter, wear your best dancing shoes and expect to be on your feet dancing from the first song until the final encore! It’s one of the most exhilarating shows I’ve been involved in, I come off stage with the biggest grin and the biggest endorphin rush every night we perform.

This new set is sounding pretty epic. My fav tune to do live? It used to be Two Months Off by Underworld but I think that has been eclipsed by Where’s Your Head At by Basement Jaxx  – to have such a raucous song like this with an orchestra really is something else, let me tell you!”

Whether you’ve been thrilled by it on a movie soundtrack, or whether its power and energy have persuaded you to buy everything from coffee to beer (remember the Carlton Draught advertisement?), a complete performance of Carmina burana is always an epic concert event.

Bawdy, irreverent, exciting and offering an unparalleled sense of musical spectacle, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is a big, bold celebration of life, love, and the pleasures of the flesh and the grape. It’s also one of the most popular works ever created for choir and orchestra. From the mighty opening chorus – O Fortuna – this is an unforgettable musical experience. With more than 200 performers on stage, this sensational concert the ASO is joined by Young Adelaide Voices, the Elder Conservatorium Chorale, Graduate Singers and an outstanding cast of vocal soloists, under the direction of the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Mark Wigglesworth. Saturday 27 November, Adelaide Showground.

ASO Associate Principal Second Violin Lachlan Bramble says, “Carmina Burana is so much more than the iconic opening bars. It is an unforgettable hour of joy, beauty and medieval debauchery that simply has to be experienced live.”

Get ready for A Night on Broadway. They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, and the lights will shine just as brightly on the ASO in this dazzling musical theatre showcase. A show-stopping line-up of Australia’s finest musical theatre stars including Amy Lepahmer, will perform your favourite numbers from the great musicals – including ‘Music of the Night’ from Phantom of the Opera, ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables, ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, ‘Back to Before’from Ragtime, ‘If I Loved You’ from Carousel and ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen. In gleaming orchestral style the ASO will bring you some of the most exciting music ever written for the Great White Way, under the sparkling direction of Guy Noble. Wednesday 1 December, Adelaide Showground.

Guy is looking forward to conducting A Night on Broadway, “Broadway music just wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s like taking a ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet through a world of high emotion. Most shows have very small orchestras made up of keyboards, but to hear the big songs with the full power of the Adelaide Symphony – that’s a whole new world,” Guy said.

Classic rock enthusiasts won’t be disappointed in a rock orchestral makeover. The Angels and ASO are set to rock the Royal Adelaide Showground with symphonic spectacular Symphony of Angels. Conducted by Rob John, ASO will be joined on stage by Brewster brothers John and Rick, Nick Norton and Sam Brewster, and the incomparable and charismatic lead man Dave Gleeson.

Featuring 75 ASO musicians on stage, and a choir, this 20-song extravaganza will take you through The Angels’ greatest works: Take A Long Line, Marseilles, After the Rain, Be with You and Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, to name a few. Don’t miss this unique rock-meets-symphony spectacle with the world-class Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Aussie rock legends The Angels. Friday 3 December, Adelaide Showground.

John and Rick Brewster have a long and rich history with the orchestra – their grandfather was one of the founders of Adelaide’s first symphony orchestra, and a player with the ASO when it was formed in 1936. John says, “The last time we played with the orchestra it was one of the absolute highlights of my musical career and life itself. Adelaide will always be a special place for us as the birthplace for the band, and we can’t wait to again play with one of the best orchestras in the country, the ASO.”

“The ASO knows no bounds these days and in Symphony of Angels they joined with one of Adelaide’s greatest popular music creations in a supercharged super-fun night of classic rock. The Angels had the full house shouting and screaming within seconds, and sure enough they pumped out a veritable roll-call of hits.” The Advertiser, 2018.

A fantastical journey from icy polar seas to pulsating coral reefs, from the luminous deep sea to enormous kelp forests: immerse yourself with Blue Planet II – Live in Concert, a simply awe-inspiring and epic experience that you will never forget.

Following the incredible success of the BAFTA award-winning BBC One television series Blue Planet II, presented by Sir David Attenborough, BBC Studios are proud to present Blue Planet II Live in Concert, bringing the wonders and mysteries of the planet’s oceans and wildlife to the stage. Featuring film sequences projected on a state-of-the-art HD LED screen, this will be an unforgettable evening under the stars as the ASO performs the music of Hans Zimmer on the final evening of the Festival of Orchestra, with maestro Vanessa Scammell conducting. Saturday 4 December, Adelaide Showground.

_____________ a space for MUSIC

Two Symphony Series concerts: We are excited to be back performing in one of Australia’s most beautiful spaces for music in the Adelaide Town Hall with Symphony Series 4, led by Australian-born Simone Young, internationally recognised as one of the leading conductors of her generation. The ASO can’t wait to welcome her back to the podium.

For the first time in 18 months our pre-concert talks Classical Conversations will return prior to each Symphony Series Concert.

Symphony Series 4 – Simone Young conducts Tchaikovsky, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 August, Adelaide Town Hall

Symphony Series 5 – Dreams and Passions, Thursday 7 & Friday 8 October, Adelaide Town Hall

The inimitable maestro Guy Noble has squeezed as much love as possible into Classics Unwrapped‘s final fling of 2021 – Love and Other Catastrophes. He, along with one of Adelaide’s favourite Sopranos Jessica Dean and the ASO, brings you looks of love from the smouldering (Bizet’s fiery Carmen) to the cynical (Mozart’s comedy of duplicitous lovers, Così fan tutte). Wednesday 4 August, Adelaide Town Hall.

In association with Illuminate Adelaide, 21 years after its release, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi have teamed up with ASO and conductor Nicholas Buc to bring The Avalanches’ seminal debut album Since I Left You to life. Featuring live orchestral arrangements of iconic tracks like Frontier PsychiatristSince I Left You and Electricity, it’s a celebration of life, love and music. Friday 30July, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

ASO Associate Concertmaster, Cameron Hill is one happy Avalanche fan he says,  “I became a fan of The Avalanches when they released Since I Left You in 2000, so to be able to perform the live world premiere of this album *with them* is insane!

The album contains thousands of samples – everything from disco, R&B, spoken word records, mariachi bands, and small vocal samples, all spliced together to create a completely unique soundscape. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever heard. And it can be hilarious (record scratches standing in for parrots, manic horses, golf instructionals). 

This is absolutely a concert that many open-minded classical music lovers can enjoy. It is so jam-packed with different styles and influences, and often features lush strings and booming brass. I love doing these kinds of gigs because they can be so freeing. And this is just the epitome of cool!”

ASO presents the spectacular, climactic sixth episode of the original Star Wars saga, Return of the Jedi, in concert with Oscar-winning composer John Williams’ music performed live to the film on a giant HD screen, led by conductor Nicholas Buc. Experience the scope and grandeur of the film as the orchestra brings it to life at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena, Saturday 21 August,

The season concludes with Nativity, a World Première and ASO commission by composer and conductor Richard Mills, in which he offers a rich, moving celebration of sacredness. Performed by the ASO, together with vocal soloists and some of Adelaide’s finest choirs, Nativity features texts assembled from the Christmas liturgy, Israeli and Palestinian poets and First Nations voices, while Mills weaves traditional Christmas carols in and around his musical tapestry. Thursday 9 & Friday 10 December, Adelaide Town Hall.

_____________ a space for CONNECTION

Discover lesser known works by Classical period composers you know and love or enjoy favourite masterpieces in the Matinee Series, which lets you hear ASO musicians up close with three performances in beautiful Elder Hall.

Matinee Series 4 – Immortal Serenade sees the ASO’s own Principal Trombone Colin Prichard take centre stage in one of the first virtuoso works for solo trombone, by none other than Mozart’s father Leopold, under former ASO Chief Conductor Nicholas Braithwaite. Wednesday 22 September, Elder Hall.

_____________ a space for INCLUSION

ASO continues our journey and representation of female composers in every Symphony Series concert. The second half of the season puts the spotlight on one of Australia’s most exciting composers. Mary Finsterer’s new work features in Symphony Series 4 Simone Young conducts Tchaikovsky; it makes a fine addition to the growing body of work by women composers being presented by the ASO. Thursday 12 & Friday 13 August, Adelaide Town Hall.

In Symphony Series 5 Dreams and Passion, the concert opens with a powerful exploration of the myths and legends surrounding the most magnetic of all naturally occurring minerals found on earth. Emily Howard’s contemporary orchestral classic Magnetite receives its Australian première under Mark Wigglesworth’s direction. Thursday 7 & Friday 8 October, Adelaide Town Hall.

The Miriam Hyde Circle is committed to greater representation of female composers – past, present and future – on the stage. The ASO recognises the importance of female composers. The Circle is part of the ASO’s inclusive cultural agenda and will celebrate the significant contributions made by women in music while supporting the future of Australian and international female composers.

_____________ a space for WELLBEING

Music can refresh the human spirit in a uniquely powerful way. ASO’s Meditation Series 3 will help you find contemplation, and will leave you refreshed in mind, body and spirit. Create time in your daily life with the ASO for stillness, meditation and reflection in this powerful concert Light and Shade. Friday 24 & Saturday 25 September, Grainger Studio.

_____________ a space for LEARNING

Whether you are a student or a teacher, a toddler or a retiree, in pre-school or a postgraduate, ASO presents performances and workshops across South Australia.

At the heart of our learning program is our annual Festival of Learning with internationally acclaimed educator and ASO Creative Partner, Paul Rissmann. 

Participation in music is at the heart of our learning program, and Festival of Learning incorporates interactive concerts with a focus on inclusivity and participation for students of all ages and abilities, with professional development resources for teachers.

This year, Festival of Learning offers more opportunities than ever for students outside the CBD to take part, with concerts in Noarlunga, Gawler and Adelaide city centre, as well as a streamed-online concert of Leon and the Place Between.

Stan & Mabel,programmed for pre-school-aged children, features Paul Rissmann’s composition Stan and Mabel based on the book by Jason Chapman.

Primary school students don’t miss out, with Leon and the Place In Between,a magical musical adventure inspired by the popular children’s book by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith and with music composed by Paul Rissmann.

Senior Secondary students are well catered for in an exciting concert, Home, where Paul Rissmann will guide students through a musical landscape that shows how composers use music to connect with place. The program features works by Elena Kats-Chernin and Piazolla, as well as the orchestra’s Acknowledgement of Country Pudnanthi Padninthi.

Stephen Michael King’s award-winning story of Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat comes to life with music by Adelaide’s Rachel Bruerville in this new concert for families. Join Milli as Jack and the Dancing Cat waltz into her life and set free her creative talents. Saturday 23 October, Grainger Studio.

Elizabeth McCall, Community Projects Manager on 8233 6248/

_____________ a space for COMMUNITY

Our free Community Centre Concerts allow us to bring music to a broad range of audiences across metropolitan Adelaide. The ASO will be performing in community centres across metropolitan Adelaide in October.

Audiences love seeing the orchestra perform in their local communities. Patron Hugh Macindoe said

“The whole concert made us feel that the world is a better place because of such music making. A sheer delight.”

ASO is creative, collaborative and inclusive. Floods of Fire is an artist-led community-building project drawing on the cultural heritage of musicians, composers and artists from a wide spectrum of communities living in South Australia. It involves a range of artists creating new work for performance in 2022.

Thematically, Floods of Fire will focus on our environment and the impacts of climate change, stemming from flood and fire stories associated with creation, destruction and re-creation.

ASO continues to commit to connecting with regional audiences with Elders; our Major Regional Touring Partner provides a unique opportunity for South Australians of all ages – from primary school students to older people – to engage with music and experience orchestral works that they may never have heard performed live.

The ASO is recognised as a cultural leader and collaborator that increasingly pushes the boundaries of innovation, adventure and excellence. 2021 collaborations include Adelaide’s State Opera of SA, and Illuminate Festival in the second half of the year.


The ASO ensures more South Australians have access and engagement with the arts, with a dedicated commitment to concerts across South Australia. In addition to free public concerts, the ASO tours regionally and also includes a series of schools performances, allowing regional students and all South Australians the opportunity to be inspired by live orchestral music.

The ASO works to improve access to creative cultural experiences, leading to improved wellbeing among South Australians. In a new initiative the ASO has commissioned a Relaxed Concert series for families of children with a range of disabilities including sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders and vision and hearing impairments. Presented in partnership with the City of Adelaide and with support from Beyond Bank, the ASO has collaborated with Can:Do4Kids, Access2Arts and Tutti Arts to design and implement the concert series.

If you’re a full-time student (aged 15+) you can purchase a Live Pass student membership for just $50, giving access to FREE rush tickets* to Symphony Series, Classics Unwrapped and Festival of Orchestra concerts, along with a host of other benefits. * See for full terms and conditions.

Through music, ASO continues to play a leading role in nurturing the cultural life of our vibrant state, nourishes the souls of South Australians, and leads the charge to make Adelaide UNESCO City of Music a global capital for music.

To access a copy of the 2021 Season, visit

Monday 31 May subscriptions open. Single tickets on sale Monday 14 June.

Subscriber Lounge

Visit our subscriber lounge at Grainger Studio, 91 Hindley Street. Drop in and relax over a cup of tea or coffee and receive personalised assistance in creating your unique subscription package tailored to your own specific needs. Lounge is open from Monday 31 May, 10am–4.30pm Monday – Friday.

2021 July – December Soloists & Special Guests

Adelaide Chamber Singers  |  The Angels  |  The Avalanches  |  DJ Groove Terminator  |  DJ John Course  |  Elder Conservatorium Chorale  |  Graduate Singers  |  Ministry of Sound  |  Young Adelaide Voices  |  Stefan Cassomenos Piano  |  Jessica Dean Soprano  |  Samuel Dundas Baritone  |  Desiree Frahn Soprano  |  Andrew Goodwin Tenor  | Suzanne Handel Harp  |  Elizabeth Layton Violin  |  Amy Lehpamer Soprano  |  Eleanor Lyons Soprano  |  Colin Prichard Trombone  |  Joshua Rowe Baritone  |  Konstantin Shamray Piano

2021 July – December Conductors, Curators and Presenters

Nicholas Buc  |  Martin Butler  |  Nicholas Braithwaite  |  Luke Dollman  |  Susan Ferguson  |  Rob John  |  Rainer Jozeps  |  Richard Mills  |  Guy Noble  |  Paul Rissmann  |  Fabian Russell  |  Vanessa Scammell  |  Mark Wigglesworth  |  Simone Young

Composers, past and present

Bernstein  |  Bizet  |  Orff  |  Delius  |  Dvořák  |  Elgar  |  Mary Finsterer New Work  |  Gershwin  |  Haydn  |  Holst  |  Emily Howard Australian Première  |  Humperdinck  |  Jakub Jankowski World Première  |  Khachaturian  |  Anderson-Lopez and Lopez  |  Richard Mills World Première, ASO Commission  |  Leopold Mozart  |  Mozart  |  Ntsele  Arvo Pärt  |  Prokofiev  |  Rachmaninov  |  Ravel  |  Rimsky-Korsakov |  Rodgers and Hammerstein  |  Schönberg  |  Sibelius  |  Stravinsky  |  Svendsen  |  Tchaikovsky  |  Wagner  |  Lloyd Weber  |  John Williams  |  Hans Zimmer

Cheree McEwin, Publicist Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
08 8233 6205 / 0416 181 679 /

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