My experience in Citizens’ Orchestra

9 Jan 2024
  • Community
by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
My experience in Citizens’ Orchestra

Citizens’ Orchestra returns in 2024 bigger and better after its inaugural performance at Adelaide Festival last year! Ahead of the next performance, we spoke with Amanda Muller, who was a participant in the Citizens’ Orchestra in 2023 as a singer and ukulele player to share her unique experience!

The ASO’s community-building project Floods of Fire featured prominently in the 2023 Adelaide Festival, with the inaugural performance by our Citizens’ Orchestra kicking off the Festival’s opening night concert in Elder Park. The 130-strong Citizens’ Orchestra united ASO musicians, Quirkestra from Tutti Arts, Northern Sound System, the Country Fire Service, local South Australian musicians, amateur musicians, and community members with no previous musical experience. Artistic director Airan Berg and musical directors Tim Steiner and Ricardo Baptista brought these various groups together over a series of workshops, using a unique collaborative process to create musical works exploring the South Australian experience and the land on which we live. The resulting works conveyed messages of celebration, protest, and hope for the future.

What motivated you to be part of the Citizens’ Orchestra?

I learned about the project through my ukulele group – we both play and sing. I thought it was a great idea that involved the whole community, regardless of musical experience or type of instrument played. I liked the idea of us all coming together and performing, and I was shocked to learn we were an opening act! It showed how much what we were doing was valued.

How would you describe the creative process?

The songs were created collaboratively, using an organic process. Tim and Ricardo asked us questions about the essence of the South Australian landscape, key ideas, and people’s experiences. Tim and Ricardo had a creative direction, but they drew out the details from participants, engaged with us about what was working best, and we workshopped the pieces together. It was great to work with people of all abilities, and it was a very democratic process. We fully participated in colouring the final picture.

How was the performance experience?

Tim and Ricardo emphasised the value of performance over perfection, and this was a huge relief! On the night it was clear that we succeeded in this, with the audience being so engaged and participating with joy. I would recommend people get involved in future events like this.

The Citizens’ Orchestra returns next month, and anyone is welcome to take part! Read more here or register to take part. Participation is free, and no experience is required. The ASO strives to be an orchestra for the whole community, and through this project we offer everyone the chance to make music with us.

For more information or to register for the 2024 Citizens’ Orchestra, visit

Led by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, presented in collaboration with Adelaide Festival, The University of Adelaide, and over 100 South Australian partner organisations.

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