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Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – creating new work and new audiences

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) takes seriously its mission of playing music that moves people. In recent years ASO has been reaching out to its communities in new and exciting ways, including through commissioning work especially for young people and co-creating projects with artists for audiences of today and tomorrow.

Two landmark commissioning projects have resulted, both based on picture books. The Bush Concert, by Australian author Helga Visser, was brought to life by Adelaide composer Mark Ferguson. The work, premiered in Adelaide in 2015, was performed in full orchestral version by the SSO in 2017. It was translated into Mandarin last year and had its international debut when an ensemble of eight ASO musicians took part in the 34th China Harbin Summer Music Festival.

In June 2018, What do you do with an idea?, composed by London-based Paul Rissmann and based on the New York Times best-selling book of the same name by Kobi Yamada, saw its World Premiere at the ASO’s Festival of Learning. The work received rave audience and critical reviews, labelled “an uplifting exploration of creativity and imagination” by the Adelaide Advertiser in June 2018.

At the same time, co-created projects – The Petrushka Project (2016), In Flight (2017) and The Pierrot Project (2018) – have seen young music students compose new music under the guidance of educator Paul Rissmann, and then give a concert during which they sit alongside the ASO and perform their new creation.