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Versatile And Mobile: Hallmarks Of Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s success

MONA/Rémi Chauvin

Orchestras like to be known and loved by the communities they serve. Happily, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra is held dear by the people of Tasmania. Statewide surveys routinely demonstrate that nearly 90% of Tasmanians take pride in their symphony orchestra.

While not necessarily large by Australian standards, the state of Tasmania nevertheless poses significant geographical challenges to an orchestra keen to make a statewide imprint. The 47-piece TSO offers an annual concert season in the capital city of Hobart (featuring a standard repertoire of symphonies, concertos and the like), a more compact season in the smaller city of Launceston in the north of the state, and one-off concerts dotted around Tasmania.

In February this year, a chamber orchestra drawn from the TSO performed in the small communities of Longley (pop.234) and Triabunna (pop.875). Part of the TSO’s Live Sessions series of concerts – an innovation born in 2016 whereby an eclectic repertoire (Baroque to bluegrass) is played in non-traditional venues such as pubs, barns and sheds – the concerts reached capacity and wildly appreciative audiences. The Longley concert (which attracted an audience more than twice the size of the entire village!) was staged in a hotel beer garden; the Triabunna concert in a cavernous, decommissioned woodchip mill. Data collected from both concerts indicates that more than 60% of the audience was new to the TSO.

The orchestra went ‘on the road’ in March with performances of Peter and the Wolf in Launceston, Scottsdale (pop.2,373) and Franklin (pop.373). Once again, audiences turned out in force. The Peter and the Wolf concerts in Launceston and Scottsdale formed part of this year’s Ten Days on the Island festival. Ever versatile, the TSO welcomes opportunities to collaborate with organisations such as Ten Days. In January, the TSO performed in this year’s Mona Foma festival in Launceston (photo above), cementing still further the orchestra’s ongoing association with the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), in Hobart.

For more information, visit tso.com.au