It was very touching to receive such an emotional response from the audience. It makes you realise that live music really matters to people!
On 25-26 November 2020, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra returned to the Llewellyn Hall stage for the first time in over eight months. Despite the audience cap and socially distanced seating, there was a tangible sense of coming together and connection in the Hall for players and patrons alike.
The orchestra welcomed incoming Principal Guest Conductor Simon Hewett to the podium, who travelled from Brisbane to make his CSO debut. Simon spoke passionately about the repertoire, particularly the meditative character of Matthew Hindson’s The stars above us all – particularly resonant in the wake of 2020’s challenges – and the exuberant joy of Beethoven’s seventh symphony.
Acclaimed cellist Julian Smiles joined the CSO onstage to round out the program with Tchaikovsky’s cheeky Rococo variations. An alumni of the Canberra School of Music, Julian was the first CSO Artist in Focus in 2018.
Playing once more with the CSO on the Llewellyn Hall stage was thrilling, terrifying and exhilarating. But it was so satisfying to be surrounded by that wonderful sound again.
CityNews: How good it was to hear live music again
“The audience was restricted to 50 per cent capacity, spaced at one-seat intervals, and the orchestra numbered only 42, but how good it was to hear live music again and, even better, how good to hear live music played so very well.”
The Canberra Times: An emotional return to our orchestra’s spiritual home
“Music helps us make sense of the world, and I have never been happier to hear Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony than I was in Thursday night’s concert. The well-loved themes and the rhythmic drive of the work embodied the irreplaceable musical collaboration of live performance.”