Media Releases

20 January 2020

Gee whizz! Willoughby Symphony Season to open with USA themed GALA

Saturday 15, 7pm & Sunday 16 February, 2pm
The Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood

Don’t wait for the fourth of July! Start the year with a bang with Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Dr Nicholas Milton AM and brilliant soloists from Pacific Opera in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s thrilling GALA, kicking off the 2020 season with a celebration of music from the USA. 

Internationally renowned, Dr Nicholas Milton was the first Australian conductor to be nominated for a Grammy award, making him superbly qualified to take you on this unique musical excursion.

Nothing shouts USA like the sound of John Philip Sousa – dubbed ‘the March King’ – whose rousing tunes will give the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra brass section a workout and have the audience marching in the aisles. 

Experience the glittering wit of Leonard Bernstein in selections from his effervescent Candide, before music from West Side Story plunges you into the action, romance, tragedy – and hot-blooded Latin rhythms – of one of the greatest musicals ever written.

Pacific Opera alumni Sophie Salvenasi, who starred as Maria in the recent Opera Australia production of West Side Story, returns to The Concourse to reprieve her role, performing A Boy Like That.

The Bernstein bonanza continues with the irreverent Slava! A Political Overture for Orchestra written for the inaugural concerts of Mstislav Rostropovich’s first season with the US National Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will also feature to the magnificent Willoughby Symphony Choir under the direction of Chorus Master Peter Ellis performing the Gospel Down to River to Pray.

GALA will be a wonderful tribute to the glorious songs of the American Musical tradition. Stellar vocal soloists from Pacific Opera will sing selections from OklahomaCarouselPorgy and BessOn the Town and The Sound of Music.

The concert will open Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 subscription series Exhilarating Inspiration, a six concert program, plus three special concerts feature stunning soloists performing both new and well established pieces. 

Every year the concert sells out, so don’t miss the opportunity to experience the glitz and glamour of this exciting gala event. Purchase your tickets now at 1300 795 012 or visit

Media Contact:
Julia Phipps
Media & Marketing Team Leader
Phone: 9777 7896

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or