Artistic Director’s Message



I am delighted to introduce the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2020 season, ‘Exhilarating Inspiration’. As ever, the musicians and I eagerly anticipate the transcendent moments we’ll share with you in the coming year. The

Willoughby Symphony Orchestra represents the very pinnacle of community music-making in Australia, occupying a unique place in Australia’s cultural landscape, and it is a profound honour for me to stand before such compelling artists.

The Orchestra’s season-opening Gala has become a ‘must-see’ event in the Sydney calendar. In 2020, our operatic extravaganza Stars and Stripes pays tribute to Leonard Bernstein with selections from West Side Story,

Candide, Peter Pan and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The genius of George and Ira Gershwin and other favourites of the Great American Songbook ensure that this collaboration with the shining vocal talents of Pacific Opera

will be an exceptional concert experience.

In the composer’s 250th anniversary year, The Concourse stage will explode with the energy of Beethoven’s immortal Fifth Symphony and you’ll be amazed by the intricate interplay of solo instruments in the master’s unique

Triple Concerto. Tchaikovsky’s powerful Fifth Symphony invariably transfixes audiences with its incredibly personal message of redemption, and we will share moments of incomparable beauty as we delve into the genius of

Brahms, Debussy, Dvořák, Mendelssohn and Sibelius.

One of Australia’s most compelling composers will be our 2020 composer-in-residence: Alice Chance writes music of spectacular originality, portraying a myriad of colours and textures. Her ravishing choral music features

alongside Arvo Pärt’s inspiring Te Deum in a performance in which our extraordinary Willoughby Symphony Choir will shine with its usual luminous intensity.

A dazzling line-up of brilliant instrumentalists joins us, including our featured artist for 2020, superstar clarinettist Oliver Shermacher, whom I first met when I conducted his unforgettable concerto performance at the Sydney Opera

House as part of the Young Performers Awards. Our featured artist and our composer-in-residence team up for the world premiere performance of Alice’s new concerto, written especially for Oliver.

Every year, our Last Night of the Proms delivers colossal pageantry and unbridled delight; if you’re lucky enough to secure tickets, the 2020 edition – with soloists and a massed community choir – will enthral and astound you.

The musicians and I express our special thanks to the wonderful directors and support staff at Willoughby Council, and above all to Melanie Smith and Annette Brown.

We can’t wait to welcome you to our stunning 2020 season.

Dr Miller- signature

Dr Nicholas Milton AM
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director