Artistic Director’s Message



To my dear musicians, colleagues and members of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra family,

You should know that the musicians and choristers of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and I are thinking about you all every day. During these difficult times, I trust you are all well and staying healthy. These are unthinkable times for all of us in the community, and I know all of our hearts go out to the many people in our society and throughout the world who are so much less fortunate and who are enduring unbearable hardships. 

This year’s subscription series had started so brilliantly with one of our biggest concerts ever, and the feedback from our Gala opening in February was absolutely overwhelming. It is a major blow to all of us that we cannot deliver for you on months of hard work and anticipation by performing our next concerts. I trust that you have received communication about what to do if you have tickets for the cancelled performances. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Now, more than ever, music can play an important part in our lives. It is our solace, our comfort. It brings us joy and it lifts our spirits. It is our exhilarating inspiration. Music unites us and keeps us connected. And at a certain moment, we will again be together, bringing joy back into lives through the magic of music, and the thought that this will, when it’s finally safe, again come to be is what can help to sustain us all during this period.

These longs days of isolation have allowed me to reflect on the extraordinary experiences of my more than twenty years (!!!) of unforgettable concert experiences with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir, and the incredible moments that transported all of us … musicians and audience alike. We have together shared so many wonderful musical experiences, indescribable moments of inspiration and miracle, and I can never thank you enough for your terrific engagement and enthusiasm, your artistry and passion for our shared mission for our community.

Above all, I thank you for your love of music that is transmitted so eloquently and magically during our concerts. I thank our terrific directors and support staff at Council, who remain committed to our shared vision for our happier future and who make our musical mission possible: as always, our very special thanks to the exceptional Melanie Smith and Annette Brown. Thank you all for your patience and understanding. We are an orchestra, a team and indeed a family that always communicates enormous warmth and delight through music, with an honesty and integrity that enriches and enraptures our audiences. I ask you to keep faith that we will soon have the opportunity to again bring joy and happiness to our Willoughby community.

Schubert composed a song, “To Music” (An die Musik) n 1817, with text from a poem by his friend Franz von Schober, which is worthy of reflection at this time:

“To Music”

O blessed art, how often in dark hours,

When the savage ring of life tightens round me,

Have you kindled warm love in my heart,

Have transported me to a better world!

Transported to a better world

Often a sigh has escaped from your harp,

A sweet, sacred harmony of yours

Has opened up the heavens to better times for me,

O blessed art, I thank you for that!

O blessed art, I thank you!


"An die Musik"

Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden,

Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt,

Hast du mein Herz zu wärmer Lieb 'entzunden,

Hast ich in einer beßre Welt entrückt,

In einer beßre Welt entrückt!

Oft hat ein Seufzer, dein Harf 'entfloßen,

Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir,

Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschloßen,

Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir gehört,

Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir!

Music is indeed a beacon of comfort and hope during these times. It is nourishment for our souls and our spirits. In the words of Aldous Huxley, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” For our audiences in the beautiful concert hall at The Concourse, this will be our answer to the Corona Virus: we will make music with more intensity, with more beauty, with more devotion, more hope and more emotion, with more joy, and above all, with more love than ever before, so that we may again open your hearts and enrich your souls with the wonder of music.

My thoughts remain with you all. We miss you, and we all look forward to being together again in music, for what will always be outstanding concert experiences with an orchestra and community so dear to my heart.

Much love,

Dr Miller- signature

Dr Nicholas Milton AM
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director