Tag Archives: Sydney Youth Orchestra


Sydney Youth Orchestras, the state’s training ground for future professional musicians, is performing nine  concerts in all, over a weekend, in Wilsons Parking,  under the Domain – in SYO Activate

SYO’s 550 musicians, will perform in 9 concerts next weekend – Saturday 11 December and  Sunday 12 December – in Wilsons Parking, underneath the Domain. 

Why in a carpark? When the up-and-coming generation of musicians can not access  established venues, either due to cost, expense, limitations on size of the stage or lack of  availability – SYO does not let that stop them from putting on a concert (or nine) to  showcase the accumulated talents of these musicians. 

“When our young musicians have spent most of the year performing online, in isolation, in  2D in their bedrooms – we had to find a solution on how we could come together face-to face and perform. It really didn’t matter how or where – but to hear live music once again  and to see the faces light up as our musician’s performance together, is truly pure joy,” says  Mia Patoulios, CEO of Sydney Youth Orchestras. “With limited venue space in Sydney, to  accommodate our 550 musicians – all social distanced as we follow the current NSW Health  advise– we had to head underground. Thanks to Wilsons Parking and The Domain Trust – we can now ”activate” and do what we are meant to do – and that is to play music.” 

“While we are embracing our unique and non-traditional venue space, it certainly does  highlight the need and access to traditional venues for orchestras within Sydney,” says  Christopher Lawrence, SYO’s former Artistic Director and current Board member. “It is  crucial for our governments to invest in much needed infrastructure within Sydney, to  provide organisations such as Sydney Youth Orchestras with the stability and opportunity  for growth that we desperately need.” 

SYO Activate is 9 concerts over two days – with musicians ranging from 6 to 25 years of age,  playing accessible music such as Bruno Mar’s Uptown Funk to Tchaikovsky’s Fourth  Symphony. For more information and bookings- tickets are only $5- visit:


Saturday 11 December Concert Details: 

Stage 1 String Orchestras – 10:00-10:30am  

Stage 2 String Orchestras – 12:00 – 12:30pm 

Stage 3 String Orchestras – 2:00-2:30pm 

Richard Gill Chamber Orchestra – 4:00-4:30pm  

SYO Philharmonic – 7:00-7:30pm 

Sunday 12 December Concert Details: 

Symphonic Wind Orchestra – 10:30-11am 

Peter Seymour Orchestra – 1:00-1:30pm  

Western Sydney Youth Orchestra – 3:30-4pm 

The Sydney Youth Orchestra – 7:00-8:30pm 

Venue: Level 2C, Wilsons Parking, The Domain, St Marys Road, Sydney 






Production Images: Grant Leslie

This is a magnificent semi-staged production combing the forces of around 450 choristers of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, performers from Sydney’s Pacific Opera , 80 musicians from the Sydney Youth Orchestra and glittering stars from Opera Australia and musicals.It was directed by Mitchell Butel with a sure touch and with excellent phrasing ,timing and a wonderful comic touch .

Rarely performed ,the comic operetta originally premiered in 1956 and is adapted from a novella of the same name written by the Enlightenment-era philosopher Voltaire. It satirizes the predominant attitudes of Voltaire’s era , particularly those of the church and of monarchism , as well as class divisions and academe , has chocolate soldiers and question the meaning and purpose of life.

 The plot is perhaps tangled and overly rambling , possibly a little weak in construction but is still very relevant to day and the score itself is infectiously enchanting and ranges in style from tango, Broadway , Gilbert and Sullivan to high opera. Musical director and conductor Brett Weymark energetically and enthusiastically led the Orchestra and HUGE choir superbly – musically and vocally this was a stunning performance . Continue reading CANDIDE: MUSICALLY AND VOCALLY STUNNING


On April 22,  The Sydney Youth Orchestra will play their  first major concert for the year, Mahler Symphony No. 10 Adagio & Stravinsky Firebird Suite conducted by Alexander Briger AO at Verbrugghen Hall.

Heroes of the orchestral modernism of the 20th century, Mahler and Stravinsky sit side by side in a program of energy and challenge. Together these works capture the vitality of large-scale compositional development to yield a dazzling, evocative musical experience.

Young children are welcome at Sydney Youth Orchestra concerts. For all performances, children two years of age or older must have a ticket (even if the accompanying adult intends to sit the child on his/her knees).

STRAVINSKY FIREBIRD SUITE & MAHLER SYMPHONY NO. 10 from Sydney Youth Orchestra [Facebook] will play Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Sunday 22 April at 2pm.


Inset pic- Ela Ray Marstein who plays Terynka. Featured pic-
Inset pic- Ela Ray Marstein who plays Terynka. Production photography by John Kilkeary

Czech composer, musical theorist and folklorist Leos Janácek’s (1854-1928) THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN, first performed in 1924, features a huge, lush, romantic  score.

This work  tells the story of a beautiful, glorious vixen and the Forester who tries to tame and contain her.

Pacific Opera ‘s current impressive revival, performed in English, sees Michael Campbell directing with the very accomplished Alexander Briger conducting an outstanding Sydney Youth Orchestra. Continue reading THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN @ THE NEW HALL SYDNEY GRAMMAR SCHOOL DARLINGHURST

Sydney Youth Orchestra-Legends of Past @ City Recital Hall

Actor Paul-William Mawhinney performed a moving monologue by Morris Gleitzman
Actor Paul-William Mawhinney performed a moving monologue written by Morris Gleitzman

LEGENDS OF PAST from the Sydney Youth Orchestra (SYO) was a bold start to this year’s season. With later concerts this year including an opera, opera music and other highly dramatic programmes, this concert’s tribute to the ANZACS in a commemorative year was a colourful, collaborative and meaningful start to 2015.

The programme included an exciting world premiere work, ‘Cathedra’, by Andrew Howes, a Sydney-born composer aged in his early twenties. Written for large forces and containing penetrating effects, it made for a stunning opening. Its soundscape, intended to commemorate fallen soldiers at Gallipoli, fitted in well with the concert’s extra-musical agenda.

Following this work came a break from pure orchestral entertainment with a monologue by Morris Gleitzman, the Australian author of ‘Loyal Creatures’. This monologue was given a poignant performance by Australian actor Paul-William Mawhinney. His measured and genuine portrayal as the ghost of young soldier Frank alternated beautifully between rollicking anecdote and moments of choking heartbreak. It was a touching reminder of the sacrifices made during the Gallipoli and Egyptian campaigns by soldiers of the Lighthorse Brigade. Continue reading Sydney Youth Orchestra-Legends of Past @ City Recital Hall


A wonderful combination- the exubrance of youth and a great passion for playing music. This photo was taken during the Sydney Youth Orchestra’s 1981 tour of Singapore.

It was a great pleasure to attend the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Sydney Youth Orchestra (SYO), founded by the late and great Peter Seymour.

The program opened with the Greeting Prelude by Stravinsky, a most apt to the occasion. This was followed by a Hayden Sinfonia Concertante in three movements, and then the major work: Mahler’s 6th Symphony.

The Greeting prelude was brief but fun, having been originally written to celebrate the 80th birthday of the conductor of the premiere performance of The Rite of Spring.

The Sinfonia Concertante gave the orchestra a chance to show off its technical proficiency and then some. This work is written for a quarter with orchestra; the four members of the quartet being cello, violin, oboe and bassoon. All four players were outstanding, but I must confess to having a real feel for the oboe in this piece. This work is particularly suited to a lazy Sunday afternoon and was performed professionally and with expertise. I really enjoyed it.

The major work was Mahler’s Symphony No 6. This large work in four movements requires a special instrument called, appropriately, a Mahler Drum. It looks like a large tree stump and is played with a wooden mallet. The sound is a great ‘thok’ like an axe felling a large tree. The drum was specifically commissioned for this performance. Consequently, I spent much of the performance waiting for ‘the drum’!

The SYO was augmented for this performance with several alumni. To give some idea of the scale of the augmentation, I counted 10 double basses, 8 French horns, 5 percussionists and 2 harps, not forgetting the celeste!

In the program notes, they mentioned that Richard Strauss thought the work a bit ‘overscored’. I must confess to be on Strauss’s side here and often find that with Mahler.

Nevertheless, the performance was excellent, with the large sweeping themes that Mahler is expert at writing, as well as his inventive and intensive orchestration, using every instrument in the orchestra; even if only twice, as in the case of the Mahler Drum! For Mahler lovers, this would have been a wonderful afternoon.

Congratulations to the SYO on its 40th. They are a really great group with impressive discipline and great technical expertise.

The Sydney Youth Orchestra’s 40th Anniversary Celebration took place on Sunday 3rd November within the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.