Simon Hewett, Principal Guest Conductor

My first impressions of Canberra were formed on family holidays. My father wanted to introduce my siblings and me to the Snowy Mountains: we packed up the car and made the long journey south from Brisbane several times during my childhood. Each visit was an exploration, in the crisp air of the mountains and through the museums and galleries of the capital. I have loved Canberra and the ‘high country’ ever since.

I’m thrilled to join the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in 2021 as Principal Guest Conductor, fittingly for a concert season themed around journeys. I look forward to presenting such masterpieces as Stravinsky’s Firebird and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet on the CSO mainstage. Both works were written for the ballet, an art form that powerfully expresses our deepest emotions through music and movement, among them longing, desire and transformation. I vividly recall conducting Romeo and Juliet for the Paris Opera Ballet in 2016 and I hope to bring the same emotional intensity to my performance with the CSO.

Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite will be another highlight, the opening work in our final mainstage concert. It perfectly demonstrates Ravel’s genius: refined yet childlike, elegance tinged with melancholy. This program also features Elena Kats-Chernin’s flute concerto, inspired in part by her childhood in Tashkent. Her music often conjures powerful visual and emotional associations – I look forward to performing this colourful work for the first time with guest soloist Sally Walker, for whom the piece was originally written.

Simon Hewett
Principal Guest Conductor

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