CSO 2022: Visionaries

Headshot of Jessica Cottis
Jessica Cottis, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director (Image: Kaupo Kikkas)

It gives me great joy to present our new season, an homage to some of the greatest musical minds: those creative visionaries who profoundly influenced the nature of their own age and beyond. The composers in our 2022 season all had (or continue to have) a capacity to both invent new possibilities and illuminate that which already exists.

This awe-inspiring spirit is captured within the very first notes you’ll hear on the mainstage: Richard Wagner’s ‘Tristan’ chord, the most influential single chord in Western classical music, saturated with anticipation and brooding suspense. Artistically, Wagner’s vision knew no bounds. His innovations made an extraordinary impact, pushing musicians to the limits of technique, and propelling music to the edges of its then known universe. 

But there were many great innovators before him; throughout the season, we will perform a remarkable range of such masterpieces, spanning from the Baroque to our present day. 

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CSO 2022: Visionaries
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With major works by CPE Bach, Handel and Beethoven, to Schubert, Mendelssohn and Brahms, and Richard Strauss, Sibelius, Debussy and Stravinsky, our 2022 season aims to inspire, rouse, enlighten and uplift. 

In 2022, we continue to develop and shape the rich canon of Australian music. We present no fewer than 20 Australian works across our season, including composers Richard Meale, Margaret Sutherland, Deborah Cheetham and Malcolm Williamson – and a bold new composition for the mainstage by Leah Curtis. We’ll premiere four new works in our Australian Series, including commissions by Christopher Sainsbury, Rhyan Clapham and Jakub Jankowski.

The wonderful CSO musicians will take centre stage across the year, with Principal Trumpet Justin Lingard leading an all-brass chamber ensemble, while our esteemed Concertmaster Kirsten Williams continues to inspire. I’m thrilled that stellar flautist Emma Sholl will collaborate with our CSO players as Artist in Focus, both on the mainstage and in a more intimate chamber setting.

I look forward to welcoming back to Canberra our Principal Guest Conductor, Simon Hewett, as well as violinist Courtenay Cleary and pianist Kristian Chong. I also extend a warm welcome to violinist Markiyan Melnychenko and the distinguished early music specialist, Benjamin Bayl, both making their CSO debuts.

I want to say a big thank you to you, our audience. We continue to be humbled and thrilled by your warmth, enthusiasm and commitment. The act of making music is a collaboration, and we can’t wait to share this extraordinary, mind-expanding music with you all.

See you there!

Jessica Cottis
Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

Portrait of the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley
Their Excellencies, General the Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Mrs Linda Hurley

The launch of a new Canberra Symphony Orchestra season is an exciting time of the year for concertgoers and always keenly anticipated. This season’s theme, ‘musical visionaries’, is sure to enthral. The season will showcase the creative voices who shaped the course of music, composers who innovated and challenged conventions.

I again congratulate the CSO on its commitment to Australian voices and stories. There are a significant number of Australian works in the program, including a number of new commissions.

In wishing all members of the CSO community every best wish for the new season, Linda and I want to thank all those who have gone out of their way to help artists and arts organisations during the pandemic. Your actions are a reflection of the power of music to unite and the generosity and support that exists within the CSO family.

His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (Retd)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Patron of the CSO

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retd), Chair of the CSO (Image: Martin Ollman)

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 season. This season we will pay tribute to visionaries of music, composers whose boldness and creative courage indelibly changed the course of music history.

I would like to acknowledge the forward thinkers at the helm of our orchestra: Jessica Cottis, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director; Rachel Thomas, CEO; and Kirsten Williams, Concertmaster. I have great optimism for the coming season under the leadership of this dedicated team.

The generosity of our community of subscribers, donors and advocates allows us to look beyond the immediate challenges of the pandemic and continue to shape a rich creative future for the Canberra region. Thank you for your valuable, ongoing support.

I encourage you to join us for what promises to be an exciting and uplifting year of music and I look forward to seeing you at our concerts.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retd)
Chair of the CSO

Headshot of Rachel Thomas
Rachel Thomas, CSO CEO (Image: Martin Ollman)

I’ve said it before: the unveiling of a CSO season is one of my favourite times of the year. So much goes on behind the scenes to produce a concert season; it’s a joy to see those hours come to fruition and to eagerly anticipate the realisation of that vision onstage.

It’s equally joyous to witness that creative vibrancy permeate the wider community through a growing number of inventive programs and meaningful collaborations. I want to thank our diverse network of artistic, corporate and community partners for embracing the orchestra and the ways in which our art form can support health and wellbeing, innovation and connection.

I also gratefully acknowledge the ACT and Australian governments for their vital, ongoing support, through artsACT and the Australia Council for the Arts.

The CSO’s achievements and the things it continues to strive for are a credit to our dedicated musicians and staff. To them, always, my highest congratulations.

Rachel Thomas
Chief Executive Officer

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