Established in 1906, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is an arts leader and Australia’s oldest professional orchestra. Engaging over 2.5 million people each year, the MSO reaches a variety of audiences through live performances, recordings, TV and radio broadcasts and live streaming. As a truly global orchestra, the MSO collaborates with guest artists and arts organisations from across the world. Its international audiences include China, where MSO performed in 2016 and Europe where the MSO toured in 2014.
The MSO performs a variety of concerts ranging from core classical performances at its home, Hamer Hall at Arts Centre Melbourne, to its annual free concerts at Melbourne’s largest outdoor venue, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. The MSO also delivers innovative and engaging programs to audiences of all ages through its Education and Outreach initiatives.
Sir Andrew Davis gave his inaugural concerts as the MSO’s Chief Conductor in 2013, having made his debut with the Orchestra in 2009. Highlights of his tenure have included collaborations with artists such as Bryn Terfel, Emanuel Ax, Truls Mork and Renee Fleming, and the Orchestra’s European Tour in 2014 which included appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Copenhagen’s Tivoli Concert Hall. Further current and future highlights with Sir Andrew Davis include a complete cycle of the Mahler symphonies. Sir Andrew will maintain the role of Chief Conductor until the end of 2019.
The MSO also works with Associate Conductor Benjamin Northey and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus, as well as with such eminent recent guest conductors as Thomas Ades, John Adams, Tan Dun, Charles Dutoit, Jakub Hrůša, Mark Wigglesworth, Markus Stenz and Simone Young. It has also collaborated with non-classical musicians including Burt Bacharach, Nick Cave, Sting, Tim Minchin, Ben Folds, DJ Jeff Mills and Flight Facilities.
The MSO reaches a wider audience through regular radio broadcasts, recordings and CD releases, including a Strauss cycle on ABC Classics which includes Four Last Songs, Don Juan and Also sprach Zarathustra, as well as Ein Heldenleben and Four Symphonic Interludes from Intermezzo, both led by Sir Andrew Davis. On the Chandos label the MSO has recently released Berlioz’ Harold en Italie with James Ehnes and music by Charles Ives which includes Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, as well as a range of orchestral works including Three Places in New England, again led by Sir Andrew Davis.
For more information on the Australian Orchestras, please see the Orchestral Fact Sheet.