Founded in 1932 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra has evolved into one of the world’s finest orchestras. Resident at the Sydney Opera House as well as performing throughout Sydney and NSW, the SSO gives more than a hundred performances each year and its international tours have earned it worldwide recognition for artistic excellence.
The orchestra’s first Chief Conductor was Sir Eugene Goossens, appointed in 1947; he was followed by Nicolai Malko, Dean Dixon, Moshe Atzmon, Willem van Otterloo, Louis Frémaux, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zdenĕk Mácal, Stuart Challender, Edo de Waart and Gianluigi Gelmetti. Vladimir Ashkenazy was Principal Conductor and Artist Advisor from 2009 to 2013 and David Robertson takes up the position of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director from 2014. The orchestra’s history also boasts collaborations with legendary figures such as George Szell, Sir Thomas Beecham, Otto Klemperer and Igor Stravinsky.
The SSO’s concerts encompass performances of masterpieces from the classical repertoire, music by some of the finest living composers and collaborations with guest artists and ensembles from all genres of music and performance. These collaborations reflect the orchestra’s versatility and diverse appeal and highlights have included concerts with The Whitlams, Dianne Reeves, George Benson, Sting and Rajaton, as well as violinist Nigel Kennedy and Japanese drumming ensemble TaikOz.
The orchestra also collaborates regularly in choral and opera projects with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Cantillation and the Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices; appears in multimedia projects for the Sydney Festival; works with video artists such as S Katy Tucker and with artistic partners such as Opera Australia and Sydney Dance Company.
The SSO’s award-winning education program is central to its commitment to the future of live symphonic music, developing audiences and engaging the participation of young people. The orchestra promotes the work of Australian composers through performances, recordings and its commissioning program.
Sydney Dance Company was commissioned by Sydney Symphony Orchestra to create a new dance work for Elektra in 2014. Bringing on board choreographer Stephanie Lake, Elektra premiered at the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House in February.