Jam-packed 2023 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra program announced 


By Jemma van Zaanen

The 2023 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) program of nearly 200 events has been announced this week, released by the chief conductor Jaime Martin.

Audiences can expect to see 36 Australian works and 86 guest soloists and conductors, including 26 debut appearances, throughout the year. 

The focus of the program will be on “the majesty of nature through music”, and the celebration of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov’s 150th musical anniversary year. Audiences will also be invited to enjoy violin concertos by global-leading soloists. 

Half of the guest artists on the main stage are female and 10 out of 17 MSO commissions are composed by women, according to the MSO.

To start off the year, the MSO will present the Season Opening Gala Zenith of Life, featuring the soloist in residence Siobhan Stagg performing Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs. 

Australian MSO composer in residence Mary Finsterer will then premiere her new work Mysterium I at the gala. 

Mr Martin said he was thrilled to be able to release the 2023 program.


“Each day that I work with the MSO, I am genuinely inspired and invigorated by the passion and professionalism of the players and the organisation,” he said.


“I can’t wait to share this excitement and energy with audiences across Victoria during the magnificent 2023 season.”

The Sidney Myer Free Concert Series will return later in 2023, with Johannes Fritzsch conducting the MSO in A Tchaikovsky Spectacular. 

The Free Series will continue with the principal conductor in residence Benjamin Northey taking the lead for Mosaics, a celebration of Melbourne’s diversity which will feature Melbourne-based contemporary artists.

Mr Northey will return for Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana featuring the voices of the MSO Chorus and accompanied on piano by the winner of Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition, Hannah Shin.

Next year’s program will mark 20 years from when Mr Northey first conducted the MSO and 20 years of the artist development program with The Cybec Foundation. 

These will be celebrated when Mr Northey conducts a special performance at the Melbourne Town Hall in November 2023. There will also be special showcase at the start of the year for the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers program.

Managing director Sophie Galaise said the 20-year legacy was an inspiring success story for both.

“Next year, two wonderful concerts will celebrate the enormous legacy of a generous and progressive donor and the extraordinary career of Ben, our much-loved principal conductor in residence,” Ms Galaise said. 

The MSO will also tour across Victoria throughout 2023 and continue its work with schools, and extend its audience through “digital channels”. •

For more information: mso.com.au


Caption: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Photo: Laura Manariti

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