Your guide to seeing the MSO
What is the MSO playing?
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is known for its versatility, reaching far beyond the customary classical music audience.
"People tend to have this idea of classical music as orchestras playing Beethoven or Mozart, but in reality classical music is everywhere, whether we realise it or not! No matter your taste, you will find music you know and love," said the MSO's Director of Programming John Nolan.
Along with works from classic composers, the MSO has collaborated with contemporary musicians like Elton John, Tina Arena, Kate Miller-Heidke, Nick Cave, Dannii Minogue and Birds of Tokyo. MSO also screens popular movies like Toy Story, Star Wars, The Godfather and Harry Potter, playing their iconic soundtracks live.
Over the summer, the MSO also performs free concerts at the Sidney Myer Musical Bowl. One of 2022's concerts was 'An Evening with John Williams', celebrating the brilliant composer's 90th birthday with a selection of his greatest hits from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, and more. These concerts get packed out quickly, so make sure to turn up early to secure your spot.
The MSO 2022 season includes Stravinsky’s ballets, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and the popular Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows In Concert. The MSO’s new season drops on 24 August 2022.
Who conducts and plays in the MSO?
Most orchestras consist of 75-90 permanent musicians, with many other musicians joining the MSO on a regular basis depending on the repertoire. Since every composition requires different types and numbers of instruments, each performance will follow suit. Some of Mozart and Bach’s pieces only use 8-10 players, while some Mahler symphonies require 100+ players. The MSO also includes its own 120-voice symphony choir, the MSO Chorus.
In 2022, the MSO introduced a new Chief Conductor, Jaime Martín. “When I was eight years old, I had my first opportunity to listen to a symphony orchestra in Santander, my hometown in the north of Spain,” said Martín in his welcome. “The lights went down, the musicians took to the stage, and after a moment of silence, the music started. The first sound, the surprise, the wonder and the excitement that I felt then, is what I would like to share with you in every concert [at the MSO].”