Orchestra to mark 40 years

December 1, 2021 BY

Talent: Pianist Elyane Laussade will solo at Bendigo Symphony Orchestra’s 40th anniversary concerts next month. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Bendigo Symphony Orchestra will celebrate forty years of music making at two gala concerts next month.

The community ensemble will play for the first time at Ulumbarra Theatre on 11 and 12 December, showcasing the work of world-renowned composer Mozart.

Vice-president of the BSO committee Nigel McGuckian said the orchestra had given opportunities to both members and audiences throughout its history.

“We’ve given people a chance to play in and hear a symphony orchestra in Bendigo for the last 40 years which is pretty special,” he said.

“Giving people the chance to have that as part of what their life is, is just extraordinary because playing in a symphony orchestra is such a thrill.

“We’re really fortunate to have a strong, good quality orchestra here.”

The anniversary concerts will bring together solo pianist Elyane Laussade and soprano vocalist Merlyn Quaife and feature the world premiere of local musician Cally Bartlett’s piece, Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre.

Some members have been with the orchestra for its entirety and Mr McGuckian said he joined in the early years as a flautist.

He also said his fondest memory was of playing with violin prodigy Edward Walton several years ago.

“We were performing in St Paul’s Cathedral. It was absolutely packed, and Edward was at the time 11 years old,” he said.

“He played Mendelssohn’s violin concerto and it was amazing. The audience was awestruck.”

But Mr McGuckian said celebrating the orchestra’s history was as much about looking back on the past as it was planning for the future.

“It’s also wonderful what we’re going to be able to do in the future as the city grows, the number of musicians grows and the strength of the orchestra grows,” he said.