Kochi: The city will witness a unique musical extravaganza soon; it will host the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) in a first-of-its-kind event in Kerala. The programme, to be held at Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty on September 25, will be led by Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Alexander Briger AO. While this is Kerala’s first-ever tryst with a western symphony orchestra, the band has previously performed at Chennai and Mumbai.
At the press meet held on June 27 at Grand Hyatt Kochi Bolgatty, Susan Grace, Australian Consulate- General to India (Chennai) said that the AWO team comprising 52 members will be performing at Chennai, Kerala and Mumbai. She also said that Australia will be part of the Kochi Biennale this year.
The programme, which will include the operatic and symphonic works by Mozart, Bizet and Beethoven, will be performed by 52 of Australia’s finest musicians from the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestras, the Antwerp and London Symphony Orchestras, and the Australian state orchestras.
A special highlight will be a solo performance by the outstanding violinist Daniel Dodds (Artistic Director of Festival Strings Lucerne) of the virtuosic Rondo Capriccioso by Saint-Saens on his 1717 Stradivarius violin. AWO said that it is also delighted to announce mezzo-soprano Caroline Meng as guest soloist in Kochi and Mumbai where she will perform three famous arias from Bizet’s opera, Carmen.
Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, launched with the orchestra’s tour with Maestro Zubin Mehta in 2015 to organise workshops and outreach music education programmes in Mumbai, will also be part of the concert. This year’s education programme will extend to the Centre for Autism India in Kerala, where the AWO education team will travel to Thiruvalla to conduct workshops for the children and their teachers. The AWO team made a special mention of Jacob Cherian, Director, Ausker Pacific Pty. Ltd. for connecting them with the Centre for Autism India.
The AWO Academy provides an early career professional Australian musician the opportunity to tour with the AWO and work side-by-side with world-class musicians from the AWO. The Academy player for the tour is violinist Sagar Nagaraj, formerly of the Sydney Youth Orchestra and now with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra.
The extraordinary undertaking of this tour continues to deepen the bilateral ties between India and Australia in the cultural sphere and build on the people-to-people links that are vital to promoting mutual understanding and respect between the two countries. ‘Australia Fest’ celebrates and showcases the focus by Australia on India following the visit of Prime Minister Turnbull to India last year.
Since its inaugural concert series in 2011, the AWO has established itself as arguably the most exciting orchestral initiative in Australia’s cultural history performing to over 42,000 music lovers. The AWO brings together the elite national and international musicians to present unrivalled performances of music virtuosity.