Queensland Symphony Orchestra Season 2020


Queensland Symphony Orchestra continues its mission to be an ‘Orchestra for Everyone’ throughout its 2020 season, which features grand concertos and Grammy nominees, world premieres, the celebration of Beethoven’s birthday, and a spotlight on QSO’s own musicians.

“Queensland Symphony Orchestra is an Orchestra for Everyone, which means we want to be an orchestra for all Queenslanders. We want to offer concerts that appeal to a broad range of people that aims to introduce everyone to the magic of orchestral music. Our concerts – whether that is a Shostakovich symphony or the latest Harry Potter film with orchestra – provide immense joy to those attending,” said Chief Executive Craig Whitehead.

“There is something unique and magical about the sound of a live orchestra and our 2020 season aims to continue to provide that sense of joy, wonder, and spine tingles. Whether you come for the virtuosity of the performers, the emotional journeys that orchestral music can take us on, or just for a wonderful night out, our Orchestra For Everyone aims to have a concert for everyone in our arsenal for next year.”


2020 also marks 250 years since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, and Queensland Symphony Orchestra will join orchestras across the globe in celebrating, with a series of nine concerts and special tributes featuring the music of the man whose symphonies have been called the ‘cornerstones of Western civilisation’. Three of Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s favourite conductors will return in 2020 to take on Beethoven’s most treasured works – Australian super conductor Simone Young leads Beethoven’s majestic Choral Symphony No.9 in August; Sweden’s Daniel Blendulf conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No.5 in October; and Conductor Laureate Johannes Fritzsch leads Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in November.

Appealing to less classically-inclined audiences, two concerts will celebrate famous film scores, Reel Classics and Cinematic, as well as the next installments of the Harry Potter and Star Wars Live concert series. The youngest of classical music lovers are in for a treat with a special performance of Abbott’s The Peasant Prince, an interactive experience for the whole family based on Li Cunxin’s best-selling children’s book.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Season 2020

Daniel Blendulf with Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Blendulf with Queensland Symphony Orchestra

The Maestro Series

 1.    Power and Glory

Conducted by the UK’s Alexander Prior and featuring three leading Australian soloists, violinist Emily Sun, cellist Caleb Wong, and pianist Aura Go performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, along with Shostakovich’s acclaimed Symphony No. 5 and the world premiere of a new work by Australian composer Melody Eötvös.

2.    Musical Sorcery

Presented by much-loved conductor Benjamin Northey and featuring Principal Horn of the Berlin Philharmonic, Stefan Dohr, performing the joyous Horn Concerto No.1 by Richard Strauss. Audiences are in for a magical treat with the cheeky The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Dukas and organist Andrej Kouznetsov concludes the program with Saint-Saëns’ mighty ‘Organ’ Symphony.

3.    Mozart’s Jupiter

Australian soprano Emma Pearson returns from a 10-year stint wowing audiences in Germany to perform Britten’s gorgeous Les Illuminations, led by French conductor Alexandre Bloch. The concert also includes Mozart’s Symphony No.41, fondly known as the Jupiter Symphony. Saturday evening audiences will hear Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony and Friday morning audiences will hear the dramatic overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni.


 4.    Bolero and Beyond

Led by German conductor André de Ridder, this concert sees the return of Australia’s own saxophone superstar and two-time Grammy nominee Amy Dickson performing her own arrangement of Phillip Glass’ hypnotic Violin Concerto. Also featured is music from Porgy and Bess by Gershwin, Debussy’s La Mer and, perhaps the most famous rhythm in classical music history, Ravel’s Bolero!

5.    Beethoven and Dvořák

Inspiring Israeli violinist, Guy Braunstein, is not only the soloist for this Maestro but will also conduct it! Braunstein will perform Beethoven’s melodic Violin Concerto, followed by Dvořák’s mighty 7th Symphony – expect a spectacular finale.

6.    Don Quixote

Audience favourite Giancarlo Guerrero will lead this concert, featuring two major works for cello in Tchaikovsky’s beautiful Variations on a Rococo Theme and Don Quixote by Richard Strauss. Armenian cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan will star alongside the Orchestra’s own violist Imants Larsens in this music event which also features either Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 (evening program) or Beethoven’s Egmont Overture (morning program).


7.    Music of The Masters

Queensland Symphony Orchestra is excited to premiere a work by one of its own musicians, violist Bernard Hoey, in this concert led by Italian conductor Giordano Bellincampi. Hoey’s piece stars alongside Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4, and Sibelius’ finger-busting but evocative Violin Concerto, performed by young Australian violinist protege, Grace Clifford.

8.   Pyrotechnic Violin

The Orchestra welcomes back local violin virtuoso Ray Chen for a morning and evening of high-wire virtuosity on his original Stradivarius violin. Chen performs Saint-Saëns’ 3rd Violin Concerto, then Brazilian conductor Eduardo Strausser – described by New Revolution as ‘a real force of nature’ – leads the Orchestra into the serene and radiant world of Brahms’ Second Symphony.

9.    Beethoven 5

This concert will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s incomparable Fifth Symphony in a concert also showcasing the QPAC pipe organ in the Concert Hall. Conducted by Daniel Blendulf and featuring organist Joseph Nolan, audiences will enjoy a rendition of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in the Friday morning concert, and on Saturday night, a rare outing of Poulenc’s highly enjoyable Organ Concerto.

10.    Beethoven’s Emperor

Winding up the birthday party,  the Beethoven series concludes with his mighty ‘Emperor’ Concerto, performed by Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov. This concert also marks the return of Queensland Symphony Orchestra Conductor Laureate and former Chief Conductor, Johannes Fritzsch, who brings the 2020 Maestro Season to a close with the soaring heights of Sibelius’ Symphony No.2.

Special Events

In August, Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s 250th birthday celebration for Beethoven comes to a climax with Ode to Joy. Conducted by the incomparable Simone Young and featuring a range of soloists and a breathtaking chorus, this performance of the majestic Choral Symphony No.9 (arguably Beethoven’s greatest masterpiece) will be epic.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra 2020 Season will also feature:

  • Return of the Jedi In Concert
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ in Concert
  • Cinematic is one for the film buffs, exploring the powerful film scores that depict the heroism and heartbreak of battle.
  • The Peasant Prince will be a special family event, an interactive experience complete with storytelling and big-screen projections, based on Li Cunxin’s best-selling children’s book.

2020 also sees the return of popular concerts:

  • Opera Gala
  • The Last Night of the Proms and
  • Handel’s Messiah


Music on Sundays

Under the always-entertaining baton of Guy Noble, Season 2020’s Music on Sundays will return in 2020.

  • The Ballet Beautiful, will take audiences on a journey through the history of French ballet.
  • Happy Birthday Beethoven will feature the multi-talented Guy Braunstein as conductor and soloist in a concert that includes several highlights of Beethoven’s music, concluding with a rendition of his funniest work, his Symphony No.8.
  • Vienna and Beyond highlights music from Viennese composers as well as music from eastern European countries that influenced music written in Vienna – like a road trip around Europe without the hassle of passports! This concert is conducted by Elena Schwarz and features Queensland Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Warwick Adeney on violin.
  • Reel Classics, featuring the stirring Overture to Lawrence of Arabia, the exhilaration of the flying bikes in E.T’s Adventures on Earth, and Michael Giacchino’s lively Bond-inspired theme to The Incredibles.

Chamber Players Series

The intimate Chamber Players series gives audiences the chance to be up close and personal with the talented Orchestra musicians in their home studio. The 2020 season features five Chamber Players concerts:

  • Beethoven and Brahms
  • Beethoven, Rossini and Weber
  • Mozart and Golijov
  • Brahms, Muczynski and Martinů
  • Mozart, Strauss and Adams


Subscriptions will be available from 9am Wednesday, August 21, 2019 with a range of packages available and tickets for all individual concerts will be on sale at 9am Monday, October 28, 2019.

To purchase, visit the QSO website, telephone the Box Office direct on 07 3833 5044, buy in person at the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Box Office (114 Grey Street, South Brisbane), or post your order to Queensland Symphony Orchestra Box Office at GPO Box 9994, Brisbane Q 4001.

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