What’s On: Ode to Joy (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)

Chief Conductor Umberto Clerici conducts Queensland Symphony Orchestra, photographed by Peter Wallis

Ode to Joy

17 – 19 February 2023

QPAC Concert Hall, South Bank

Queensland Symphony Orchestra will open their 2023 season, lead by Chief Conductor Umberto Clerici, with the Maestro concert Ode to Joy.

In Ode to Joy, QSO will be joined by internationally acclaimed didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret, along with soprano Eleanor Lyons, mezzo soprano Deborah Humble, tenor Andrew Goodwin, baritone Michael Honeyman and the Brisbane Chamber Choir to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (Choral) and Sculthorpe’s celebrated Earth Cry. Barton and Serret will also perform, for the first time in the Concert Hall, their collaboration Kalkani, described as “a message of peace and love carried by the eagle spirit”.

This first Maestro concert of 2023 “features the most important symphony in the history of music in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony,” said Maestro Clerici. “It celebrates the equality of all humankind. It is a universal celebration of love for humanity, and the apex of the classical period.” Beethoven had been fascinated by Friedrich Schiller’s poem ‘Ode to Joy’ for 20 years, and Symphony No. 9 is Beethoven’s last finished symphony. By the time that it premiered in May 7 1824, Beethoven was profoundly deaf.

Clerici added that composer Peter Sculthorpe was the ‘Australian Beethoven’, the founding father of Australian classical music. Sculthorpe added a didgeridoo to his famed Earth Cry specifically for William Barton, 16 years after he originally composed the piece.

“When I first heard William playing Earth Cry, it was summoning up the whole landscape. It was a revelation,” said Clerici. “This version was premiered with William and our QSO in 2002, and it will be a privilege to perform it live again. My theme for 2023 is humanity, for after the past few challenging years I felt we needed music that celebrates sociality, friendship, and community.”

For ticketing and further information, visit the QSO website

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