Australian World Orchestra: Turangalîla – Symphonie

AWO Simone Young AM conducts Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-SymphonieSimone Young AM will bring together Australia’s finest musicians from the international stage and the finest pre-professional musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) for one spectacular performance of Olivier Messiaen’s orchestral masterpiece Turangalîla-Symphonie at Hamer Hall on Saturday 29 July 2017.

The two elite groups come together to collaborate on Messiaen’s 10-movement Turangalîla–Symphonie, an epic ‘love song’ that is both a mammoth symphony, demanding the full commitment of over one hundred musicians, and a virtuosic piano concerto, performed by Timothy Young.

Considered one of the most important pieces of the century, Turangalîla–Symphonie is scored for a huge orchestra with multiple percussionists, brass, winds, and the electronic ondes Martenot – an instrument familiar to fans of 1950s science fiction soundtracks – performed by Jacob Abela.

Written between 1946 to 1948 on a commission by Serge Koussevitzky for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Turangalîla–Symphonie received its premiere in Boston on 2 December 1949, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. The commission did not specify the duration, orchestral requirements or style of the piece, leaving the decisions to the composer. Koussevitzky was billed to conduct the premiere, but fell ill, with the task falling to a young Bernstein.

Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist, and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex; harmonically and melodically he employs a system he called modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from the systems of material generated by his early compositions and improvisations. He wrote music for chamber ensembles and orchestra, as well as for solo organ and piano, and also experimented with the use of novel electronic instruments developed in Europe during his lifetime.

Internationally recognised as one of the leading conductors of her generation, Simone Young AM was Music Director of Opera Australia from 2001-2003, Chief Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1999-2002, Principal Guest Conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Lisbon, from 2005–2012, and General Manager and Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera and Music Director of the Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg from 2005-2015.

Ms Young regularly conducts at the world’s leading opera houses including the Vienna Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper, Zürich Opera House, Semperoper Dresden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opéra National de Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera New York, Los Angeles Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

Since its inaugural concert series in 2011, the Australian World Orchestra has established itself as one of the most exciting orchestral initiatives in Australia’s cultural history, dazzling audiences in Australia and overseas, bringing together the cream of Australia’s national and international musicians.

The 2017 ensemble includes 48 Australian musicians from the world’s leading orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, Chicago and London Symphony Orchestras, Gewandhaus, and the Australian state-based orchestras, together with 56 musicians from ANAM.

Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Saturday 29 July 2017 – 8.00pm

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Simone Young AM conducts Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalîla-Symphonie (supplied)