Melbourne Symphony Orchestra celebrates Women in Music

AAR-MSO-First-Nations-Creative-Chair-Deborah-Cheetham-Fraillon-AOAmerican superstar violinist Esther Yoo, Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang, Yorta Yorta soprano, composer and Artistic Director of Short Black Opera, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, Australian composers Elena Kats-Chernin and Mary Finsterer and Oz music legend Kate Ceberano, are just a few of the many talented female composers, conductors and musicians and artists that will take centre stage with the MSO over the coming months.

Throughout September and October, the MSO will Celebrate Women in Music with the world premieres of three new mainstage works by Australian female composers: 2023 MSO Composer in Residence Mary Finsterer; Cybec Young Composer in Residence, Melissa Douglas; and contemporary Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin.

In September,Mary Finsterercurates the Metropolis New Music Program Stabat Mater– a program of sacred works spanning more than eight hundred years. Performed within the tradition and space of the magnificent St Patrick’s Cathedral, the program features the world premiere of Finsterer’s latest MSO commission, Stabat Mater.

September also marks the return of international superstar and Principal Guest Conductor Xian Zhang, who will conduct the MSO in a series of concerts including Schumann and Mendelssohn: Abundant Spring featuring American superstar violinist Esther Yoo, making her MSO debut and the world premiere of Awaken – an MSO Commission by Cybec Young Composer in Residence Melissa Douglas. 

Zhang will also conduct Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Smetana featuring South Korean pianist Joyce Yang.

The month wraps up with the sold-out encore of Australian music royalty, Kate Ceberano, performing her personal favourites with the MSO. 

In mid-October, MSO First Nations Creative Chair, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO will return to Hamer Hall for the encore performance of her 2019 composition Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace

At the end of the month the MSO will perform the world premiere of Elena Kats-Chernin’s Double Concerto for violin and cello, commissioned by the Weis Family in memory of Sara Weis. Part of Sibelius and Prokofiev: Love and Resistance, led by illustrious French conductor Chloé van Soeterstède also making her MSO debut, the concerto features the MSO’s Rachael Tobin on cello.

The French connection continues with the MSO Chamber performing French Delights. The musicians explore the evolution of intimate French chamber works from the baroque to the contemporary in a program curated by MSO Associate Principal Flute Wendy Clarke.

The MSO focus on women in music is a highlight of Managing Director Sophie Galaise’s many-faceted approach to leadership and support for gender equality, representation and diversity.

The first female Managing Director appointed to MSO, Galaise was recently announced as a finalist for the inaugural ARIA Executive Leader Game Changer Awarda new category in the 2023 Australian Women in Music Awards (AWMA).

The Game Changer Award recognises the exceptional leadership of an Executive leader who creates significant and positive change to bring about equality for women in the Australian music industry.

For more information about the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, visit: for details.

Image: MSO First Nations Creative Chair, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO (supplied)

Women in Music event details:

Schumann and Mendelssohn: Abundant Spring
Hamer Hall: Thursday 7 September – 7:30pm

MSO Mornings: Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto
Hamer Hall: Friday 8 September – 11:00am

Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Smetana: Homelands
Hamer Hall: Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September – 7:30pm

Rachmaninov and Smetana: Quick Fix at Half Six
Hamer Hall: Monday 18 September – 6:30pm

Stabat Mater
St Patrick’s Cathedral: Wednesday 27 September – 8:00pm

Kate Ceberano: My Life is a Symphony
Melbourne Town Hall: Thursday 28 September – 7:30pm (SOLD OUT)

Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace
Hamer Hall: Saturday 14 October – 7:30pm

Sibelius and Prokofiev: Love and Resistance
Hamer Hall: Friday 27 October – 7:30pm & Saturday 28 October – 2:00pm

French Delights MSO Chamber
Iwaki Auditorium: Sunday 29 October – 11:00am