The Gallipoli Symphony

GallipoliA major composition by internationally acclaimed composers from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, The Gallipoli Symphony will be staged in an Australian premiere in Brisbane on Tuesday 24 November 2015 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

The story of Gallipoli is everlasting. It is a story of endeavour, courage, tragedy, great achievements and great sacrifices; a story of young nations and old coming together in conflict. Millions of words have been written about the campaign, but the story has never been ‘narrated’ musically, until now.

The Gallipoli Symphony represents the first time 11 acclaimed composers from three nations that fought in the campaign have collaborated on a single commemorative work.  It’s a unifying soundtrack 100 years in the waiting, and a monumental 10 years in the making.

Under the direction of internationally renowned conductor Jessica Cottis, The Gallipoli Symphony will be performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and renowned international soloist musicians Omar Faruk Tekbilek (on Ney and Zurna), Bahadir Sener (on Kanun) and Ozan Arslan (on Baglama) from Turkey, Australia’s William Barton (on Didgeridoo) and Michael Askill (Percussion), Horomona Horo (on Taonga Puoro) from New Zealand and England’s Julian Jackson (on Chromatic Harmonica).

In an astounding international initiative, The Gallipoli Symphony features traditional instruments from each country with the Orchestra, and is structured into parts, like chapters in a book, each themed around an element of the campaign and assigned to a composer to create a work based on that theme:

Gelibolu – Omar Faruk Tekbilek (Turkey)
He Poroporaoki (Farewell) – Gareth Farr and Richard Nunns (New Zealand)
The Voyage – Graeme Koehne AO (Australia)
Thoughts of Home – Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE (Australia)
The Landing – Elena Kats-Chernin (Australia)
The Invasion – Kamran Ince (Turkey)
God Pity Us Poor Soldiers – Ross Harris (New Zealand)
August Offensive – Andrew Schultz (Australia)
The Trenches Are Empty Now – Ross Edwards (Australia)
Hope of the Higher Heart – Demir Demirkan (Turkey)
Future – Graeme Koehne AO (Australia)

The performance will be enhanced by lighting and archival footage and still photographs themed to the movements. Each year since 2012, past and present students from Brisbane’s St Joseph’s College and All Hallow’s School and have combined to be the official choir – The Gallipoli Choir – performing at the Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli. They will perform at the Australian premiere event, along with The Australian Voices.

The world premiere of The Gallipoli Symphony was performed at the historic Hagia Irene in Istanbul, Turkey on 4 August this year, under the baton of Jessica Cottis (who will conduct the Australian premiere). Leaders from all over the world attended this incredible event.

The Gallipoli Symphony creates an important legacy. It tells the story of the Gallipoli campaign through music, reminding us of the horror and heartache of war and carries a message of hope, peace, friendship and collaboration between nations. It was commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to commemorate the Centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.

“Music has never been absent from the battlefield but the idea of a symphony dedicated to an indelible aspect of war – Gallipoli – is quite unique,” Des Power, Creative Director. “I pay full credit to the composers, music director Christopher Latham, and to the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Turkey who believed in the artistic capability of all involved in the concept and creation of The Gallipoli Symphony.”

Every year since 2006 a movement of the Symphony has been presented at Gallipoli for the ANZAC Day commemorations. Leading classical and traditional musicians engaged from Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, augmented by musicians drawn from the Australian and New Zealand military bands performed a piece of The Gallipoli Symphony in the early hours for the thousands of attendees awaiting the Dawn Service.

The Gallipoli Symphony
Concert Hall – QPAC, Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Tuesday 24 November 2015 – 7.30pm
Bookings: 13 62 46 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Gallipoli