Hanging in the Perth Concert Hall foyer is a huge purple banner. It’s also reproduced in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 brochure, but I want to see it on the back of a T-shirt. It’s the orchestral music lover’s answer to the band tour T-shirt, but instead of cities, the white type sets out the big names in the repertoire: Mahler Eight, Beethoven Nine, Mozart’s Requiem, the Elgar Cello Concerto, Berlioz, Brahms and so on, before arriving home with premieres from Lachlan Skipworth and James Ledger. Alongside WASO’s season tagline, “Big Bold Sound”, it’s perfect for an orchestra that’s making the most of its magnificent acoustic before the hall is closed for redevelopment at the end of the year.
But even for orchestras that aren’t anticipating such disruption, a spirit of optimism pervades the 2024 programming. Not Voltaire’s “madness of maintaining that everything is right when it is wrong”, but a confidence and assurance. It can be seen in the bold designs and the splashes of bright, warm colours that characterise most of the season brochures, and it will be heard in many of the musical choices.