Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2024

With five mainstage performances leading audiences down pathways varied and vivid, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO) has launched its 2024 season. And for the first time ever, DSO has also established a Composer in Residence role.

Darwin Symphony Orchestra

Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Tim Nicol

“2024 is packed with incredible music of all kinds, and we can’t wait to share it all with our audiences. From amazing new collaborations and compositions to hits from the biggest icons of pop, and much-loved symphonies by Mozart and Rachmaninov, there is something for everyone on this program,” said Artistic Director and Chief Conductor, Jonathan Tooby.

NT-based composer Netanela Mizrahi is the inaugural recipient of the Composer in Residence role. Between 2024–25, she will write new works for the DSO and collaborate with local artists. Her first work is to premiere in August 2024.

“After 20 years of growing alongside DSO, it is an honour to be appointed their composer in residence. To reside with these courageous musicians means to collaborate and learn from them, to enter this trusting, creative space together,” said Mizrahi.

“As a composer living on unceded Larrakia country, I wish to use my position of privilege to embed important narratives into the orchestral sphere, including those who have been silenced and omitted for reasons that do not reflect their immense worth.”

DSO opens on ambitious footing on 23 March with One Thousand and One Nights. Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Pärt’s Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade make for an explosive first leap into 2024.

Building upon the success of last year’s Rhythm of the 90s program, DSO offers another contemporary music. Iconic compiles the hits of Elvis, Aretha, Tina Turner and more as local musicians are welcomed to the stage in performance.

Vital Forces, on 17 August, offers three premieres – two for the NT, and one for the world. Resident composer Mizrahi will write a work in collaboration with Larrakia Elder Dr Aunty Bilawara Lee in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy that shattered Darwin over Christmas in 1974. Her collaboration with Aunty Lee is one that Mizrahi said she’s “especially looking forward to”.

Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Tim Nicol

James Ledger’s Signal Lost and Alice Chance’s Though Changing Landscape are two Australian works that will be played in the NT for the first time next to Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony.

DSO skims the silver screen in Heroes on 26 Oct with a selection of film score favourites, including Nigel Westlake’s Babe, Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries – and yes, John Williams.

Two guest musicians join the DSO to send off 2024 on 7 December in Voyage. Australian pianist Stefan Cassomenos will perform Rachmaninov’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2; conductor Richard Mills takes the podium to lead the orchestra through highlights of his Snugglepot & Cuddlepie ballet score.

In addition, the orchestra offers four different programs for its Education and Outreach program in 2024, alongside the fourth iteration of its Young Artists program. These include an interactive Family Proms, a performance on household objects for Symphony of Stuff, and a musical exploration of the exhibits at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

More about the Darwin Symphony Orchestra’s 2024 season can be found here.

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