What began as a student-run chamber orchestra has now achieved proper symphonic proportions. Based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and committed to the well-loved and unknown of the 20th century, Ensemble Apex, headed by Sam Weller, hurtles into 2018 with a programme marking the journey so far.

Ensemble ApexSam Weller, leader of Ensemble Apex. Photograph: supplied

“The 2018 season is bold, vibrant, daring and eclectic,” Weller says. “We are putting it all out there this year showcasing the strengths of the orchestra, along with the youthful virtuosity that its members posses.”

Opening its season with Anna Da Silva Chen playing Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, Ensemble Apex has commissioned a work by Nicholas Vines to ring in the New Year. Making their concert extra special is the leadership of Umberto Clerici, principal cellist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, who makes his conducting debut with Beethoven’s evergreen Fifth.

“Our first concert presents a taste of music through the ages – Beethoven’s Fifth straddles the classical and romantic periods, Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No 1 is an iconic modernist work, whilst we also perform the music today in our world premiere,” says Weller. “The orchestra is deeply...