Sam Weller graduated this year with a National Masters in Orchestral Conducting from the Netherlands, and in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music Performance, majoring in saxophone, from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. With this, his debut appearance with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, he has put an indelible stamp in his already impressive international credentials ‘passport’.

Sam Weller CSO

Sam Weller conducting the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, War and Peace, 2022. Photo © Martin Ollman

This fine musician conducted a demanding program in superb style, exploring every tiniest detail of the music and delivering a highly energetic but nuanced performance to the appreciative audience. The orchestra was fully engaged with Weller’s precise direction, with seemingly individual attention afforded every player.

The result was music that seemed entirely new under his baton-less, expressive, exuberant, flamboyant hands – well, entire body actually.

The opening work, Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, written for 10 violins, five each of violas and cellos, and three double basses, is a deeply emotional, mournful piece, written in memoriam of Strauss’ beloved Munich National Theatre, which was destroyed in an air raid in October 1943.

Its heartfelt construction is complex and multi-layered, beginning very soft...