Queensland Symphony Orchestra unveils Season 2021

Three world premieres and a Concert Hall program to celebrate joy

Media Release ·

Queensland Symphony Orchestra unveils Season 2021

Piers Lane, William Barton, Jayson Gillham, Grace Clifford and more to join QSO musicians in a year of incredible music.

Orchestral music is back in full force in 2021, with Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) unveiling a season of 18 concerts, all to be performed in the Concert Hall at QPAC, including three commissioned world premieres and headlined by the acclaimed Maestro series; a collection of 10 world-class classical celebrations. 

Soloists performing with the QSO in 2021 include one of the greatest pianists Queensland has ever produced in the internationally acclaimed Piers Lane, revered didgeridoo artist William Barton, dynamic young violinist Grace Clifford, one of Australia’s leading woodwind players oboist Diana Doherty, organist Joseph Nolan, Australian sopranos Emma Pearson, Lorina Gore and Rebecca Cassidy (Opera Queensland Young Artist) and musical theatre star Simon Gleeson.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra musicians take centre stage in 2021 with solo performances for Concertmaster Warwick Adeney, Section Principal Flute Alison Mitchell, Section Principal Clarinet Irit Silver, Principal Tuba Thomas Allely and Acting Section Principal Cello Hyung Suk Bae.

Leading the conductor line-up in 2021 is the Orchestra’s celebrated Conductor Laureate Johannes Fritzsch, together with dynamic Australian conductor Dane Lam, Umberto Clerici, Elena Schwarz, Benjamin Northey, Max McBride, Alexander Briger, Benjamin Bayl, and of course hosting Music on Sundays the irrepressible Guy Noble.

Celebrated conductor Ludovic Morlot joins the Orchestra as the only international artist for the season. Ludovic Morlot will make his Queensland Symphony Orchestra debut in 2021, conducting Song to Symphony in November and the Season Closing Gala, Four Last Songs, in December. Following eight years as Music Director, Ludovic Morlot is Conductor Emeritus of the Seattle Symphony.

In a fitting move, Season 2021 opens on 6 February with a Special Event called QSO Favourites, celebrating favourite pieces from Beethoven to Bolero, and closes on 2 December with Four Last Songs. In between is a calendar of musical moments that stars premieres, movie music and classical warhorses ranging from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, to Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 to the mighty Firebird by Stravinsky and more.

Excitingly and in an Orchestra first, three world premieres will be staged in 2021, commissioned by QSO and all by Australian composers.

Over the weekend of 30 April and 1 May, QSO musicians Irit Silver and Alison Mitchell, will perform a world premiere double concerto for flute, clarinet and orchestra, by Australian composer Gordon Kerry during the Pictures at an Exhibition performances.

In June, Epic Sounds will feature the world premiere of a new work by acclaimed Australian didgeridoo player and composer William Barton. The sound of this majestic instrument will fill the concert hall, in a performance that also features Wagner’s dramatic Overture to The Flying Dutchman and the Symphony No.5 by Sibelius.

In September, Queensland’s Finest will feature three of Queensland’s brightest musicians, together for the first time. Conducted by Dane Lam, acclaimed both here and overseas, this performance includes the world premiere of a new composition by talented young composer, Sebastian Lingane, who was the winner of QSO’s 2019 Compose Program. They are joined by famed Queensland pianist Jayson Gillham who won the Montreal International Music Competition in 2014, performing Beethoven’s Fourth Concerto.

There is plenty to offer outside the classical world as well. The extraordinarily popular Cinematic, a concert featuring a mix of blockbuster movie music returns, and Australian singer and actor Simon Gleeson joins soprano Lorina Gore in the Musical Theatre Gala, featuring some of the most-loved show tunes from Broadway to West End, while classical works inspired by Shakespeare’s plays will prove a blockbuster, featuring Mendelssohn’s iconic music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream through to Prokofiev’s extraordinary ballet music for Romeo and Juliet.

Season 2021 will also see Queensland Symphony Orchestra again travel throughout Queensland to perform, educate and inspire. In 2019, QSO worked with 125 schools and over 13,000 school students across the state. Of these, 7,000 were students outside the Brisbane metropolitan area. The regional touring program is an important part of the QSO’s commitment as the state orchestra.

The Orchestra’s Young Instrumentalist Prize proves every year that Queensland is a wealth of young musical talent and will take place in 2021, proving that the future of music is in excellent hands.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Executive Craig Whitehead said the Orchestra was excited for Season 2021 after what has been an incredibly challenging year for every orchestra, every musician, and every music lover around the world.

“During 2020, we have been extremely disappointed that we have been unable to deliver live concerts to the people of Queensland, however we’ve created a fantastic range of online content from musicians’ homes, backyards, parks and playgrounds, playing all sorts of music, from Bach to Baby Shark, an epic anthem collaboration with the Gold Coast SUNS and the Brisbane Lions and of course at the AFL Grand Final,” he said. We know that nothing can stop the music of QSO and our Season 2021 will celebrate all that is joyous, uplifting and new.”

“The diverse line-up for 2021 shows again Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s commitment to being an Orchestra for Everyone.”

Concertmaster Warwick Adeney said the musicians have deeply missed performing for audiences.

“As I reflect on the past year, I am struck by how universal our experience has been. We have each encountered frustration, sadness, and longing. For us at QSO, we were devastated to miss so much of our planned 2020 concert season. There is no doubt it has been a challenging time, and yet amidst the yearning to fill the concert hall again, we have told new stories, and explored new ways of making and sharing music,” he said.

“In 2021 we invite you to join us and take your seat in the concert hall once again. Our season will be a celebration of live performance, and its power to inspire us and draw us together.”

#2021 Tickets On Sale

Monday 16 November 2020

Packages on sale

Monday 14 December 2020

Single tickets on sale to all concerts

#Booking Details

Book online


Box Office

Please call 07 3833 5044

In Person

ABC Brisbane building, 114 Grey Street, South Brisbane Q 4101


QSO Box Office, GPO Box 9994 Brisbane Q 4001