CSO calls on players to join virtual community orchestra

Ian Bushnell 4 June 2020 3
CSO recording

In the CSO studio. For musicians at home, a mobile phone, tablet or laptop will do. Photo: CSO.

It’s time for local musicians to step up and join Canberra’s own Virtual Orchestra, a joint project from the ANU and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in this time of COVID-19 restrictions.

Musicians of all kinds have had their art and livelihoods disrupted by COVID-19, which has stopped them practising and performing together. But the CSO has responded innovatively to its season being stalled and its artists isolated by turning to the internet so the music can continue.

Virtual Orchestra: Community Special is part of a broader collaboration between the CSO and the ANU School of Music. Both are also jointly producing ‘Side by Side: Byte Size’ – a short, virtual performance featuring CSO and ANU musicians, for which recording is underway.

Staff have set up a makeshift recording studio in the CSO office.

The two organisations are now calling on orchestral players of all ages and skill levels to contribute their skills to this digital project by filming and recording their individual parts in two famous compositions selected by CSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Dr Nicholas Milton.

Dr Milton has chosen two lively pieces: Arthur Benjamin’s Jamaican Rumba and Offenbach’s Can-Can.

Jamaican Rumba is perhaps the best-known work by Australian composer Arthur Benjamin, with countless arrangements from two pianos to orchestra. The work was so popular that it earned Benjamin a free barrel of rum each year from the Jamaican Government for the publicity.

The Can-Can has made countless appearances in popular culture, from Dr Who to Moulin Rouge. The piece comes from the French composer’s comic operetta Orpheus in the Underworld.

The CSO has provided a recording guide with advice on accessing the sheet music and guide track, preparing your recording devices, setting up, the dress code (no pyjamas!), and how to record and upload your video file (if doing multiple takes, the CSO requests you only submit your best effort).

If you are under 18, email orchestramanager@cso.org.au when you have uploaded a recording and provide the name and contact details of a parent or guardian so they can give permission for your recording to be used.

Recordings will be edited together by the technical staff of the School of Music, Matt Barnes and Craig Greening, and shared online in July.

CSO Concertmaster Kirsten Williams said the CSO and ANU School of Music were thrilled to invite community members to join in this project.

“We hope it helps people feel connected to each other at a time where we have all experienced isolation,” she said.

Submissions need to be in by midnight Monday, 8 June. For more information and to download the recording guide go to the CSO website.


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3 Responses to CSO calls on players to join virtual community orchestra
Kirsten Madsen Kirsten Madsen 7:22 am 06 Jun 20

Chris Liddiard perhaps Ann might be interested in this?

    Chris Liddiard Chris Liddiard 12:44 pm 06 Jun 20

    Kirsten Madsen thank you for this. I’m sure she will be interested. She is really missing band at the moment.

Marissa Booth Marissa Booth 9:34 pm 04 Jun 20

Anne Ewing - I thought of you!

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