Escape through your ears

Members of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra. Photo: supplied.

Let the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra take you away from it all for a few hours without ever leaving your auditorium seat.   

Various travel restrictions may still be in place but that won’t prevent the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) from giving audiences an out of body experience. Their 2021 season includes a series of three concerts throughout the year, respectively titled: ILLUMINATE, EVOKE and EMERGE. Each one includes a program of works deliberately selected to inspire imagination and stimulate the senses. 

The first concert, ILLUMINATE, features Max Bruch’s Serenade for Strings after Swedish Melodies, Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir de Florence, Op.70, and will be performed in regional venues and at the City Recital Hall, Sydney. The compositions will take listeners on an aural journey through old-world Europe. 

Bruch’s serenade incorporates traditional folk melodies in a series of movements that alternate from lively dances to nostalgic ruminations. Tchaikovsky’s characteristically melodic piece takes us on a sentimental tour from the richly artistic city of Florence to his own homeland, Russia. Britten’s work is an energetic song cycle set to the words of French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. Esteemed soprano, Jacqueline Porter will join the ensemble to sing the vocal part.  

“These masterpieces for string orchestra with voice create an opportunity to explore the unique sound worlds of three extraordinary composers,” says orchestra concertmaster and co-artistic director, Rachael Beesley.  

“By engaging with the wealth of historical sources and perspectives, this allows deep insights into rediscovering the romantic lyricism and spirited performance styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

Rachael Beesley, Jacqueline Porter and Nick Russoniello (left to right). Photo: supplied.

Included among the ILLUMINATE concerts will be the the first Voyage of Musical Discovery for 2021. This ‘edu-tainment’ style concert features a performance along with description and commentary about the composition and its elements. Saxophone virtuoso, Nick Russoniello, will demonstrate the finer points of motivic development through an instructive rendition of Suite for Saxophones & Loop Station

ARCO is a group of elite Australian musicians dedicated to inspiring and educating audiences through accessible concerts and creative tutorial. Established under the direction of beloved conductor, musician, instructor, and quasi-celebrity, the late Richard Gill AO, ARCO is now steered by Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen.  

The orchestra focuses on orchestral and chamber music from the Romantic and Classical periods, adhering to historical styles and playing on authentic, period instruments. Their aim is to bring both popular and obscure works to a wider audience in a way that is joyous for performers and listeners alike. 

ILLUMINATE (Sydney) Friday, 19 February | 7.00pm | City Recital Hall | 2 Angel Place, Sydney .

Voyage of Musical Discovery ‘Motivic Development’ |Wednesday, 17 February | 6.30pm | City Recital Hall | 2 Angel Place, Sydney.

For information and bookings visit: