First FASO Function for 2012

The first Friends’ event for 2012 will be a concert presented by the Adelaide Youth Strings ensemble conducted by Martin Butler, on Sunday 1 April at 2:30 pm in the Grainger Studio.

The concert will take the form of a semi-open rehearsal and performance, in which Martin will comment on the pieces and the ensemble’s approach to performing them, and demonstrate the process.

Afternoon tea will be served.

FASO is delighted to support AdYO, a very talented group of young musicans – and the next generation of professional musicians and concertgoers for the Adelaide concert scene and beyond.  You can find out more about them at

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Well, I blinked, and now…

The year is just racing away – especially now that Mad March is upon us – and the ASO is off to a flying start.

First up was Inspired by the Sea, the alfresco concert at Mt Lofty Botanic Garden on Saturday 28 January.  After a superb first half, the heavens opened, but the audience stayed on until safety issues dictated an early end to the concert.  Says a lot about both the quality of the ASO and the stoicism of the Orchestra’s supporters…

While there was no chance of the Season Opening Concert being rained off in the Town Hall on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 February, the rain certainly did its best to make its presence known on the Saturday night.  Nowhere near enough to spoil a great start to the Town Hall concerts, though.  After the majestic opening of Wagner’s Meistersinger Overture (which always leaves me wanting to hear the hymn that follows), Natsuko was in fine form with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto; then after the interval came Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique – a piece that I enjoy listening to well enough in broadcasts or recordings, but which has so much more to offer in live performance.  I always love the off-key bells in the final movement’s Dies Irae motif, and it was quite something to watch the augmented tympani in the penultimate movement.

The following week brought The King’s Singers, a highly polished performance by a seasoned and versatile group, and the week after that For the Love of Scotland, replacing the cancelled Symphony at the Movies with Michael Parkinson.  February was then rounded off with Symphony Under the Stars in Elder Park, which went ahead despite the heat and offered the thousands in Elder Park a free treat of popular classics.

And then it was March, and the Orchestra and Adelaide Festival Chorus, under the baton of Italian composer of movie and classical music Maestro Ennio Morricone, competed with (and ultimately prevailed over) the cars of the Clipsal twilight race and the somewhat noisy disposal of bottles during the encores, on the opening night of this year’s Adelaide International Arts Festival.

Still to come this month are Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, the residency at Goolwa and then, on the final weekend of the month, Master Series 1 (Nielsen’s Helios, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 and Beethoven’s Eroica) at the Town Hall.

And that’s only the first quarter of the year…

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Nothing to do with a Hills Hoist…

The Friends started the year on a strong note by donating two new rotary trumpets to the ASO.  Those of you who were at the AGM last October will remember Matt Dempsey, Principal Trumpet, demonstrating the difference in sound between the traditional trumpet and the rotary trumpet, and explaining why he hoped the Orchestra would be able to use them for (amongst other works) the performance of Bruckner 3 in May.

The trumpets were ordered before the Christmas break, and arrived well in time to complement the existing instrument for their informal first use in the Season Opening concert in February.   Their first formal use will be in Beethoven’s Eroica during the first Master Series concert at the end of March.

Later in the year, there will be a Friends function with an explanation of the trumpets and the opportunity to hear them in recital – more details will be available in due course, so watch this space…

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Fine Music this Sunday …

It seems that, even though the ASO is now officially on its end-of-year break, we don’t have to worry about a shortage of good music just yet.

The Benaud Trio will be performing on Sunday afternoon (11 December) at 3 pm in Pilgrim Church, Flinders Street.  After playing the Haydn Piano Trio in G Major, they will be joined by Merewyn Bramble on viola for Brahms’ Piano Quartet No 1 in G Minor.

So take a break from all the Christmas rushing around (do you really need to do all that shopping?), or have a pause between family commitments, and make your way to Pilgrim for a bit of culture amongst all the commercialism.

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A Christmas Treat

The final Management Committee meeting was held this afternoon, and before it started we were treated to a Christmas gift from Shirin Lim and Janis Laurs – a number of violin/cello duets they presented as a thank-you for the support of the Friends throughout the year. It was a charming way to express their appreciation, and we all enjoyed this unorthodox start to our meeting.

Following the meeting we headed off to the Toptai Restaurant in the North Adelaide village for a relaxing end-of-year dinner with recently-retired committee members (and Hall of Fame inductees) Jill Hay and Peggy Whitson and our partners – lovely food and wine and, of course, excellent and erudite company!

I know Shirin and Janis were extending their thanks to you all through their performance to us. Likewise, we realise we can only do what we do for the Orchestra through the generous and enthusiastic support of our membership.

Thank you, and merry Christmas to you all!

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Greetings from Patrick Thomas…

We recently heard again from Patrick Thomas MBE, with a copy of an e-mail sent to Paul Blackman (who co-ordinates the ASO Heritage website at, offering his greetings on the occasion of the ASO’s 75th Anniversary.  Patrick and Paul have kindly given their permission for us to post a copy of the e-mail here.

25 November 2011:

Dear Paul,

Please, would you be so kind as to convey to the Management, Music Director, and the Members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra my greetings and warmest wishes on the occasion of the ASO’s 75th Anniversary.   In attaining this milestone, the Orchestra joins an elite company of the world’s leading Symphony Orchestras.

Indeed, the ASO, and its former alter ego, the SASO, have bestowed the greatest of legacies imaginable on the people of South Australia and places beyond that State’s borders, and have done so through music-making of the highest level.

I personally recall, and with the greatest affection and admiration, the Orchestra’s innumerable fine performances during my eight years as its Assistant (and Acting Resident) Conductor (1965-72); and also as Guest Conductor on numerous subsequent occasions, in landmark opera and orchestral repertoire, from 1973 to 1992.

I was delighted to see the ASO’s excellence included in the recent 8CD “Australian Masters” Box Set, that ABC Classics issued in my honour. The selected performance of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5 still stands high, I believe, in any company.

So … long may the ASO continue to flourish and nourish the cultural diversity of South Australia and our nation in general.



Patrick Thomas M.B.E.

In his covering e-mail to the Friends, Patrick made these comments:

I listened to part of the “Birthday” Concert last Friday and enjoyed it immensely.

Here’s to the ASO’s NEXT 75 years.

And Merry Christmas to it, and also to its valued and much-needed Friends! 

And in response to our request to post his message on this site:

Indeed the ASO’s “75th” was a milestone from which I am sure the orchestra will move ahead in its quest for new achievement and recognition.  These I feel sure will eventuate, given its fine standard.

By all means share my thoughts with the ASO “Family”.  It was my privilege to be associated the the illustrious ASO spanning the years 1965-92.  Wonderful memories!

All best Christmas wishes to you and your colleagues.


It’s lovely to know that Patrick maintains his interest in and fondness for our illustrious orchestra.  On behalf of the Friends, we wish him all the best for Christmas and the coming year.


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Hall of Fame Luncheon

The Legends’ Luncheon, held in the Grainger Studio on Monday 5th Dec, is an annual event in the ASO calendar, hosted by ASO players, administration and Friends, in recognition of the significant contribution made by individuals to the ASO. The “legends” are drawn from both players and Friends, who have given 15 years or more of service to the orchestra.

This year three new members were inducted to the Hall of Fame. They are Friends Jill Hay and Peggy Whitson, who have respectively notched up 20 years and 18 years of service; and, from the players, Len Tayor (trumpeter), who was represented by his son when he was posthumously honoured for 30 years of service.

Hall of Fame members mingled with players, staff and Friends, chatting over lunch, before gathering for informal speeches and presentations to the new Legends.

Guests were then invited to attend the ASO rehearsal for the Tea and Symphony concert to be presented later in the week.

Further information about the Hall of Fame, including lists of past inductees, can be found at


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