The Sydney University Symphony Orchestra, originally known as the Pro Musica Orchestra, was founded in 1948 by Donald Peart. It is one of the most established performing arts societies at the University of Sydney. The orchestra welcomes students from all faculties and campuses of the University, including the Conservatorium. In addition to our rehearsal and performance schedule, we organise regular social events such as the weekly barbeque, which provide members with opportunities to make friends and enjoy university life. SUSO’s home venue is the Great Hall in the university’s sandstone Quadrangle.
Over the years SUSO has been led by many prominent conductors, including Eric Gross, Peter Platt, Ben Macpherson, Nicholas Routley, Colin Piper and George Ellis. Through its longstanding connection with the university’s Arts Music Unit, the orchestra has performed works by prominent Australian composers, including Anne Boyd, Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe, and Matthew Hindson. In 2020, we will be performing Matthew Dewey’s Symphony No. 2 (ex Oceano), as part of our ocean-themed 3rd concert.
The orchestra is part of the University of Sydney Union’s Clubs & Societies program and is run by an eleven-member student executive committee, as well as the conductor and concertmaster. The orchestra takes pride in being able to perform challenging works representing the long history of Western art music, including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Sydney University Musical Society; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with Kathryn Selby; Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 (“avec orgue”); Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 1 with Julian Leslie; Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 with the UNSW Orchestra; Jenkins’ The Armed Man; Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 with soloist Kenichi Mizushima; and a semi-staged production of Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with Pacific Opera.
SUSO’s Principal Conductor is Luke Spicer, who debuted with us in 2013.