Prepped by workshops on correct Baroque performance practice with Australia’s leading experts Julia Fredersdorff (violin) and Neal Peres da Costa (Sydney Conservatorium), our strings ensure Christmas comes early in Corelli’s Concerto grosso Op 6/8, known in English as the ‘Christmas’ concerto. Normally the province of smaller ensembles, you’ll hear what a full orchestral string section playing in historically-informed style, plus the Verbrugghen Hall organ, can do! Ross Edward’s Symphony No 1 is an Australian modern classic dedicated to the memory of former SYO Chief Conductor Stuart Challender. Conceived during the 1990-91 Gulf War and based on the medieval plainchant Da Pacem Domine (‘Give Peace, Lord’), this sombre work finds a further resonance in this performance marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The composer will attend the concert and visit SYO during rehearsals. Respighi’s The Pines of Rome is one of the most spectacular works ever written for orchestra, ranging from the sound of a single nightingale to slamming drumbeats, volleys of extra brass from the Verbrugghen side galleries and organ turned up to the max as Roman legions march down the Appian Way. It’s a finale worthy of The Eternal City. We’re delighted that Edwards and Respighi works will be directed by guest conductor Matthew Coorey, the Australian now making an impressive international career from his base in London.