An American In Paris (1928)

George Gershwin (USA)

This new piece, really a rhapsodic ballet, is written very freely and is the most modern music I’ve yet attempted. ... The opening part will be developed in typical French style, in the mannerof Debussy and the Six, though the themes are all original. My purpose here is to portray theimpressions of an American visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to the variousstreet noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere.

As in my other orchestral compositions, I’ve not endeavoured to present any definite scenes in this music. ... The rhapsody is programmatic only in a general impressionistic way, so that theindividual listener can read into the music such episodes as his imagination pictures for him. ...

The opening gay section ... is followed by a rich “blues” with a strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a cafe, and having a few drinks, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The harmony here is both more intense and simple than in the preceding pages. This “blues” rises to a climax followed by a coda in which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bubbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris. Apparently, the homesick American, having left the cafe and reached the open air, has downed his spell of the blues and once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life. At the conclusion, the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant.

- George Gershwin, in an interview 4 months before the premiere of An American in Paris.



Colonial Song (1919)

Percy Grainger (Melbourne)*

In this piece the composer I wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of my native land, Australia. It is dedicated to my mother.

No traditional tunes of any kind are made use of in this piece, in which I have wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of my native land, (Australia), and also to voice a certain kind of emotion that seems to me not untypical of native-born Colonials in general.

Perhaps it is not unnatural that people living more or less lonelily in vast virgin countries and struggling against natural and climatic hardships (rather than against the more actively and dramaticly exciting counter wills of their fellow men, as i n more thickly populated lands) should run largely to that patiently yearning, inactive sentimental wistfulness that we find so touchingly expressed in much American art; for instance in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and in Stephen C. Foster's adorable songs My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, etc.

I have also noticed curious, almost Italian-like, musical tendencies in brass band performances and ways of singing in Australia (such as a preference for richness and intensity of tone and soulful breadth of phrasing over more subtly and sensitively varied delicacies of expression), which are also reflected here.

- Percy Grainger

*Part of our Made in Melbourne Project featuring local composers.



New York Suite (1966)

Kurt Weill (Germany) arr. Morton Gould (USA)

I. Mack the Knife
II. Speak Low
III. Lost in the Stars
IV. My Ship 
V. I Got a Marble and a Star
VI. September Song
VII. Train to Johannesburg

Kurt Weill was a musical maverick. The musical theatre of the twenties was romantic and sentimental - and in Europe, where Weill was born and where he grew up, operetta, with all its frills, ornamentations and make-believe, was the dominant form. With his collaborator Bertolt Brecht, Weill stripped this for of its superficialities and escapism, creating a sparse, direct melody and lyric that reflected the seething unrest and cynicism of post-World War I Europe. Instead of fairy-tale characters, Weill’s theatre was peopled by the impoverished, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. His training was as a symphonist; his instincts were theatrical. The combination produced a disciplined and unique musical dramatist. 

Weill had two careers: one in Europe and one in America. Even before coming to the US he was fascinated with jazz and the American popular idiom. Upon arriving in New York in the mid-thirties he immediately starts to create and to continue his growth as a theatre composer. He readily assimilated the vernacular and made it part of his own creative language. I have chose, along with obvious, well-known selections, a few less-familiar compositions such as Train to Johannesburg and I Got A Marble and a Star. In setting all the works I have attempted to retain, in orchestral fabric, the basic character and mood of the music. I have used varied instrumental textures to conform with each particular piece, and have generally retained Weill’s original harmonisations, for along with his melodic pattern he had a very definite harmonic style. 

- Morton Gould


A Cloud of Dust and Fire (2018)

Edward Fairlie (Melbourne)*

I. Collapse
II. Emergency Workers
III. Men Talking About Death
IV. Henry Bolte
V. Epilogue

A Cloud of Dust and Fire draws inspiration from photographs, news footage and interviews relating to the collapse of the West Gate Bridge in 1970. We advise that the piece and the accompanying images could contain potentially distressing material.

Commissioning this work was made possible by our Triennial Arts Grant from the City of Melbourne

*Part of our Made in Melbourne Project featuring local composers. Hear Ed discuss his work in our pre-concert discussion at 7pm.



Conductor Ingrid Martin
Concertmaster  Teresa Wilkie

Piccolo Ella Tuncliffe-Glass
Flute Stephanie Lai, Emily Burger
Oboe Emma Burborough, Nicole Gee
Cor Anglais Owen Jackson
Clarinet Liam Samat, Tess Waller
Bass Clarinet Kimberly Ho
Bassoon Phoebe Leggett, Mia Quist, Nicholas de Weger
Contrabassoon Mia Quist
Alto Saxophone Mira Stephens
Tenor Saxophone Erin Murphy
Baritone Saxophone Beau Webb
Horn Claire McLean, Chloe Uhrmacher, Aidan Ratcliff, Ramona Downie-Berry
Trumpet Benjamin Sametz, Thomas Saar, Angela McStephen, Pat Watkins
Trombone Allan Pennings, Elise Frederiksen, Max Castor
Euphonium Pranav Roy
Tuba Alicia Parry
Percussion Ardian Strybosch, Ben Ingvarson, Shayna Wescombe, Monica Wescombe
Violin I Teresa Wilkie, Michael Patton, Carolina Vargas, Georgia Wyldbore
Violin II Alex Rosenfeld, Siew-Ching Wan, Andrew Lin, Tamer Mikhaiel
Viola Alicia Sim, Mariam Chung, Mengfei Hu
Cello Asli Ibrahim, Kiya van der Linden-Kian, Bridget Chappell, Claire Oakley
Harp Sarah Lambourne
Piano Nicole Ng
Banjo Jimmy O’Hare
Guitar/Mandolin Jake Piddington


President Susan de Weger
Vice President Thomas Saar
Secretary Matt James
Treasurer Alex Rosenfeld
Librarian Stephanie Lai
Orchestra Manager Melanie O'Brien (IgniteLAB Intern)
General Committee Teresa Wilkie, Mariam Chung, Mengfei Hu, Ramona Downie-Berry


Want to make great music like this with us? Check out our 2019 Audition Info and get practicing!


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