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The Sydney Symphony was founded in 1932 by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) as a national radio orchestra; the first public concert took place in 1934 under the direction of the Northern Irish composer Hamilton Harty. As early as the 1930s such conductors as Antal Dorati and Thomas Beecham collaborated with the orchestra, as well as soloists like Arthur Rubinstein, Bronislaw Huberman, and Artur Schnabel. In 1946 the ensemble acquired its present name—and soon thereafter its first principal conductor, the British maestro Eugene Goossens, who held the post until 1956. Succeeding him were Dean Dixon, Moshe Atzmon, Willem van Otterloo, Charles Mackerras, Zdenek Mácal, Edo de Waart, and Gianluigi Gelmetti, among others; the most famous guest conductors have included Igor Stravinsky, George Szell, and Otto Klemperer. Since 2009 Vladimir Ashkenazy has held the position of Principal Conductor; he is at the same time active as “artistic advisor.” At present the Sydney Symphony gives around 150 concerts each season. Its home is the famous Sydney Opera House, but the musicians also perform in various other concert venues throughout the state of New South Wales. In addition, the ensemble makes regular tours to Europe, Asia, and the United States; in 2009 the orchestra completed its first Chinese tour. Its comprehensive Education Program targets young visitors and draws in new audiences. Another important mission of the Sydney Symphony is to promote Australian composers, such as Liza Lim, who was composer-in-residence from 2005 to 2007, Ross Edwards, Georges Lentz, and Brett Dean, whose works appeared on two recently released CDs.
One previous appearance at LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF): on August 27, 1995 in compositions of Edwards, Canteloube, Berio, and Rachmaninoff, with Edo de Waart conducting.