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The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has a rich history of international touring and is the leading cultural ambassador for Australia in the Asia-Pacific region.
The SSO has toured China three times – in 2009, 2012 and 2014 – and is well on the way to achieving its goal of becoming the premier orchestra of the Asia-Pacific region by 2030.
Our Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson is continuing our proud tradition of near-annual international touring and undertook his first tour with the SSO in 2014. Robertson will again tour with the SSO in 2015, visiting China and Korea.
The SSO's first overseas tour took the orchestra to the 1965 Commonwealth Arts Festival in London. But it began in Asia, with concertsin Manila, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
This first tour of 1965 was considered too short to allow respite between performances, and the SSO's next European tour, in 1974, was twice as long (eight weeks). There were several conductors on the 1965 tour while most of the 1974 concerts were under Chief Conductor Willem van Otterloo.
That became the pattern when Stuart Challender conducted a Bicentennial Year tour of the USA in 1988 (Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge took part in some concerts). Edo de Waart took the Orchestra to Japan and Taiwan in 1996, and in 1998 to the USA.
In 2000 the Orchestra performed in the new concert hall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In 2006, Chief Conductor Gianluigi Gelmetti took the SSO to Tokyo and Osaka and, in 2008, to Italy. Under principal conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, the SSO toured to China and Malaysia in 2009, Europe in 2010, Japan and Korea in 2011 and China in 2012.
In 2014 the SSO was named the winner of the Arts category in the Australian government's inaugural Australia-China Achievement Awards in recognition of its ground-breaking work in growing the bilateral cultural and artistic relationship between the two nations.