18 AUG 2017

First Dance with the Orchestra

SSO Young Ambassador Chiara Torresan chats to a classical music newbie.


I recently accompanied my friend Clare Gionta, 18, to her first classical music concert at the Sydney Opera House. Featuring violin soloist Alina Imbragimova, the program 'Dancing with the Orchestra' featured three lively pieces by Kodály, Bartók and Rachmaninoff around the theme of traditional and folk dances. I was curious to know what Clare thought of her first experience so I asked her some questions after the concert.

Were you nervous going to your first symphony concert?

I wasn’t nervous, but I was unsure of what to expect at a symphony concert. In the end I was glad to have someone go with me, it made the experience more enjoyable. I was more than pleased with how today turned out and I would definitely go again with someone else who has not been to a concert.

What inspired you to go to a concert?

I had visited the Sydney Opera House before but never attended a classical music concert so I thought it was due time to complete the experience. In amongst the stress of finishing school and final exams, this was a great way to relax and make the most of the mid-semester holidays.

How did you find the Dancing with the Orchestra Concert?

I don’t often listen to classical music but this concert had all the appeal I was looking for. Each piece was different from the last, but still held that dancing feel  ̶  especially the waltz section of the Rachmaninoff piece. It was a shame there was little room to dance in the aisles of the concert hall, although conductor James Gaffigan danced enough for both of us!

Do you have any last advice for future first time concertgoers?

The most important thing is to be open-minded about the performers and the program. Let the SSO surprise you! I definitely suggest attending the pre-concert talks in the Northern Foyer 45 minutes before the concert as they really help you understand the context and meaning of the performances.

Image: Chiara Torresan and Clare Gionta at the Sydney Opera House. Credit Tim Walsh.

Chiara Torresan is a 17-year-old violinist and part of the SSO’s Young Ambassador program.