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Debussy, Copland & Elgar

Towards Serenity

Conductor Asher Fisch leads us on a journey through these serene and colourful masterpieces.

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
*Booking fee of $8.95 may apply


The concert will conclude at approximately 3.15pm (Thursday), 8.45pm (Friday) and 3.45pm (Saturday).


Join us for the pre-concert talk 45 minutes before the performance in the Northern Foyer, by Jim Coyle.

Program Book

Behind every great piece is a great story. Have a read through the program book to get all the details.

Debussy’s La mer represented a breakthrough. The French Impressionists had liberated painting and music was quick to follow.

Here, the great master of musical colour creates shifting moods of excitement and splendour that capture his lifelong love of the sea – “endless and beautiful”.

We hear a similar versatility in Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. Originally written for the great Benny Goodman and closely associated with the American landscape and people, its bittersweet melodies give way to Latin American and jazz-like rhythms and the optimistic spirit of the New World.

Soloist James Burke makes his concerto debut with the Sydney Symphony in these performances.

In Elgar’s heartfelt Enigma Variations the English composer drew inspiration from his closest friends, writing a set of musical sketches of their various personalities. The most famous variation is the noble Nimrod – a piece so tied to the British spirit you might’ve recognised it in the London Olympics or Dunkirk.


COPLAND Clarinet Concerto
JOSEPH TWIST Ancient Lights, Mystic Sky*
50 Fanfares Commission
ELGAR Variations on an Original Theme, Enigma

*Joseph Twist's Ancient Lights, Mystic Sky was made possible through the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's 50 Fanfares Project and was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, supported by Gary Holmes & Anne Reeckmann.


ASHER FISCH conductor
JAMES BURKE clarinet

Please note that our Principal Guest Conductor, Donald Runnicles, is no longer available to appear for these performances. We are delighted to announce that Asher Fisch will now conduct this program, with Elgar’s Enigma Variations replacing Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No.5.

We are grateful to Maestro Fisch for making himself available at short notice.


The Sydney Symphony will continue to apply NSW Public Health Orders related to live performance venues. New conditions of entry for all venues and performances may apply.

Series Presenting Partner