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The Sydney Youth Orchestra starts the year with a celebration of a great twentieth-century musical revolutionary on the fiftieth anniversary of his death – Igor Stravinsky.

He literally caused a riot with the premiere of his 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring, composed for a huge orchestra. But when the ensuing First World War and Spanish flu pandemic put musicians in short supply, the Russian-in-exile switched down to smaller forces, creating a sound that shaped a musical century.

Stravinsky is here at his wittiest in the suite Pulcinella, based on the Baroque music of Pergolesi and characters from the commedia dell’arte, plus the circus-like Scherzo à la russe. The Symphonies of Wind Instruments, dedicated to the memory of his recently-departed friend Claude Debussy, are accompanied by the Frenchman’s own Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and orchestra, featuring SYO Principal Clarinet Katherine Howarth.

Returning to her native soil, Jessica Cottis, will lead the orchestra with her flair and dynamism for which she is known for.

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