Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2021

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has announced its 2021 season with a program of 75 concerts led by Chief Conductor Designate Simone Young, who takes up her Chief Conductor role in 2022, and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles, who was knighted a few days ago in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to music.

With COVID-19 restricting international travel, there is a new focus on Australian artists, with 19 internationally recognised Australian soloists and conductors performing with the SSO in 2021, some for the first time. The program also includes 15 world premieres of short works by Australian composers as part of the SSO’s 50 Fanfares project.

There are four female conductors – Young, American Karina Canellakis, New Zealand-born Gemma New, and Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevka. The latter three are each making their SSO debut, as are Dutch-Australian conductor Benjamin Bayl and British-Australian conductor Finnegan Downie Dear.