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The MSO will usher in a bold new era of orchestral music when London-based Spanish conductor Jaime Martín takes the reins as its new Chief Conductor.

Martín makes his official debut as Chief Conductor in the Season Opening Gala, New Beginnings.

The program will feature the world premiere of Yorta Yorta composer Deborah Cheetham’s Baparripna, with Kalkadunga Yidaki master William Barton, alongside Haydn’s evocative depiction of a new day dawning, Symphony No. 6, and Mahler’s awakening of nature from a long winter sleep, Symphony No.1.

Martín, who shot to worldwide attention as a conductor following a prominent career as an elite flautist, first came to the MSO as a guest conductor two years ago.

“From the first rehearsal it was love at first sight,” he said. “I loved the sound of the MSO from the very first chord at the first rehearsal we shared in 2019.”

“Since then, the people of Melbourne and Victoria have made me feel at home, and I am looking forward to conducting this magnificent orchestra for the first time in my official capacity as Chief Conductor.”

While in lockdown in 2021, Martín explored Australia’s relationship with the past and its First Nations people before inviting Cheetham to write a new piece for his opening concert on the theme of morning. The title of Cheetham’s new composition Baparripna is Yorta Yorta for dawn.

“William Barton is a very well-known Australian yidaki (didgeridoo) player and also a composer. The multi-talented Deborah Cheetham AO is, among other roles, the MSO First Nations Creative Chair. Bringing together two First Nations artists who perform at the highest levels but have never worked together before is really very exciting!” said Martín.

Audiences will also get to peek behind the curtain and gain a unique insight into the relationship between conductor and orchestra when Martín conducts the MSO in an intimate open rehearsal at Hamer Hall on Thursday 24 February.

On Thursday 3 March, Martín will lead the Orchestra in the first of the MSO at Hamer Hall Series – Bartók and Beethoven.

The rich, full-bodied repertoire will feature Tasmanian composer Maria Grenfell’s Fanfare for a City, which celebrates the centenary of the Federation of Australia, followed by Bartók’s exciting and passionate Concerto for Orchestra, programmed by Martín to shine a light on the many brilliant orchestra members rather than an individual soloist. Rounding out the program is an MSO favourite, Beethoven’s boisterous yet elegant Seventh Symphony.

Martín will also take the Orchestra into regional Victoria with a spectacular program, featuring Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, at the Mildura Arts Centre on Saturday 5 March.

In addition to his titled role with the MSO, Jaime Martín is currently Music Director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, where his appointment was recently extended for an additional five years. He is also Chief Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony - the top orchestra in Ireland, the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of  Gävle Symphony Orchestra and was recently announced as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España (Spanish National Orchestra) for the 22/23 season.

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