MSO chief conductor and artistic director Oleg Caetani will lead concerts in Spain (Castell‹n, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Pamplona, Madrid), Paris, Berlin and Milan. (The last date coincides with the 'Melbourne a Milano' Week celebrating the two cities' Sister City relationship.)
The orchestra last toured Europe in 2000.
The MSO will perform works by Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Australian composer Brett Dean. In Spain and Berlin, violinist Vadim Repin will perform violin concertos by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky; in Paris and Milan, Sarah Chang will be the soloist in Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1.
In Paris, the MSO will perform Stravinsky's Rite of Spring at the same venue (the Th_ê¢tre des Champs-Elys_es) where the work was premiered in 1913. Theirs will be the first concert by an Australian orchestra in the French capital.
Caetani told the Melbourne-based The Age, "I wanted variety, because monotony is not good for the players. The different styles will make the orchestra look good, because they are so flexible," adding that "Australia has such a cultural richness, particularly musically. People here are surprised when I tell them the MSO and SSO are world-class orchestras. It's a pity Australians don't really believe in their own quality."
The orchestra's CEO, Trevor Green, told the paper he thinks the tour will boost the musicians' self-confidence; "Oleg keeps telling them how good they are but I think deep down they don't really believe him."
The Melbourne Symphony is the oldest professional orchestra in Australia. Its first concert took place on December 11, 1906 under the baton of Alberto Zelman, founder of the MSO, who later became the first Australian conductor to conduct the London and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. In 1965 the MSO was the first Australian orchestra to tour internationally, to New Zealand; since then, it has toured the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, western Europe, China, Russia and Japan.