The word is out and Spirit is a hit! Our mammoth 120-piece orchestra, joined by Numbulwar local Don Nunggarrgalu (Northern Territory), soared as they tackled symphonic works of old and new at Perth Concert Hall this past Sunday (30 May 2021). Seesaw‘s Claire Coleman writes:

Yuwani begins with a kind of verse-chorus structure, and each time a theme returns the orchestration is fuller and more complex. WAYO’s execution of the work’s increasing intensity is flawless. When Nunggarrgalu sings, he rests one hand on the microphone stand and the other on his heart, tapping his foot where the vocal rhythms sync up with timpani and bass drum. A whirling instrumental including some call-and-response style writing between Nunggarrgalu’s lambirlpil and the strings is brought to a close with the return of the vocal.

In Yuwani’s final climax, the orchestra meets Nunggarrgalu at the top of his range and volume, in a moment that feels simultaneously empty and full, making me think of loss and restoration, and tightly connecting soloist, orchestra, conductor, composer, audience, Noongar and Numbulwar communities.

After interval the orchestra return with conductor Jon Tooby, himself a WAYO alumni, to perform Gustav Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 6. The symphony clocks in at 80 minutes, a taxing ask of even seasoned players, but there is no doubt that WAYO is up to the task.

[…] The orchestra met Mahler’s dramatic needs with speed and control, fierceness and weightiness, lyricism and power.

[…] For current WAYO members, for alumni like Tooby, for new classical composers like Skipworth, and First Nations people keeping culture alive, it is the work of a lifetime.

Read the full review at the link below!