What is Merge

Merge is a brand new initiative from WA Youth Orchestras nurturing interdisciplinary collaborations between WAYO and other creative industries to further the cultural and performative experience of our members. We personally seek out, commission and produce these collaborations independently, making this a completely unique offering in the Australian arts landscape.

The first of these collaborations combines the awesome force of our 107 piece flagship orchestra with a choreographer, ensemble of dancers, and 25 guest musicians. For this performance, WAYO have personally commissioned up-and-coming home grown choreographer, Scott Elstermann, to compose a dance work to a piece of orchestral music by contemporary Western Australian composer, Rebecca Erin Smith. In celebration of Western Australian stories and home grown talent, this work will bring these disciplines together in a symbiotic exploration of movement and sonority. To partner this work, the orchestra will perform Stravinsky’s enigmatic ballet The Rite of Spring in its totality (a rare occurance in today’s concert halls). Our dancers will return to the stage with fresh new choreography, crafted by Elstermann, bringing to life a contemporary perspective on a historically pivotal work.

Rite & Revolution

7:30pm Saturday 22 January 2022 @ Perth Concert Hall
Proudly fundraising for Support Act, the Music Industry’s charity

Rites, rituals & revolutions. Uniting movement and music in an empowering collaboration, and the first of its kind, the WA Youth Orchestra led by Jon Tooby (Darwin Symphony Orchestra) joins forces with celebrated Perth Choreographer Scott Elstermann in a symbiotic exploration of movement and sonority. A choreographed dance troupe will bring to life Stravinsky’s masterwork the The Rite of Spring and accomplished Western Australian composer Rebecca Erin Smith’s Foreigner or Foreigner. The concert will also feature Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha Overture, Op.30. This show is proudly presented by our Principal Partner, Woodside.

As part of WA Youth Orchestras’ ongoing commitment to pay it forward to our community, we will be donating $5 from every ticket sold for Rite & Revolution to Support Act. Support Act is the Music Industry’s charity, providing crisis relief to artists, crew and music workers across all genres who are unable to work due to illness, injury, a mental health issue or some other crisis, including the impact of COVID-19 on live music.

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The Repertoire


Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Overture to the Song of Hiawatha: Op. 30, No. 3

Composed in 1900



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Romeo & Juliet, Fantasy Overture

Composed in 1880



Rebecca Erin Smith

Foreigner or Foreigner

Composed in 2014



Igor Stravinsky

Rite of Spring

Composed in 1913


The Collaborators

CHOREOGRAPHER Scott Elstermann
An award-winning dancer and choreographer, 2020 WA Young Achiever of the Year for Arts and Culture, and youngest-ever international recipient (and only Australian) of the prestigious Pina Bausch Fellowship for Dance and Choreography, Scott Elstermann has a demonstrated history of creating vibrant and innovative dance works that inspire and delight. He has performed for the Merce Cunningham Trust as well as some of Australia’s leading dance artists including Lucy Guerin Inc., Stephanie Lake Company, Natalie Allen, Annette Carmichael, Shona Erskine, Brooke Leeder & Dancers and Melbourne collective Alice Will Caroline. In 2020, Scott won Best Performer (Male) and Best New Work (‘Act 2, Scenes 1-4’) at the Performing Arts WA Awards. His work ‘Act 2, Scenes 1-4’ was also a finalist for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance’ at the nationally recognised Australian Dance Awards. Read more

COMPOSER Rebecca Erin Smith
R. E. Smith is an award winning Australian composer and interdisciplinary artist who specialises in collaborative media and concert works. She works primarily with large ensembles of acoustic instruments and the human voice, utilising traditional notation alongside multimedia textile graphic scores. Most recently, her work has been internationally premiered in Japan and Singapore with the Orchestra of the Music Makers (SG), Canada and the USA with Phoenix Ensemble, and nationally with the West Australian, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. She has exhibited in masterclasses held by Ensemble Loadbang, ‘cellist Friedrich Gauwerky, and composers Dr Lewis Nielson (Oberlin College), and Dr Robert Cuckson (Curtis Institute, Mannes College). Her collaborative efforts have been presented at the Columbia University Film Festival, Philip K Dick Science Fiction Film Festival and Savannah Film Festival (among others), and in a theatrical capacity at Schapiro Theatre, NYC. Smith delivered a TEDx talk in August 2018 which discussed the role of art in the modern world, asking the question: how much art do we consume on a daily basis and do we really value the people who create it?

Read more about Rebecca

CONDUCTOR Jon Tooby
Jonathan Tooby is currently Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Darwin Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2018. He has conducted the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra, WA Youth Orchestras, WA Ballet and WA Opera.
Jonathan has pioneered many successful collaborative projects and has partnered with independent artists and performance groups to create new works and performance experiences. In 2021, Jonathan conducted the Darwin Symphony Orchestra at Barunga Festival, one of the Northern Territory’s most iconic indigenous cultural events featuring art, music and sport.

Read more about Jonathan

LIGHTING DESIGNER Alex Spartalis
This is Alex’s first collaboration with WAYO. While initially studying at high school, he was involved in the theatre program, learning to design lighting for school musicals and has since worked professionally for many clients throughout the state, including the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Perth Symphony Orchestra and Channel Seven. He has also worked for Perth Festival as a production engineer and designer, as well as a student mentor in technical theatre with Wesley College, Aquinas College and Hale School.

ENSEMBLE Dancers
Our esteemed ensemble was selected from an Australia-wide open application process. We are so fortunate to have such incredible talent join us on stage for this blockbuster production!

Briannah Davis’s Biography
Giorgia Schijf’s Biography
Ella Watson-Heath’s Biography
Ellie Matzer’s Biography
Meg Scheffers’ Biography
Jo Omodei’s Biography