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Perth's newest symphony orchestra gets a rev-up

High performance cars and classical music will come together for the next three years in Perth.

Automotive group AHG has signed on as the foundation partner of Western Australia's newest classical music troupe – the Perth Symphony Orchestra.

PSO was founded in November 2010 when two friends – founding member of classical crossover band Bond, Bourby Webster, together with one of Australia's best female conductors Jessica Gethin, discussed the local classical music scene over a glass of wine.

"We've seen the need for a second symphony orchestra to exist for years. We have a wonderful state orchestra but there are lots of opportunities here for the outdoor concerts, touring things and new opportunities that aren't really taken," Ms Gethin told WAtoday.com.au.

"As a conductor, and as an Australian conductor who wants to work here and not have to go overseas, I've been saying to Bourby 'let's start a new orchestra' we knew that there was a huge database of players [recording and trained artists] who were in and moving back to Perth and didn't want to do full time symphony work, but still wanted to have the opportunity to play professionally."

Ms Webster now manages a database of 450 musicians, while the Perth Symphony Orchestra engages with 100 players at any one time.


PSO launched at Symphony by the Bay – the company's inaugural concert at the University of Western Australia's University Club before playing to a packed-out crowd at the Worlds Festival ISAF Sailing Championships last year.

Ms Gethin and PSO then accompanied Marina Prior and David Hobson at this year's black-tie Leeuwin Concert.

Which is where AHG managing director Bronte Howson considered a partnership.

The idea popped into his head as he and his wife sat in the crowd at the outdoor concert in Margaret River back in February.

"I think anyone who saw their performance with Marina Prior and David Hobson had to be impressed," Mr Howson said.

"We had some initial discussions with Bourby about the orchestra's requirements to reach its goals and we realised that there was an opportunity for AHG to be part of something we believe will be really important in the Western Australian community."

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