Jack Symonds is a composer, conductor and pianist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London under Kenneth Hesketh and at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received the University Medal. His stage works represent “a striking and impressive new operatic voice” (Sydney Morning Herald) and he is “one of those performers who seemingly can play anything” (Australian Book Review).
He specialises in the performance of new music, including conducting and playing major stage works by Britten, Benjamin, Janáček, Dusapin, Kurtág, Saariaho, Maxwell Davies, Kancheli, Rihm & Styles, often in their Australian premieres. He has also given the world premieres of Gyger’s Fly Away Peter & Oscar and Lucinda, Finsterer’s Antarctica (with Asko|Schönberg Ensemble) & Biographica, Ricketson’s The Howling Girls and Smetanin’s Mayakovsky.
His recent performances have shown “masterly musicianship, projecting an engrossingly cogent understanding of complexities and expressive purpose” (SMH), the ability to “draw an emotional throughline so clear that every unexpected melodic or dynamic turn feels comfortable and logical” (Timeout), and is “impressive as ever at the piano, creating a vital palette of carefully gradated tone colours.” (Backtrack).
He has performed in and made work for the Holland, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide Festivals, Dark MOFO, Sydney Opera House, Biennale of Sydney, Carriageworks, Melbourne Recital Centre, National Gallery of Australia, among others.
Significant composition premieres include The Shape of the Earth after Patrick White’s Voss, Climbing Toward Midnight, a chamber opera re-imagining the second act of Wagner’s Parsifal, the John Bishop commission for the 2021 Adelaide Festival, a piece for New York’s JACK Quartet, the Dostoevsky opera Notes from Underground, works for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, Ensemble Offspring, Australia Piano Quartet, cellists Patrick Murphy & Timo-Veikko Valve, vocalists Jane Sheldon, Jessica Aszodi, Mitchell Riley, Emily Edmonds & Anna Fraser, the Streeton Trio, ANAM, Phoenix Central Park, a viola d’amore concerto for BIFEM, the Composers Ensemble at Dartington where he studied with Detlev Glanert and a 2015 concert series curated around his music by Affinity Collective which included three premieres.
CD released on Hospital Hill
Watch Jack play 11 songs and song cycles filmed by Phoenix Central Park
View Sydney Chamber Opera past productions
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