Ode to Joy

“Shout Shout, Up with your song”

The March of the Women

The critic George Bernard Shaw told Ethel Smyth that her ‘magnificent’ Mass would ‘stand up in the biggest company!’ and we wholeheartedly agree.

For this Festival Chorus concert in collaboration with Sydney Philharmonic Choirs, we’ve paired Smyth’s fiercely passionate creation for choir and orchestra with Beethoven’s mighty ‘Ode to Joy’ finale from his Ninth Symphony. It’s a chance to experience two impressively defiant personalities who, each in their own way, pursued grand visions and broke new ground with music that speaks powerfully of struggle and triumph.

With the ‘Ode to Joy’ Beethoven gave the world an anthem to ‘universal brotherhood’, an expression of freedom as well as joy. At the other end of the 19th century, Dame Ethel (the first female composer to be so honoured) was also a vocal champion of women’s rights and the suffrage movement – the universal sisterhood, in other words. Who better to compose the suffragette anthem, The March of the Women, with its bold words of hope? ‘Nought can ye win but by faith and daring’ – we think Beethoven would have agreed.

Mass in D major
The March of the Women (Suffragette Song)

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Consecration of the House – Overture
‘Ode to Joy’ – Choral finale from Symphony No.9


Elizabeth Scott conductor
Bronwyn Douglass soprano
Helen Sherman mezzo-soprano
Bradley Daley tenor
Michael Honeyman baritone
Festival Chorus
The Sydney Youth Orchestra
with members of the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra

              Elizabeth Scott 

Elizabeth Scott is a highly skillful choral conductor who has led Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ young adult choir to great success since 2008. A former SPC Assistant Chorus Master (2006–2008) and Acting Music Director (2013), she is also a lecturer in conducting and the Choral Director at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney, and regularly conducts the NSW Public School Singers. Since 2009 she has been the Choral Conductor for the Schools Spectacular, and is the conductor of the NSW Public School Singers for the Arts Unit, NSW Department of Education. Elizabeth is a true leader of the next generation of choral singers.

After graduating from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1995, she completed postgraduate studies in choral conducting, vocal performance and aural training in Hungary and Germany. Through Symphony Australia’s Conductor Development Program she has worked with the Queensland, Adelaide and Melbourne symphony orchestras and Orchestra Victoria, among others, and was awarded the 2008 Sydney Choral Symposium Foundation Choral Conducting Scholarship. Elizabeth completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting in 2021.

She is a regular chorus master for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and has prepared choirs for international conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Simone Young and David Robertson. She also regularly works with Gondwana Choirs and Cantillation.

In 2017, Elizabeth became the first Australian woman to conduct SPC’s Messiah concerts at the Sydney Opera House. Recent performance highlights include 2022’s Mozart: Requiem & Revelations and Bach Mass in B Minor, 2021’s Berliner Messe and St John Reimagined, 2020’s Considering Matthew Shepherd, and Music at the Movies in 2019. She is a passionate champion of contemporary composers such as Eric Whitacre, Arvo Pärt, Ola Gjeilo and Ēriks Ešenvalds, and Australian composers such as Paul Stanhope, Joseph Twist, Brooke Shelley, Matthew Orlovich and Sally Whitwell.

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