Unley Symphony Orchestra - History

Unley Symphony Orchestra

In September 1980, a small group of amateur musicians started to meet informally in a private home in Maylands. They gave their inaugural concert in the Helping Hand Retirement Home in North Adelaide just before Christmas that year.

During 1981 the orchestra moved to St. Saviours Anglican Church at Glen Osmond, assumed the name 'The Glen Osmond Chamber Orchestra', acquired a professional conductor and defined their objectives.

1983 was an important year in the development of the orchestra. In that year the Unley City Council agreed to provide rehearsal facilities, and the orchestra changed its name to Unley Chamber Orchestra to reflect this invaluable support.

In 1983 Peter Webb also accepted a one-year appointment as Conductor and Musical Director, a position which has been renewed every year since. Under Peter's guidance the orchestra has performed the major works of classical repertoire and, in faithful observance of one of its prime objectives, it has given many talented and dedicated student musicians the opportunity to perform as soloists with an orchestra and an appreciative audience.

In July 2003 a decision was made to change the name of the orchestra to Unley Symphony Orchestra. The last concert as the Unley Chamber Orchestra was in August 2003 and the name change was launched at the November 2003 concert.

The orchestra was ably led by Ken Berris for the first ten years, before Joanne Bones took on the leaders role. Her professional approach helped see the string section more than double in size (and strength) before her retirement after nearly 25 years in May 2017. Susan Currie led the orchestra for the first time in November 2017 and has been appointed as leader for the full 2018 season.

The orchestra gave its annual series of concerts at St. Augustines Church next door to the council offices in the heart of Unley for many years, with our final concert at St Augustines in May 2016.

The August and November 2016 concerts were held in Gillingham Hall at Annesley Junior School which is also located in the Unley Council area. The orchestra played a full series of concerts there in 2017, and plans to continue at Annesley in 2018 and beyond.