On 20 July Umberto Clerici and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra give the world premiere of Matthew Hindson’s Dancing with Dinosaurs at the Sydney Opera House. It appears as part of The Symphonic World of Dance, part of the SSO’s series of family concerts.

The 6-minute piece was made possible through the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 50 Fanfares Project and was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. It opens with dense cross-rhythms across the full orchestra, before a flourish introduces a driving rhythmic motif, underpinned by a heavy bass line and shredding violins. The music dances and grooves, with the harmonic and rhythmic tension rising to a series of climaxes, with the infectious music spreading across the orchestra; the score has notable spotlight moments for timpani and tuba – suggesting, perhaps, the powerful and lumbering prehistoric beasts of the title.

The Sydney Symphony have been longstanding supporters of Hindson’s music. In May this year they included the ‘Snakepit’ movement from Dangerous Creatures in another series of family concerts, Hindson’s 20-minute zoological suite for orchestra with optional narrator, written for the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008, and a work they have performed on numerous occasions. In 2011 they commissioned and premiered Hindson’s Concerto for Two Pianos with Pascal and Ami Rogé, conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy; in 2008 they did likewise with Kalkadungu, his collaboration with William Barton, a 20-minute five-movement work for orchestra, electronics and a soloist who sings and plays electric guitar and didjeridu.

On 28 June musicians of the Sydney Conservatorium, where Hindson has taught since 2015, premiered a saxophone orchestra version of Whitewater. The 18-minute work (commissioned by Faber Music as part of its Millennium Series) was originally scored for twelve solo strings and premiered in London in 2000 by Scottish Ensemble conducted by Charles Hazelwood; as its title suggests, the music evokes the exhilarating rushing of water in creeks, rivers, and streams around rocks and other obstacles, twisting and turning throughout three sections of music that is predominantly fast. This new saxophone orchestra version will also be presented at Eurosax 2024 Trento, the European Saxophone Congress meeting, in July 2024, as part of the orchestra’s European tour.