Well 2020 turned out somewhat differently than expected in the heady days of 2019 when I wrote about the anticipated Beethovapalooza in Australian orchestras.
The impact of 2020 had an obvious effect on the operations, livelihoods, and planning of these organisations for 2021. Seasons have been shortened, postponed and thrown around all over the place. These have been written about extensively in many places, and I’m not going to repeat it.
Since my annual count relies on consistent data that can be measured across multiple years, I have not done the standard process for 2021 seasons. Instead, I wrote an essay for Limelight Magazine on trying to discern trends, including Australian music, as orchestras tried to rebuild.
You can read that piece here if you a Limelight subscriber. If you are not, the TL;DR can be found in my closing paragraph:
I started writing with doom and gloom of 2020. Yet I’ve come to an ending that I’ve found slightly surprising: there are artistic green shoots. We should never waste a crisis and while the suffering of 2020 must not be minimised, I have cautious optimism about 2021 for Australian orchestras. With Australian performers and Australian composers, a more meaningful impact with First Nations and improved gender parity in performed works, perhaps we are moving towards a scene that is truly reflective who we are, and how we sound.