The Bendigo Symphony Orchestra is looking to become regional Australia's premier orchestra with a new music director, committee and program for 2019.
"It's an exciting time," committee member and flautist Nigel McGuckian said. "The whole theme is to contribute to the community and to show them what we can do.
"We want to make the community proud that we're the tenth biggest city in Australia and we can support a strong, fully-blown orchestra."
The BSO has developed a new strategic plan for the next five years where the focus will be on attracting new audiences, increasing their presence in the community, and expanding their performance repertoire.
A key part of that new plan was to outline their first annual set program.
The first concert will be at St Pauls Cathedral on Palm Sunday, where 12-year-old violin prodigy Edward Walton will come down from Melbourne to perform with the group.
"He is quite extraordinary," Mr McGuckian said. "He's a lovely kid too, not pretentious at all."
Mr Walton started learning the violin at three-years-old and has already received accolades from around the world.
He won the Jeunes Artistes Musicales du Centre Under 19s competition in France earlier this year and came first in a concerto competition in the United States last week.
He will also perform at London's Royal Albert Hall later this month.
"They're always great performance experiences to have, especially across the world," Mr Walton said. "It's always different venues and that really kind of differentiates between how you play.
"It's really a good learning experience."
The 12-year old performed the Mendelsohn Violin concerto with the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra last year to standing ovation. This year he will perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.
"It's a great orchestra and a great conductor," Mr Walton said. "It's always great to have the chance to perform with the orchestra."
The BSO also has a guest conductor for the performance, Dr Michael Lichnovsky.
Dr Lichnovsky holds advanced degrees in conducting from the Victoria College of the Arts and saxophone performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa.
He works as a guest lecturer and conductor throughout Victoria and is currently employed as a teacher at Girton Grammar School.
"He is such a great teacher," Mr McGuckian said. "He's teaching the orchestra how to play with a whole different dynamic.
"That's what a community orchestra is about - to aspire to something really good and to accept that not everyone is perfect."
Following the Palm Sunday performance, the BSO will also play at another two official concerts this year.
The 'From the Screen' event on June 23 will celebrate music from film, television and computer games.
The final performance will be the Young Person's Concerto Concert on October 13 where young performers from Central Victoria will be featured.
Interim music director Cally Bartlett said having a set program was key to the orchestra's success.
"It's just about really putting forward as professional front as we can," she said.
"A lot of the big orchestras in Melbourne put together their yearly program and we really wanted to emulate that and say we are Bendigo's premier orchestra, come and see us."
Ms Bartlett is a keen musician herself. She plays the cello and dabbles in the bassoon and clarinet. She has also taught strings and classroom music for the last 12 years.
Ms Bartlett took over the interim music director role following the departure of Rohan Phillips last year. She will be finishing her term later this year.
"We've advertised and we're interviewing people for the director position," Ms Bartlett said. "We're talking heavily to them about our strategic plan and making sure that their vision is aligning with the orchestra's.
"We want it just to continue to flow. That's really important."
Ms Bartlett said she would be staying on the committee after her term finishes.
"I'm quite keen to see that the work that we've started continues," she said.
Mr McGuckian said the orchestra is committed to focus on its future, with plans for a 2020 program already underway.
"We're interested in what the community thinks and what the community wants," Mr McGuckian said.
"The Orchestra has been around a long time and it has a terrific history," he said. "It's a bit of an institution and we want to continue that into the future."
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