Sydney Wind Symphony (SWS) has a long and established history. Being an A Grade concert band, SWS plays a broad and challenging repertoire and has busy schedules, performing at community and civic events, delivering an annual concert programme, participating in competitions and touring.
1985 – City of Sydney Youth Festival Concert Band
The band originated when the Council of the City of Sydney endorsed a proposal by Victor Grieve to form the band as a special activity for the International Year of Youth. Approximately 65 young musicians were selected, performing with great distinction at the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Town Hall.
Musical Director(s): Victor Grieve
1986 – City of Sydney Bicentennial Concert Band
The ensemble sought the support of the Council for the band’s continuance, with the aim of performing at events leading up to and during Australia’s 200th birthday celebrations. In the following years it visited Sydney’s sister city, Portsmouth (UK) as a part of a two week tour of the United Kingdom and France, and took part in the British Celebrations commemorating the sailing of the First Fleet to Australia in 1787. It later toured San Francisco (USA), Calgary (Canada) and Nagoya (Japan).
Musical Director(s): Victor Grieve, Harold Pollard
1989 – The City of Sydney Concert Band
From 1989 the ensemble, described in 1992 as, “the musical voice of our city” by Alderman Frank Sartor, Lord Mayor of Sydney, was known as The City of Sydney Concert Band and represented the city at a number of civic functions, including the Lord Mayor’s charity concert, the arrival and departure of the QE2, the arrival of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Sydney Town Hall and the 60th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 1992 it undertook a three week European tour which included an appearance at World Expo ’92 in Seville (Spain).
Musical Director(s): Michael Butcher
1999 – City of Sydney Wind Ensemble
In 1999 the band changed its name to the City of Sydney Wind Ensemble and continued, this time, without the sponsorship of the Council of the City of Sydney. The ensemble competed regularly in the Open A Grade Concert Band Competition and was declared National Champion in 2000 and 2004 and New South Wales State Champion in 2003 and 2005.
The band undertook a short tour of New Zealand in 2002.
Musical Director(s): John Buckley, Steven Hillinger
2008 – Sydney Wind Symphony
Sydney Wind Symphony celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015 by being invited to perform the Australian premier of Symphony No. 2 by the eminent European composer for concert band, Jacob de Haan, competing in the Open A Grade Centenary of ANZAC National Band Championships, and undertaking a tour of New South Wales. This was followed up by a 30 year reunion concert and party at Club Willoughby on Nov 28, 2015. Some ex-members played for the entire concert, while a few joined the band for a few pieces at the end of the concert.
Musical Director(s): John Buckley, Lloyd Edge (guest), Mark Brown, Fiona Lucas (current).
2011 – Sydney Youth Wind Symphony
Sydney Youth Wind Symphony was founded to provide young musicians with the opportunity to expand upon the school band programme and to access a broad and challenging repertoire in the company of like-minded students.
The ensemble was awarded Gold in the 2013 Yamaha Music Festival, just two years after being founded.
SYWS ceased as an ensemble around mid-2015.
Musical Director(s): Peter Eagling, Kate Lord