The Northern Rivers Symphony Orchestra is a unique, premier community orchestra in regional Australia. The orchestra has been delighting musical audience in the Gold Coast – Tweed region since the early 1990s. Over the years, the NRSO has performed a range of concerts from chamber ensembles to full-scale ballet productions. Guest artists who have appeared with the NRSO include pianist Simon Tedeschi, harpist Sebastien Lipman, tenor Yu Jixing, soprano Rosemary Arthars, cellist Louise King, violinist Warwick Adeney, clarinetist Jason Xanthoudakis and pianist Young-Ah Kim, as well as Gold Coast City Ballet and many others.
The NRSO was founded by its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Barry Singh. Son of a local Indian banana farmer, music was not an encouraged part of his childhood, but Barry always had a wish to conduct his own orchestra one day. With determination, Barry studied violin through high school and continued his musical education at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Although Barry was forced to return home after the death of his father, he kept his passion for music alive by teaching violin and viola and pursuing his vision of an orchestra. In October 1993, that dream became a reality. From its original 18 members, the NRSO now draws as many as 60 players from as far afield as Lismore, Brisbane and Toowoomba, and adopted its current name in 1999.
The journey of Mr Barry Singh and the NRSO, from its humble beginnings to its glorious performance at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in 2004, was so extraordinary that it featured twice in the ABC’s award-winning program, Australian Story (“Mr Singh’s Opus”, 26th July 2004, and “A Night Like This”, 3rd October 2005).