In 1990, with the opening of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith and in recognition of support from Penrith City Council, the orchestra changed its name from the Western Philharmonic to the Penrith Symphony Orchestra (PSO).
The first subscription series was presented in 1991 and the orchestra received funding from the NSW Government, fostering its further development.
In 2000 the PSO received the inaugural Community Orchestra of the Year Award from The Orchestras of Australia Network for its work in extending the public’s perception of orchestras.
In 2018 the PSO celebrated 30 years as a community orchestra.
Internationally renowned conductor, composer and aranger Paul Terracini, is Artistic Director of the Penrith Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership the PSO has continued to expand its scope and profile as a leading performing arts organisation.
Over the years PSO has welcomed the talents of many guest conductors.
These have included:
Graham Abbott, Stoyan Assenov, John Buckley, Bransby Byrne, Marie-Louise Catsalis, George Ellis, Alan Foster, Simon Kenway, Sadaharu Muramatsu, Guy Noble, John Ockwell, Sarah Penicka-Smith, Harry Spence-Lyth, Luke Spicer, Simon Thew, Steve Watson, Sarah-Grace Williams, Lyn Williams.
Robert van Gend
Today, the orchestra’s subscription concerts attract large audiences, many of whom have attended performances throughout its 30-year history.
The annual program presents the largest classical music season in Western Sydney. In recent years this has included operatic performances including Carmen and annual Opera Gala concerts.
Since 2004 PSO has presented family-friendly performances, including popular Sunday morning children’s concerts (“Pops for Tots”).
The orchestra is proud to have a number of founding members still performing regularly.
The orchestra has engaged in many collaborations, including the Pacific Opera, Opera Australia and leading big-band musicians.
An annual performance celebrates the winner of the Sydney Conservatorium High School concerto competition and presents new works by winners of the Jenny Bounds Young Composer Award and the Western Sydney University Composition Competition.
Longstanding annual collaborations with local choirs have included several landmark performances; notably, the PSO 25th anniversary concert and the 25th anniversary of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.
Having established a strong reputation for fostering
young talent and emerging artists, PSO concerts frequently include guest artists and musicians with national and international experience.
In 2015, Penrith Symphony Orchestra formed a partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and The Joan to establish the Penrith Strings.
In 2018 this highly successful programme was expanded to include winds, brass and percussion, creating the Penrith Youth Orchestra.
The youth orchestral training program, supported by the
Crown Resorts Foundation’s Western Sydney Arts Initiative, provides training and mentoring and is creating pathways for young musicians.
The Festival Chorus welcomes talented and experienced singers keen to participate in one-off choral projects. The Chorus premiered in 2019 with the PSO performance of Bizet’s Carmen.