Climate themed opening night of Adelaide Festival

When we discuss ‘Climate Change Solutions’ or ‘Saving the Environment’ we may think of advances in technology, new scientific discoveries or powerful policy changes.

But the truth is, our relationship with our planet today relies on more than just science and technology – it relies on the humanities, the arts, musicians, performers, activists and a whole range of players to make it happen. And that’s where harnessing ‘hearts and minds’ comes into play.

Moved by Australia’s devastating fires and floods of 2019-20, Floods of Fire was conceived by Artistic Director Airan Berg as a community centred project that turns our experiences of climate change into music.

We are lucky enough to have a performance forming part of Floods of Fire taking place as part of the opening night of the Adelaide Festival. The evening features the first performance of the Citizens Orchestra, a landmark community engagement project facilitated by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) under the artistic direction of Airan Berg, and the musical direction of Tim Steiner & Ricardo Baptista.

The 2023 Citizens Orchestra consists of ASO musicians, local South Australian artists, Quirkestra (Tutti Arts), amateur musicians, and community members who have never before been involved in music. The unique ensemble has been created through an exciting collaborative & community-centric creative process and innovative participatory workshops. The concert includes first performances of their original collaborative compositions, inspired by the South Australian landscape, communities, and experiences.

For the event we’ve also contributed research thinking from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute to help curate some of the language heard in the works. Listen out for the words about climate risk.

Come along to the opening night of the Adelaide Festival to hear the Citizens’ Orchestra and Floods of Fire.  It’s a free public event in Adelaide’s Elder Park: Friday 3rd March at 7.30pm with the headline act Spinifex Gum and the ASO at 8:30pm.

You can also listen to a podcast with Airan Berg and Professor Anna Goldsworthy, Director of the Elder Conservatorium at the University of Adelaide, about capturing hearts and minds to communicate complex science messages and floods of fire here.

Photo caption: Rehearsal of Citizens Orchestra. Sat in foreground Ruth Mackenzie (Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival) and Nescha Jelf (ASO), standing behind them Airan Berg, and with music directors Tim Steiner (UK conducting) and Ricardo Baptista (Portugal, on keyboards behind the front row guitars in red shirt).

Blog text by Andrew Lowe, Ramona Dalton and Tilly Balding.

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