West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) Timeline

  • Harold Newton

    also known as John Nugent Hayward, his radio name
    he gave concerts fortnighly
    He agreed to make an orchestra with his brother, Percy Newton
  • First Performance

    The orchestra, conducted by Harold 'Duffy' Newton, performed for the first time in the Queens Hall. They played Dvorak Symphony 9, William Tell Overture, three marches and Mr Lionel Carter sang the Lord is my Light by Allitsen. The orchestra was made up of 32 musicians, however did not have a cor anglais or oboe player.
    The 16th of September is generally considered WASO's birthday.
  • The West Australian Reports on the Performance

    The following day of the performance, the West Australian newspaper released a review of the performance. It was positive
  • WASO concerts broadcasted on 6WF

    first contact with wesfarmers
  • Second Performance

    The 'Professional Musicians Orchestra' played again in The Queens Hall, now with 35 players. They played Schuberts Unfinished Symphony, again the William Tell Overture and excerpts from the Nutcracker.
    Count Ercole and his wife spoke to the audience, encouraging them to support the creation of a permanent state orchestra, but was not given much support from government.
  • First Name Change

    Previously known as the professional musicians' orchestra, advertisements changed the name of the orchestra to Perth Symphony Orchestra
  • Period: to

    The Great Depression

    Money was running scarce and had to be used for food and essentials, so there was not a lot of profit and a lot of expenses. After hiring a theatre, and paying other crew members, musicians had 5 shillings.
    Alexander D Ross formed a committee to help the musicians. He helped raise money, and was able to give them the opportunity to play once every fortnight.
  • George Reid

  • His Majesty's Theatre

  • ABC controls orchestra

  • Rival Orchestra - West Australian State Symphony Orchestra

    When it was decided that George Reid was better to conduct the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Harold Newton created a new orchestra named the WA State Symphony Orchestra, and despite the name, it was not declared as the state's permanent state symphony orchestra.
    In the 1934 prospectus for PSO, members promised that they would not in any way help a rival orchestra. Failure to do this would result in being removed from the orchestra.
    WASSO was successful, until 1935 when popularity decreased.
  • Nelson Burton

  • Second Name Change

    A slight name change, from Perth Symphony Orchestra to the ABC (Perth) Symphony Orchestra.
  • Broadcast House

  • Ernest Roberts

  • Period: to


  • government committee made to oversee waso

  • Henri Krips

  • Rudolf Pekarek

  • The West Australian Symphony Orchestra

  • government committee changed name

    now the West australia symphony orchestral subscribers committee
  • Festival of Perth

    the festival of perth starts
    WASO plays in it every year
  • John Farnsworth Hall

  • Thomas Mayer

  • Capitol Theatre was sold and demolition plans

  • UWA's Winthrop Hall

    WASO played here until 1972. It was very unpleasant, not fit for orchestras and small
  • Petiiton for new concert hall for WASO

    over 4,000 signatures
  • Plans for new concert hall

  • Helen Quach was the first female conductor for the ABC

  • Tibor Paul

  • Perth Concert Hall

  • David Measham

  • Internation Society of Music Education (ISME) takes place in Perth

  • 50th Anniversary

    In the same year as WA's 150th anniversary, the ABC recorded a documentary for WASO
  • Albert Rosen

  • Another Grant

    now 65 permanent members
  • WASO's first concerts outside of WA

    on the 11th and 12th in vic concert hall, on the 13th in open-air national theatre
  • A logo competition was held

    winner was Linda Bartholomeusz
  • in the late 1980's subscribers committee disbanded

  • Subscription Concerts now known as the Master's Series

  • First Symphony Under the Stars

    not free but popular
    in City Beach Quarry Amphitheatre
  • WASO chorus formed

    almost 200 singers
    many singers previously in festival chorus
  • Jorge Mester

  • Friends of the WASO

    in late 1980's, they began. They hosted lots of fundraising for WASO. EG merchandise, breakfast at the zoo, quiznights. Became official body in october 1990
  • WASO increases in size

    after recommendation from Vickery Report, orchestra increased to 90 full-time musicians. Only some players from WA arts orchestra joined the big orchestra and the rest were left unemployed
  • Wesfarmers Arts formal ongoing partnership

  • Vernon Handley

  • Choose your own concert package

    a new creation in which you could attend 4, 6 or 8 concerts of your choice.
  • EChO

    the education chamber orchestra
    introduces young children to music
    has a string quintet, wind quartet, brass quartet, percussion, harp.
  • official board of management

    west australian symphony orchestra holding pty ltd
  • Vladimir Verbitsky

  • Matthias Bamert

  • 75th anniversary commissioning

    15 aussie composers commissioned to compose a 5 minute work each to be played throughout the 75th anniversary year.
  • Side-by-side with WAYO

    it allows the WAYO members to learn from WASO members
    It happens once a year
  • Paul Daniel

  • Composition Project Begins

  • Wesfarmers is WASOS principal partner

  • Crescendo Program

  • The Rusty Orchestra

  • Asher Fisch

  • Concerts cancelled due to covid

  • concerts back

    the first concert included carmina burana
  • WASO in the Community

  • vision purpose and values

    To enrich lives through music.
    Provide the soundtrack to life by creating,
    curating and presenting high quality musical
    and entertainment experiences for the
    enjoyment of all West Australians.