The Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) is an institution that has played a part in the professional development of many musicians including those now part of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

For one very special concert on Friday 26 July, several ANAM alumni, now full time WASO musicians will be joined on stage by some of Australia’s most talented young and emerging artists from ANAM to bring Shostakovich’s massive Symphony No.7  to life. Written for an orchestra that includes eight horns, six trombones, two harps, a piano and a full complement of percussion instruments, Simone Young conducts this special side by side program.

Violinists Semra Lee-Smith, Graeme Norris, Rebecca Glorie, Lucas O’Brien, Christina Katsimbardis and Alexandra Isted along with Benjamin Caddy (Viola), Nicholas Metcalfe (Cello), Chloe Turner (Contrabassoon) and Julia Brooke (Horn) are all former ANAM students. Having the opportunity to perform with some of Australia’s best and brightest young musicians brings back fond memories of their time at ANAM.

When Assistant Concertmaster Semra Lee-Smith attended ANAM in 1995 and 1996, they had just opened and consisted of only short courses. Semra participated in the chamber music courses with her string quartet. In 1995 she worked with Istvan Parkanyi and in 1996 had lessons with the Arditti Quartet and Hatto Beyerle.

Christina Katsimbardis studied at ANAM in 2005 then again in 2009-2010, “ANAM taught me how to sight-read anything that's put in front of me, a lot of new music techniques and skills, chamber music and how to not go insane before a major concert or recital”


For Alexandra Isted, the concept of side by side performances is a familiar one, having had the opportunity to participate in them with both the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras during her time at ANAM, “They were invaluable opportunities, there was a whole world of orchestral etiquette that I didn't know about and I really started to understand the level of preparation that goes on behind the scenes before rehearsals even begin.”

Alexandra believes the side by side format is the perfect training ground for orchestral work, “It’s really nice because your friends and colleagues are there, so you don't feel thrown in the deep end by yourself, which you can definitely feel when you start working with a new orchestra and don't know anybody!”

Julia Brooke found ANAM to be a whole new world, “It really is like no other institution in the country, and worldwide as well. It’s unlike a university because of the size of the place and the unique learning environment.”

So what makes this concert so special? “The relationships forged by Simone Young with WASO and ANAM will come together very meaningfully in Side by Side” according to Semra, “I feel there will be a shared understanding in music making and a wonderful opportunity for us to interact with current ANAM students.”

For Nicholas Metcalfe it’s all about, “Seeing and feeling the energy created by the mix of ANAM alumni, current ANAM artists, and other WASO players. My guess is it'll be electric.”


Side by Side
Friday 26 July – 7.30pm
Perth Concert Hall

Tickets at


ANAM and Simone Young are supported by the Minderoo Foundation.

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