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19 May 2016

Media releases

Renowned world music orchestra to showcase refugee talent at New Beginnings

The Sydney World Music Chamber Orchestra (SWMCO) will take to the stage as the headline act at the New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival on June 18, bringing together the orchestra’s 11 performers who come from as many different countries.

With a strong focus on new music that challenges the norms of Eastern and Western traditions, SWMCO artistic director Richard Petkovic said the orchestra showcased the talents of refugee artists and highlighted the benefits of working collaboratively with people from different backgrounds.

This had an important role to play in shifting negative perceptions about multiculturalism and encouraging people to embrace diversity, he added.

“There is so much rubbish out there about multiculturalism, and yet there are so many hidden treasures. We need to give light to the artists that are hidden away in Western Sydney and showcase our diversity which should be the envy of the world,” he said.

“Great music brings people together and it can help to transform ourselves into better people.”

As part of a dynamic line up of performers and artists at New Beginnings 2016, SWMCO will combine an eclectic mix of cultural music from Mongolia, East Turkistan, Vietnam, China, Mexico and Indigenous Australia to create new Australian music that explores different cultures, faiths and genres.

Including a number of performers from refugee backgrounds, Mr Petkovic said the orchestra encompassed the themes of the New Beginnings festival: hope, unity and new beginnings.

“Featuring some of the best ‘world’ musicians in Sydney, SWMCO melds classical strings, Dervish rhythms, Latin Samba and intimate melodies to smash conservative music conventions and create a dynamic journey that changes the internal chemistry of the listener,” Mr Petkovic said.

SSI Arts & Culture Program Coordinator, and New Beginnings festival producer, Carolina Triana said the festival provided a unique opportunity for everyday Australians to gain an insight to the unique talents of artists and performers from refugee backgrounds.

“Refugee communities have so much to contribute to Australian society such as unique skills, cuisines and cultures. New Beginnings brings these talents to the foreground and encourages intercultural understanding among the broader community,” she said.

The New Beginnings: Refugee Arts & Culture Festival is a free, family friendly event that will be held at a number of locations throughout Sydney as part of Refugee Week.

Starting with a one-day festival at Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour on June 18, New Beginnings will also feature an art exhibition at Chrissie Cotter Gallery in Marrickville from June 17–26.

Media are invited to attend the Sydney World Music Chamber Orchestra media rehearsal on Wednesday May 25 from 7pm at Keynote Rehearsal Studios, 11/378 Parramatta Road, Homebush West.

For more information about New Beginnings, visit

For more information about Sydney World Music Chamber Orchestra, visit

New Beginnings 2016 is produced by SSI and supported by Marrickville Council, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Multicultural NSW and Allianz.


Media queries:

SSI Communications Coordinator, Louise Wallace, 0488 680 255, or (02) 8799 6741

SSI Communications Assistant, Hannah Gartrell, 0488 680 287, or (02) 8799 6740

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