What happens when you take a huge name in Australia’s music scene, add 40 more musical talents, then combine them all for two big gigs? In 2023, you get Red Bull Symphonic with Genesis Owusu and the Sydney and Brisbane Symphony Orchestras. The popular series pairs impressive local talents with an orchestral backing, after first debuting in 2022 in the Sunshine State with Goodna rapper Lisi and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In 2023, it’s expanding its shows to New South Wales, too — and making Ghanaian Australian artist Owusu the star.
“If you’ve seen me perform live, you know I love the drama. Bringing out the grandeur in every element,” said Owusu, announcing the gigs.
“What’s grander and more theatrical than a punk-funk-rap enigma backed by a 40-piece orchestra? We getting real thespian out here.”
The 2023 Red Bull Symphonic tour will kick off in Brisbane, at the River City’s Fortitude Music Hall on Friday, March 3, with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra in support. Sydneysiders get their turn on Thursday, March 23 at the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall, with — naturally — the Sydney Symphony Orchestra on hand to assist.
Owusu will also be collaborating with Australian composer and arranger Alex Turley (Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Omega Ensemble, Electric Fields, NGAIIRE), in two shows that promise to combine two different arts worlds — and give his own punk-electronic tracks a new interpretation that even his most ardent fans haven’t experienced.
The multi award-winning performer gets orchestral after a massive couple of years that’ve seen him win triple j’s Album of the Year in 2021 for his debut record Smiling with No Teeth; nab four ARIAs including Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop Release, Best Independent Release and Best Cover Art for the same release; and score 2022 ARIA noms for Best Music Video and Best Independent Release for single ‘GTFO’.
And yes, it’s an excellent time to enjoy classical orchestras in new ways, courtesy of other events like Ministry of Sound Classical and Synthony, plus film-and-music screenings for flicks as diverse as Black Panther, Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, Frozen, The Princess Bride, Home Alone, Toy Story and more.
Wondering what’s in store at Red Bull Symphonic? Check out footage from 2022’s event below:
RED BULL SYMPHONIC WITH GENESIS OWUSU:
Friday, March 3: Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, with the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra
Thursday, March 23: Sydney Opera House, Sydney, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Top image: Bart Celestino.