Media Releases
Published on 30th September 2016

Passengers on today’s QF81 flight from Sydney to Singapore received a “classical” surprise at 36,000 feet, when nine musicians from the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) performed a pop-up concert.

The Symphonic Serenade in the Sky saw a nine-piece AWO ensemble, including a French horn, snare drum, cello, flute, trumpets, and saxophone, serenade fellow passengers with Ravel’s famous musical composition, ‘Bolero’, celebrating the orchestra’s first concert in Singapore this weekend.

The performance for the nearly 300 passengers on board took place shortly after take-off, once the A330-300 aircraft had reached its cruising altitude of 36,000 feet.

Qantas A330 Second Officer Mitch Clark said the crew was thrilled to work with the AWO to bring a truly memorable experience to passengers.

“Australia is lucky to have some of the best musicians in the world,” Second Officer Clark said.

“For the AWO to share their talent with us was a treat not only for the passengers but also for our crew.

“Qantas has always had great in-flight entertainment, but a live performance specially arranged for our passengers is a real high note in my time flying.”

Together with members of the AWO, Qantas also carried nearly 100 instruments, including seven double basses checked as freight and a number of cellos given their own seats. Qantas engineers, pilots, safety and crew worked with the AWO to prepare for the performance, ensuring all in-flight safety requirements were met.

The orchestra received a spontaneous round of applause from passengers and crew at the end of the  five minute show, with encore performances played to each of  the cabins in the aircraft.

Alison Mitchell, Flautist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, said the performance held special significance for multiple reasons.

“As a flautist I have played this famous tune [from Bolero] all over the world – but I never thought I’d get to play it in the sky! It is an extra special performance because my colleagues are all fellow Australians, brought together by the AWO.”

The AWO, which brings together Australia’s very best classical musicians from around the world into a national orchestra, performed in Sydney on 28 September and travelled to Singapore with Qantas to perform at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore on 1 October, 2016.

A video of the AWO Symphonic Serenade in the Sky can be viewed at the link below. Qantas passengers on board QF81 are sharing their experiences on Twitter using #FlyingOrchestra.

Download this for broadcast quality video


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