In conversation with conductor Guy Noble

We sat down with Australian musical composer and conductor, Guy Noble, ahead of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Unwrapped.

Step into the enchanting world of Australian conductor and host, Guy Noble, as he shares insights into leading the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Unwrapped. From his invitation to conduct in Adelaide to the collaborative process of selecting classics, Noble reveals the intricacies of his role—part conductor, narrator, host, and director.

Anticipate festive sing-alongs with timeless carols like “Hark the Herald” and, Noble’s personal favorite, “O Come All Ye Faithful,” plus a uniquely Australian take on the “12 Days of Christmas.”

With the goal of creating a magical experience, Noble envisions a concert that combines laughter, rousing singing, and moments of orchestral beauty. Amid the holiday hustle, he humorously reflects on looking forward to the season’s pause, where emails are forgotten, and focus turns to family and the important things in life.

Can you tell me a bit about what’s lead you to conducting and hosting the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Unwrapped?

“The ASO asked me” is the quick answer to that question – it’s always great to be invited to Adelaide to take the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for a spin.

Are there any unique aspects to conducting and presenting a Christmas showcase compared to other projects?

Not really – but there are a lot of moving parts in this concert – so I am part conductor, part narrator, part host, part director wrangling it all together into hopefully a pleasing whole. If you are conducting a Beethoven Symphony – you basically just stand there conducting!

How do you go about selecting Christmas classics for the showcase, and what considerations do you keep in mind during this process?

This is a joint project – Nadina Paine from the ASO and I bounce ideas around until we get to what we think will work for the audience and for the orchestra.

What sing-along Christmas Carols should audience members expect?

Hark the herald, O Come all ye Faithful, and I’m working on brand new words for an Aussie version of 12 Days of Christmas.

What’s your favourite Christmas Carol – either to conduct or simply to listen to and enjoy?

I do like O Come All Ye Faithful – particularly in the David Willcocks arrangement which just sounds amazing when you have a full orchestra

What do you hope the audience will take away from Christmas Unwrapped, and how do you aim to create a magical experience for them?

I think a good concert is like a delicious cake (minus the calories). You have all these ingredients and hope that by mixing them well and adding the heat of the audience, it will all come together and rise to the occasion. There will be laughs, there will be rousing singing, there will be lots of quiet moments where the beauty of the orchestra will shine through.

Just for fun, what are you looking forward to the most this Christmas season? I could say I was looking forward to it being over, because Christmas can be so fraught!

But I do love how everything shuts down and no-one cares about answering emails, and we focus on family and the important things in life.

Christmas Unwrapped

15th and 16th of December, 2023

Adelaide Festival Theatre

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