Viola Martin Butler’s farewell performance

28 Jun 2021
  • Meet the Artists
by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Viola Martin Butler’s farewell performance

I’m finishing my orchestral career at the end of this week with a performance of Sibelius’s 2nd Symphony. When the ascending three note theme in the ‘finale’ rises from the ashes of the preceding movement it promises to be, in a very personal way, a triumphant finish to the wonderful time I have had playing with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for the last 31 years. 

Back in 1990 a friend in the UK told me what to expect moving from Europe to Australia. You fly all that way – a ‘groggy, elongated day’ according to Peter Conrad – only to arrive at a city that seems to replicate the one you just left behind. I was initially disappointed with the “Englishness” of it all but I was also amused that people drank water that came off the roof and drove into a bottle-shop and got a carton of beer handed through the window without getting out of the car.

Of course, Adelaide has changed immeasurably since then (although we still have drive-in bottle-shops and rainwater tanks). It has shaken off its English provincialism and become a beautiful, liveable city with a welcoming Mediterranean climate. The ASO has also changed. We are more embedded into the community, we take more risks, and we take music education very seriously. We have always played a lovely mix of styles – a few weeks of ballet, a few operas, pops concerts and our main subscription series. Now we also do interesting projects such as a program of music solely by women composers, or a series of concerts for people to lie on mats and meditate.

I always like to remind listeners that the word “symphony'” literally means ‘sounding together’ and that playing together is all about teamwork. To perform well as a team you have to have the trust and respect of your colleagues and I have always felt that with our orchestra we are, indeed, one big family. This is what I will miss most of all!

See Martin perform in his final concert this weekend at Symphony Series 3

Martin Butler with his wife, Principal 1st Violin Shirin Lim, and son casual percussion Sammi Butler
Martin Butler with Principle Contra Bassoon Jackie Newcomb
Martin Butler with his wife Shirin Lim

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