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Mission Statement

The Adelaide Wind Orchestra (AWO) seeks to unite, educate, challenge, and enrich the South Australian public through the engaging and transformative power of music.


  • Driven by a love for the symphonic wind ensemble, AWO presents professional performances that advance the awareness, aesthetic, and artistic appreciation of the medium to the general public, whilst supporting its growth and development across the wider musical community.


  • Founded by graduates of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, AWO connects distinguished alumni with professional, pre-professional and dedicated amateur wind, brass and percussionist who strive to perform music to a high standard of excellence.


  • AWO performs, records, and promotes works by both emerging and established Australian composers, with a special focus on supporting South Australian composition in partnership with the Elder Conservatorium of Music’s composition faculty.


Established in 2012, AWO was founded by alumni of the Elder Conservatorium Wind Orchestra who sought to continue and progress the legacy of that ensemble’s distinguished director, the late Robert ‘Bob’ Hower (1953-2019). 

Under the initial leadership of clarinettist, conductor, and educator, Peter Handsworth, AWO quickly established itself as one of Australia’s foremost symphonic wind ensembles. 

Following Peter’s departure in 2015, the orchestra worked closely with some of Australia’s leading wind and orchestral conductors, including Dr. Luke Dollman, Dr. John Lynch, Matt Klohs, and David Polain, before appointing Bryan Griffiths as Principal Conductor in 2019.

 AWO has featured local, national and international artists such as Jamie Adam (percussion), Celia Craig (oboe), Peter Duggan (cor anglais), Andy Firth (clarinet), Elizabeth Layton (violin),  Owen Morris (trumpet), Andrew Penrose (percussion), Colin Prichard (trombone), Konstantin Shamray (piano), David Khafagi (trumpet), Sami Butler (percussion), and Gill Sullivan (piano).

AWO has engaged in a significant commissioning of Australian compositions, and have premiered Australian compositions by Anne Cawrse, Leah Blankendaal, Rachel Bruerville, Martin Cheney, Holly Harrison, Connor Fogarty, David John Lang, and Cassie To, as well as giving the South Australian premieres of Australian works by Katia Beaugeais, Jodie Blackshaw, Nigel Butterley, Ross Edwards, Melody Eötvös, Matthew Hindson, and Natalie Williams.

​The orchestra has also presented the Australian premiere of compositions by Steven Bryant, Michael Colgrass, Roshanne Etezady, Julie Giroux, Ida Gotkovsky, Alan Hovhaness, Jess Langston-Turner, Christian Lindberg, John Mackey, David Maslanka, Scott McAllister, Stephen Montague, Oscar Navarro, Kathryn Salfelder, Aulis Sallinen, Frank Ticheli, Omar Thomas, Joan Tower, Geirr Tveitt, Alfred Uhl, Sam Young and Ellen Taafe Zwilich.

In 2024, AWO released their debut album on digital platforms titled ‘Tangent’, a showcase of recent Australian compositions for winds. We continue our championing of Australian music with our debut at the WASBE International conference in Gwangju, South Korea, in July 2024.

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