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WA Social Distancing Orchestra joins viral response with Bit o’Bolero on YouTube

WA Symphony Orchestra has “gone viral” with music posted online to YouTube.

The setting of Ravel’s Bolero by Simon Kruit, Bit o’Bolero, involves 50 musicians connecting remotely to maintain social distancing, in a virtual flashmob performance.

It brings the orchestra to its audience for the first time since Perth Concert Hall was shutdown by the COVID-19 pandemic on March 14.

And they’re calling it the WA Social Distancing Orchestra.


Video editing is by John Keene.

It follows the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra’s flashmob rendition of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony posted to YouTube last week.


Both are popular flashmob works, but Bolero is especially apt as the original introduces the theme gradually through individual instruments, starting with a snare drum.

Bolero is also connected to WASO folklore through a memorable performance in which a cue was missed in the rhythmically hypnotic piece, and continuity was saved by then-principal clarinet Jack Harrison, who leapt in to restore order.

And it concluded WASO’s first concert this year, Summer Classics, on January 31.

WASO also posted on its website a rendition of Massenet’s Meditation from Thais by chief executive Mark Coughlan and concert master Laurence Jackson, curiously poignant in the deserted Concert Hall.


And WASO says there is more to come while the shutdown runs.

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