Membership is drawn from semi-professional musicians, Conservatorium students, music teachers and experienced amateurs pursuing other careers. The orchestra regularly performs under the direction of local conductors Gary Wain, Simon Reade, Emma McGrath, Greg Stephens and virtuoso violinist Peter Tanfield.
It features and accompanies outstanding local and visiting soloists. Repertoire is drawn from the core classical string and symphonic orchestral canon, music of Australian composers, lesser known contemporary orchestral music, and choral works, and has included premieres.
Highlights in the last few years have included all of the Brandenburg Concerti of J.S. Bach, Carl Rütti’s Requiem with the Loose Canon Chamber Singers, Tippett’s Concerto for Double String Orchestra, Piazzolla’s Four Seasons in Buenos Aires and regular performances as part of the Festival of Voices including Mendelssohn’s Elijah in 2017, the Brahms Requiem in 2018 and in 2019 the Cherubini Requiem. Our 2021 program included the premiere of a symphony by Tasmanian composer Don Kay; a collaboration with saxophonist Jabrah Latham and his quartet Xyris,and an “all female composer program” conducted by TSO concertmaster Emma Magrath.
The HCO generally presents five programs per year in Hobart, and in 2021 included 2 concerts in Launceston.