Live Review: Josh Pyke With Sydney Symphony Orchestra

1 May 2015 | 4:23 pm | Amy Summer

"This beautiful, memorable evening ended in a well-deserved standing ovation."

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“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do musically.” 

Yet by God, he rose to the challenge. Josh Pyke looked dapper in skinny jeans and a suit jacket, surrounded by members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the illustrious Sydney Opera House. Collaborating with ten young and emerging composers to create new arrangements of his songs (even a new one from his upcoming album), the results proved magnificent.

During the show Pyke strummed his acoustic guitar and appeared highly focused, maybe even a little nervous. He later admitted this concentration is necessary because he can’t read or write music. You couldn’t help but admire his humility, and the musical rewards that can be gained through collaboration and stepping out of your comfort zone. With the help of the orchestra and collaborating composers, these new permutations of Pyke’s songs sounded rich, reinvigorated and totally captivating.

Like his songs, the show itself told the story about his personal journey: “I wrote this song about ten years ago before I even thought I’d get anywhere as a musician. To be performing it here tonight is incredible.” He was talking about Middle Of The Hill, the song that began his rise to fame. In its new form, the song was a spellbinding union of lyrical storytelling and orchestral sophistication. 

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This beautiful, memorable evening ended in a well-deserved standing ovation. Josh Pyke, thank you for releasing your songs into the world and allowing them to mature, transform and take on new meaning.