The usual buskers with acoustic guitars at Railway Square, the pianists in Pitt Street Mall and the wannabe-rappers in Circular Quay are taking a break and making way for young orchestral musicians for this year’s The Big Busk.

The event – by Sydney Youth Orchestras – will involve more than 600 young musicians, aged between six and 24 years old, from across the state performing music on Sydney’s streets. They’ll play for 10 hours at various locations in the city, including Martin Place, Pitt Street Mall, the Queen Victoria Building, Circular Quay, Grosvenor Place and Hyde Park Barracks.

“[We’re] taking the concert halls to the streets to celebrate our young musicians,” Chris North, creative director of SYO, tells Broadsheet. “They love performing and especially in front of a willing audience.”

The musicians will perform as soloists, quartets, ensembles and even a full 70-piece philharmonic for a full day of shows.

Expect to hear a variety of tunes throughout the day, from compositions by Beethoven and Mendelssohn to showtunes from The Greatest Showman and even pop hits from Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish.

“Orchestral music belongs to everyone. It’s in the movies we love, our top 40 songs, the rock classics,” North says. “There’s something unique in watching many different instruments come together as one to play a piece of music.”

The event is in support of SYO’s initiative to purchase and save “endangered” instruments – those that have been declining in popularity among children learning to play music, such as the viola, double bass or tuba.

“Fewer children are learning to play them, and even fewer reach an elite level in order to perform in an orchestra later in life,” North says. “That means it won’t be long until there will be no one with the skill to teach the next generation of musicians.”

One of the biggest costs associated with learning an instrument is the price of the instrument itself, so with this program the SYO aims to make it easier for young people to learn instruments by using ones the foundation already has.

North says it’s a common misconception that orchestral music is reserved for children from wealthy families. It used to be the case due to the high price of instruments and training, but that’s what SYO has been changing.

“Youth from all cultural backgrounds and differing tax-brackets make up SYO,” he says. “Where they live or what they earn doesn’t determine someone’s talent and discipline to learn an instrument. Music is the only truly universal language.”

Last year’s Big Busk raised $40,000 in funding with the help of Creative Partnerships Australia, an organisation that helps arts groups with fundraisers and revenue. This year, SYO aims to raise $50,000 to purchase endangered instruments, support the company’s programs and bring orchestral music to the public.

“When people are given the opportunity to hear and learn music when they’re young, the impact lasts a lifetime,” North says.

The Big Busk is happening on October 10 across various locations in Sydney.

syo.com.au