In January 2016, Simon Murphy and the NDA appeared at the famously vibrant Sydney Festival
, performing one of their signature programmes, Bach and his Dutch Contemporaries
Warmly received by press and audience alike, Australia's premier arts magazine Limelight
reviewed the sold out event (with an audience of 1,142) as "Cunning Dutchmen give the usual suspects a run for their money", billing Simon Murphy as "one of Australia’s finest exports". "For some years now the violist and early music maestro has led this award-winning orchestra". "In addition to being a skilled violist, one of Murphy’s super powers is programming. He’s also a dab hand at presenting, laying out his concert's aims in entertaining detail". The magazine further praised the performance as being "beautifully phrased and richly lyrical", "engaging", and "with an emphasis on tightness of ensemble and at times a breath-taking beauty of tone", "Murphy can congratulate himself on a job well done."
Presented in co-operation with the Embassy of the Netherlands, the NDA's performance at Sydney's City Recital Hall on January 17 also officially opened the Dirk Hartog Year
in 2016, celebrating the 400+ years of relations between the Netherlands and Australia. Special guests at the concert event included Australian Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Dutch Ambassador Annemieke Ruigrok, and former Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands Neil Mules.
Previously, Murphy and the NDA have performed various versions of the programme Bach and his Dutch Contemporaries
on the European festival circuit, including at the prestigious Bachfest Leipzig. In 2013, they performed it for the Dutch royal family in The Hague. The Sydney Festival performance was broadcast by the ABC. The Australian tour featured German soprano Gudrun Sidonie Otto and German recorder player Anna Stegmann in solo roles. Read the full Limelight review of the showListen to a highly personal feature interview with Simon Murphy on Fine Music FM