Cellos flying with the orchestra were given their own seats

A plane full of lucky passengers flying Qantas from Sydney to Singapore has been treated to a classical surprise at 12,000 metres, when nine musicians from the Australian World Orchestra performed a pop-up concert in economy class.

Celebrating the orchestra's first concert in Singapore this weekend, the nine-piece Orchestra in the Sky serenaded passengers with Ravel's famous composition Bolero on instruments including a French horn, snare drum, cello, flute, trumpets and saxophone.

The four-minute performance was met with a spontaneous round of applause from the crew and nearly 300 passengers, prompting an encore in different cabins in the aircraft.
The performance took place shortly after take-off, when the plane had reached cruising altitude.

Alison Mitchell, flautist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, said the performance held special significance.


"As a flautist I have played this famous tune [from Bolero] all over the world - but I never thought I'd get to play it in the sky! It is an extra special performance because my colleagues are all fellow Australians, brought together by the AWO."

The AWO brings together Australia's very best classical musicians from around the world into a national orchestra. After performing in Sydney this week, the ensemble played on Saturday night at Singapore's Esplanade Theatre.

Qantas carried nearly 100 instruments on the flight, including seven double basses checked as freight, and a number of cellos given their own seats.