New partnership brings students into the concert hall with the world’s leading musical talent 

The Australian World Orchestra in concert at the Sydney Opera House
The Australian World Orchestra in concert at the Sydney Opera House. Image: Anna Kucera

A new exclusive partnership with the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) will enable University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music students to have unparalleled access to a network of the finest Australian musicians, working in leading orchestras and ensembles around the world and here at home.

Students will benefit from enrichment opportunities such as instrumental masterclasses and sectional rehearsals with leading AWO musicians and eminent conductors, as well as career development sessions and jointly curated talks.

The AWO was founded in 2011 by Artistic Director and Chief Conductor Alexander Briger AO, and brings together on a single stage some of Australia’s finest musicians who now perform with the world’s most esteemed orchestras and ensembles.

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Director, Professor Richard Kurth said the partnership will give students a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from the AWO’s most experienced musicians.

“The AWO is an extraordinary expression of the musical energy of the Australian nation and character, as it re-unites many of Australia’s finest musicians every year to celebrate and share their artistry. They are wonderful role models for Conservatorium students, who will take inspiration and learn from these mentors. This new partnership with the AWO is a fabulous way to energise and support our students, and it will sustain a vibrant international network to motivate students as they shape their own careers,” Professor Kurth said.

Students will be invited to watch the AWO in rehearsal to observe professional musicians in action, and to gain insight into the workings of an elite orchestra.

The unprecedented access and unique development opportunities are facilitated through a generous gift to the University by its Chancellor, Mr Allan Myers AC QC, which has enabled a five-year collaborative partnership with the AWO.

University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell said the partnership will enrich the music education of University of Melbourne students.

“The partnership between the University and the AWO is another example of the rich, diverse educational experiences the University offers, which, in this case, will provide students with real-word insights into what it takes to become a career musician,” Professor Maskell said.

Artistic Director Alexander Briger said he was thrilled that the AWO would be partnering with the University of Melbourne.

“It’s such a privilege to bring exceptional Australian musicians together, to celebrate the joy of making music and to connect with audiences at home and abroad. This partnership with the University of Melbourne adds yet another dimension – the pleasure of sharing knowledge, experience, and above all, music, with the next generation of Australian talent,” Mr Briger said.

The Educational Program will be facilitated at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium’s John Wardle-designed Ian Potter Southbank Centre located in the heart of Melbourne’s Arts Precinct.

The AWO is a premier ensemble, with musicians drawn from the world’s finest orchestras and ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

This partnership enables collaborative music making between AWO players and Conservatorium staff and students.  The first such event takes place on 30 August at the University of Melbourne’s Hanson Dyer Hall.  It features virtuosic early Romantic works for bassoon and string quartet, and showcases Lyndon Watts, founding AWO member and Lecturer in Bassoon at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, visiting AWO members Heather Cottrell (violin) and Peter Morrison (cello), together with Conservatorium students Jackie Wong (violin) and Emma Avery (viola). Register here.

In 2022, the Australian World Orchestra is coming together for two unmissable and much anticipated Australian performances at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on 31 August and the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on 2 September.

The legendary Maestro Zubin Mehta, recognised as one of the world’s greatest Strauss interpreters, will conduct the AWO in performances of three of Richard Strauss’s most famous tone poems – Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche and Ein Heldenleben.  Click here for more information and to book.