Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

When a group of musicians assembled for the opening of Australia’s Centennial International Exhibition in Melbourne in 1888, they began a long tradition of fine orchestral performances in this city and formed the nucleus of the orchestra we know today. However it was not until 1934 that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation first presented a series of concerts with some 70 musicians under the name of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The Melbourne Symphony’s reputation for excellence, versatility and innovation, developed over more than six decades, has been enhanced through performances with artists such as Igor Stravinsky, Mariss Jansons, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Jessye Norman, Artur Rubenstein, Mstislav Rostropovich, Hakan Hagegard, Emanuel Ax, and Sumi Jo. It has also been acclaimed for performances in a more popular vein with The Three Tenors, Elton John, John Farnham, Frank Sinatra, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Barbara Cook, Ray Charles and Bryn Terfel. Each year, in excess of 200,000 people attend more than 130 performances by the Orchestra. The Melbourne Symphony’s annual subscription figures for 1997 exceeded 18,000—the largest number of subscribers in the history of the Orchestra. This figure represents over 110,000 individual tickets with approximately 2,000 people attending Melbourne Symphony performances each week.

In a relationship that remains unique in Australian orchestral history, the Melbourne Symphony celebrated in 1998 its 25-year association with Conductor Laureate Hiroyuki Iwaki. Over those 25 years, Maestro Iwaki has made an unparalleled contribution to Australian-Japanese relations and to the Australian classical music scene. He also led the Orchestra’s highly successful tours of Japan in 1987 and 1994. In January 2000, the 104-member Melbourne Symphony, under the baton of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Markus Stenz , represented Australasia at the prestigious Festival of the Five Continents in the Canary Islands in the company of such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic. This Festival performance was followed by a tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

A wholly owned subsidiary company of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and member of the Symphony Australia orchestral network, the Melbourne Symphony is funded principally by the Commonwealth Government through the Department of Communications and the Arts. The Orchestra is generously supported by the State Government of Victoria through the Community Support Fund and Arts Victoria - Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the City of Melbourne and individual and corporate sponsors and donors.

Contact Information:
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Pty Limited
120-130 Southbank Boulevard Southbank VIC 3006 AUSTRALIA
Postal Address
GPO Box 9994 Melbourne VIC 3001 AUSTRALIA