The AWO thanks our generous partner, Arab Bank Australia Limited (ABAL), in partnering with us for the 2019 and 2020 AWO Academy Programs.

Each year, an exceptionally talented emerging musician, or musicians, are chosen to rehearse and perform with the AWO as part of our concert season. The opportunity includes invaluable one-on-one mentoring as well as the chance to travel with the orchestra as part of our national and international tours.

Participating in the AWO Academy Program also allows pre-professional Australian musicians to connect and build valuable relationships with our experienced players, many of whom are members of some of the world’s greatest orchestras. By nurturing and developing beneficial professional connections, the AWO Academy Program is creating and supporting an international network of Australian musicians, offering emerging players the chance to make crucial contacts at all levels.

The opportunities provided by the AWO Academy Program continue well beyond an initial season. Our Academy Players are regularly invited to return and perform with the AWO in a professional capacity, assisting them in the development of musical skills and providing an important springboard from which to launch local and international careers.

In development: AWO Academy Scholarship
Future plans include the development of an AWO Academy Scholarship to provide these pre-professional musicians with much-needed funds to travel and study, either interstate or overseas, in order to gain specialised experience and further their musical education.

“Playing with the AWO this year was one of the most powerful and humbling experiences I’ve ever had as a musician. I remember thinking in our first rehearsal, ‘This is why I do music.’ The knowledge and musical experience I gained from just one week of rehearsals and concerts with the AWO was more than I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful to have had the privilege of playing alongside Australia’s greatest musicians; it is an experience that will always sit very close to my heart. “

Marcus Michelsen AWO Academy Player 2021


Marcus Michelsen, violin – Australian Youth Orchestra

Sergio Insuasti, viola – Currently studying at the Royal College of Music, London; Former Principal Viola – Sydney Youth Orchestra
Emily Newham, horn – Fellow, Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Molly Collier-O’Boyle, viola – Acting Assistant Principal Viola, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

2018 (India Tour)
Sagar Nagaraj, violin – Willoughby Symphony Orchestra; regular – AWO Academy Quartet

Education collaboration with ANAM, all participating students experienced the AWO’s Academy program.

Ben Messenger, horn – Momentum Ensemble, former Melbourne Ring Orchestra
Jenna Smith, trumpet – Principal Trumpet 2017, Australian Youth Orchestra; Trumpet Fellowship Sydney Symphony Orchestra

2016 (Singapore Tour)
Jonathan Békés, cello – Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; returned 2017, 2018 (India) & 2019

Melina van Leeuwen, harp – Chrysalis Trio, Freelance; returned 2019

2015 (India Tour)
Samuel Payne, cello – Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Australia Youth Orchestra

Katie Yap, viola – Chrysalis Trio; returned 2015 (Australia and India), 2016 (Australia and Singapore), 2017 & 2018 (Australia and India), 2021

Sophia Ang, percussion – Taikoz; Moorambilla Voices 2018
Matthew Laing, viola – Freelance player and composer
Liisa Palandi, violin – Australian Chamber Orchestra
Adam Szabo, cello – Manchester Collective; formerly Melbourne Ring Orchestra, BBC and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras; returned 2016