News 29/7/2014

SOH Samsung logoAWO_Logo






Sydney Opera House and Australian World Orchestra announce new partnership to showcase the best Australian talent from around the world

Sydney – Tuesday 29 July 2014 – The Sydney Opera House (SOH) and the Australian World Orchestra (AWO) have announced an exciting partnership that will make the Opera House home to a stellar new annual AWO program.

The three-year partnership will allow the AWO, which currently performs biennially, to mount an annual program at the Opera House from 2015-2017. The NSW Minister for the Arts, the Hon Troy Grant, welcomed the new partnership: “The Australian World Orchestra gathers together a wealth of artistic talent from around the country and around the world. It is wonderful that the Orchestra will be an annual fixture at Australia’s leading performing arts venue.”

The first series under the new partnership will take place in July 2015. The AWO’s chamber orchestra ensemble will also perform works by Mozart and Beethoven in the Opera House’s Utzon Room on 10 August 2014.

Formed in 2009 by its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Alexander Briger, and his sister, AWO CEO Gabrielle Thompson, the AWO held its first performance in the Concert Hall in 2011.

The AWO performed to a sold-out audience in October last year under the baton of the renowned Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Maestro Zubin Mehta. The concert was part of the Opera House’s Anniversary celebrations, 40 years after Briger and Thompson’s uncle, Sir Charles Mackerras, led the Opera House’s 1973 opening gala concert.

The AWO has become one of the nation’s most exciting orchestras, bringing together more than 100 of Australia’s best classical musicians from 50 of the finest Australian and international orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, West Australian, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Australian Chamber and Brandenburg Orchestras and the Australian National Academy of Music.

The partnership will also help foster new generations of Australian musical talent through an educational collaboration between the AWO and the Australian Youth Orchestra (AYO). Members of the AWO will teach and mentor AYO students at workshops to be conducted at the Opera House during the AWO concert series, culminating in a private rehearsal and performance with the AWO.

“The AWO is part of the Opera House family in so many ways. I am thrilled to officially welcome it to the Opera House fold,” Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM said. “The Opera House is all about enabling and showcasing the very best Australia has to offer. We are delighted to be supporting the AWO, as well as the next generation of Australian classical musicians through the collaboration with the AYO.”

AWO Artistic Director Alexander Briger said the partnership with the Opera House marked an important point in the orchestra’s evolution. “It was always the orchestra’s long-term goal to present an annual program and to do so at the Opera House. We are thrilled that this dream has been realised so early in the life of the orchestra and we look forward to announcing our 2015 line-up later in the year.”

Australian Youth Orchestra chair Mary Vallentine AO said: “The Australian World Orchestra is a great initiative and the partnership with the Opera House establishes an important link between Australia’s leading professional musicians from around the world and its iconic performing arts venue. More than 90 per cent of AWO players received an important part of their training from the Australian Youth Orchestra, so it’s wonderful that these same AWO musicians will continue the tradition and pass their expertise on to the next generation of Australian musicians through this great association.” 

For further media information, please contact:

Gabrielle Thompson, CEO, Australian World Orchestra
T: 02 8283 4527 | M: 0414 386 801

Kate Huish, Communications Manager, Sydney Opera House
T: 02 9250 7411 | M: 0422 963 184 |


Sydney Opera House
The Opera House is a masterpiece that belongs to all Australians. One of the world’s most recognised and celebrated buildings, it contributes significantly to the cultural life of the city. The World Heritage-listed Opera House welcomes over 8.2 million visitors on site every year and hosts 1,800 performances attended by 1.4 million people. It is one of the world’s busiest cultural precincts.

Keep up to date with Sydney Opera House on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.