AYO End of Year Appeal Banner: Music is a gift worth giving


Colin Cornish (AYO Chief Executive Officer and Alumni) reflects on our journey of the decade gone by.

As we enter a new decade, I am proud to reflect on our journey over the past 10 years of ambitious achievements and experiences we have shared – bringing discovery, inspiration, and joy to the lives of our music students, teachers, families, and audiences.

The Australian Youth Orchestra exists to empower all young Australians with musical knowledge, imagination and a love of music – regardless of financial and geographical barriers.

This decade, we continued to innovate through tradition with our established training pathways, and opened up a range of new and accessible education opportunities to ensure every young musician can continue to discover, train, and share their love for music.

Through the vision of the Late Richard Gill AO, the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program was established in 2015 to improve the quality and consistency of music education in classrooms across Australia. So far, more than 445 primary classroom teachers have been up-skilled – impacting more than 26,000 students across regional and metropolitan Australia.

In 2015 Momentum Ensemble emerged out of a desire to fill a vocational and training gap for young musicians who are at the cusp of their professional careers. Members of the ensemble gain teaching skills, access professional development unique to a career in music today, and develop skills that will assist them in launching a profession as a versatile artist of the 21st century.

At the heart of every AYO program is the chance for musicians to work alongside inspirational conductors and artists, extend the boundaries of their own learning, and form lifelong friendships with people that will later become their colleagues and professional network. These benefits are, in a way, intensified on an international tour, with musicians coming together for over a month in pursuit of a common goal.

Through our triennial International Tour, AYO musicians represent Australia as cultural ambassadors on the world stage. This decade alone, we performed at BBC Proms (London), Amsterdam’s renown Concertgebouw, and the National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing); and toured with esteemed artists Joshua Bell (violin), Helene Griamud (piano), Christoph Eschenbach (conductor), and Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), to name a few.

We believe talent should be the only criteria for participation in the AYO. Each year more than a third of our gifted young music students require a scholarship due to financial and geographical barriers. AYO Financial Assistance Scholarships help create a level playing field by giving gifted young musicians access to the same training opportunities as their peers.

I am so proud of our more than 8,000 alumni, and the impact they continue to share in support of Australian music - with more than 65% of AYO alumni members of Australian professional orchestras, while many are performing worldwide in leading international orchestras and teaching our music stars of tomorrow.

It is only through the collective vision, and generous support of friends like you that we have been able to achieve so much with our talented pre-professional music students.

I invite you to join us once again this decade, on a journey we will be proud of, and give generously to our AYO Appeal. Your gift will help us empower all young Australians with musical knowledge, imagination and a love of music – regardless of financial and geographical barriers.

Best Wishes,

Colin Cornish 
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Youth Orchestra



Areas of Support
AYO Priorities

Sustain the breadth and quality of our unique training pathways by allowing us to allocate your
gift to an area of greatest need.

Financial Assistance Scholarships

Help unlock transformational experiences for our most talented pre-professional musicians
experiencing financial and geographical barriers.

International Tour Fund

Connect Australia’s most talented pre-professional musicians with the opportunity of a lifetime, representing Australia as cultural ambassadors on the world stage.

Momentum Ensemble

Provide a launch pad for musicians on the cusp of a career to develop multi-faceted skills as performing artists, teachers, and musical innovators of the 21st century.

National Music Teacher Mentoring Program

Help connect every child with access to quality music education as we inspire and engage teachers across regional and metropolitan Australia.




How to donate

ONLINE                       Click here to donate via our secure online form

PHONE OR EMAIL       Contact Roxy Kavanagh, Director of Development

                                   on (03) 8420 5710

                                   or at RoxyKavanagh@ayo.com.au

All donations above $2 are tax deductible.