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AYO Chief Executive Officer Colin Cornish reflects on AYO’s long-awaited return to in-person programs, and the joy and excitement shared by young musicians from across the country as they came together to train and perform together in April.

  For many young musicians in Australia, AYO National Music Camp has long been associated with the start of a new chapter. Since its conception, the program has served as a springboard into the year ahead—fuelling the enthusiasm of musicians as they embark on the next year of their studies, make new friends and look forward to new opportunities.

This April we were able to reignite this sense of new beginnings by bringing together over 150 aspiring young instrumentalists and arts administrators for the first in-person AYO program in over a year. From the opening note the orchestras played, it was evident that the first of this year’s two National Music Camps brought with it a magnified level of joy and exuberance, along with an indescribable air of solace at being able to make music together once more. I am very thankful to AYO clarinettist Oliver Crofts who, in his story overleaf, has shared his own reflections on the life-changing experience he had at Camp this year. Through his message, you will hear first-hand the opportunities that you can help continue to make possible.

Togetherness is at the very heart of all orchestral music making, and recreating a feeling of connection when our musicians were spread far and wide across the country was not without its challenges. Like many organisations across the globe, the Australian Youth Orchestra has undergone an irrevocable transformation over the past 12 months. Embracing new technology allowed us to offer virtual training opportunities, present valuable webinars and run remote auditions for thousands of young musicians all over Australia. More recently, we were delighted to share our Autumn Music Camp performances with audiences across the country and overseas, who were able to enjoy two stunning concerts from home. These are available to view below.

Whilst these new initiatives started out as solutions to problems, they have quickly become an integral part of the AYO experience for our whole community, with digital touchpoints making AYO training experiences, auditions and performances more accessible than ever before. As we return to in-person activities we look forward to the evolution of these projects as we broaden our digital offering alongside our traditional AYO programs.

Thank you for the part you play in helping the Australian Youth Orchestra to evolve and change to be the best it can be. It is thanks to your continued support that we were able to weather the difficult circumstances that 2020 presented, and emerge more energised and equipped than ever to provide training, inspiration and empowerment to our future generations of young musicians.

I urge you to join me and give as generously as you can to AYO to help us share these transformative musical opportunities with Australia’s young people for many years to come.

With best wishes,


Colin Cornish
Chief Executive Officer
Australian  Youth Orchestra


Phone: 02 9356 4000

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AYO Scholarships

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International Touring 

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Debussy, Mozart, Shostakovich and more. See AYO’s return to the concert hall in our two AYO Autumn Music Camp concert videos.


Making music together once more
AYO Clarinettist Oliver Crofts shares his story.

After last year, any opportunity to perform together in this capacity is incredibly fortuitous. It’s been such an incredible experience working with the orchestra, and playing such amazing repertoire at my first National Music Camp. We’re all very grateful to be here, and really do appreciate the generous support you’ve given to us.

Thank you!