AYO Young Symphonists 2019 (left to right): Miriam (oboe) and Ruby (oboe)


Tuesday 3rd December, 2019

Music is a gift worth giving

This World Giving Day, we celebrate our AYO community.

Music is a gift worth giving. It is only through the collective vision, and generous support from our AYO community, that we have been able to achieve so much with our gifted AYO musicians.

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 World Giving Day, we reflect on our journey of ambitious achievements and experiences shared – and celebrate the discovery, inspiration, and joy brought to the lives of our AYO community.

Over the last decade, we continued the great tradition of 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.

National Music Teacher Mentoring Program

“To get music, you really have to listen, and when children listen with direction and concentration, their focus goes up spectacularly. The evidence points to the fact that a structured program of music education has benefits in all learning.”
The Late Richard Gill AO | Founder, National Music Teacher Mentoring Program

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.

Momentum Ensemble

“The Momentum Ensemble is highly regarded as one of the best projects a young musician can be a part of. Touring around Australia, performing in great venues to appreciative audiences and meeting such inspirational people and younger music students – it makes all the hard, solitary work completely worth it!”
Amy Whyte, clarinet | AYO & Momentum Alumni 

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.

International Touring

“My years with AYO were my formative years. Although Australia can feel so isolated from the rest of the music world, AYO turned out to be a strong national network and was a massive double door that opened the whole world up for me.”
Hayley Ecker, violin | AYO Alumni 
Bond, Artistic Director; PLAY concert series for children

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. For aspiring young musicians, there is no greater thrill or formative lesson than playing alongside your life time hero in acclaimed concert venues throughout the world.  

On international tour, AYO musicians come together for over a month in pursuit of a common goal, and represent Australia as cultural ambassadors on the world stage. This decade alone, we performed at BBC Proms (London), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), and the National Centre for Performing Arts (Beijing); and toured with esteemed artists Joshua Bell (violin), Hélène Grimaud (piano), Christoph Eschenbach (conductor) and Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), to name a few.

Our Alumni

“Australian Youth Orchestra and National Music Camp were irreplaceable experiences for me, forging my love for orchestral music-making. I now work professionally in a dream job in an orchestra in Berlin, and I have AYO and the Financial Assistance Scholarship I received to thank for helping me along the way.”
Neela de Fonseka, violin | AYO Alumni

We are so proud of our more than 8,000 alumni, and the impact they continue to share in support of Australian classical 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's very important for music to be cherished and to be supported, particularly for the youth, because they’re our future generations of storytellers.”
William Barton, legendary didgeridoo player | AYO National Music Camp Artist-in-Residence, 2020

Whether through tuning into our radio broadcast performances, concert attendance, or support for our gifted alumni as a teacher, family member, or donor – you have helped us empower so many young Australians with musical knowledge, imagination and a love of music.

Music is a gift worth giving.

On behalf of 500 of the country’s best young musicians who were part of AYO in 2019, more than 8,000 alumni, 500 classroom music teachers, and 26,000 regional and metropolitan primary school students – thank you for making the AYO journey so far, a musical gift we are extremely proud of.

AYO International Tour 2019 (left to right): Our flute section, Megan, Cassie and Kyla - receiving tuition from flautist Linda Stuckey (standing) | AYO Alumni & Principal Piccolo, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

To share your story, or learn more about ways to support AYO this World Giving Day, contact Roxy Kavanagh, Director of Development via: Phone: (03) 84205 710 or Email: RoxyKavanagh@ayo.com.au