Thursday 9th April, 2020

Dear friends,

At a time when we would be preparing to convene for our Autumn Season the AYO members will remain in their homes, connecting via numerous virtual studios and meeting places and hoping, like me, that the chance to come together as an orchestra is not too far away.

However, the Australian Youth Orchestra is a mass gathering, so until restrictions are lifted the traditional AYO season format will unfortunately be on hold. We are extremely disappointed that the members of the 2020 AYO will not have the chance to perform together this month nor again in July as planned.

We are also very concerned about the impact that venue closures will have upon countless members of the AYO community—from those just beginning their professional careers; to our many alumni employed as freelance musicians and administrators; to the members of the Australian professional orchestras and their staff. On top of the challenges faced by artists and organisations due to the pandemic, we have also seen major funding blows to many vital youth arts organisations. The next few years is going to be a tough period for young people and we will do all we can to support and nurture their creativity and ambition.

We’ve already seen members of our community sharing their ideas, thoughts, performances and lessons online, and in the coming weeks and months we look forward to offering our own opportunities for people to connect and make music together in the digital world.

I am so grateful for the many messages of support, encouragement, and commitment to ensure AYO can continue its work in classrooms, rehearsal studios and concert venues for thousands of young Australians once this crisis is over. Whilst the future is uncertain and it is almost impossible to know when we may be able to reconvene we are committed to ensuring that AYO evolves and adapts to the changing environment; so that as an organisation we can continue to provide invaluable musical training and life changing experiences for future generations.

Throughout the past six weeks many of us have found space and time we didn’t know we had. Personally, I have found that the experiences and memories that touch our hearts are amplified. The recent performances of AYO musicians—the fresh, enthusiastic brilliance of the hundreds of young people at AYO National Music Camp in January, and the Partridge String Quartet in February and March—are memories that stay alive with us months later.

Thank you for your role in supporting AYO as we navigate this challenging time and continue to train, inspire, and empower our future generations of young musicians.

With best wishes,

Colin Cornish
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Youth Orchestra