The Australian Ballet and Orchestra Victoria announce a new ownership arrangement

The Australian Ballet and Orchestra Victoria in new performance partnershipThe Australian Ballet and Orchestra Victoria have announced a new ownership arrangement that will strengthen their 40-year relationship and ensure high-quality ballet and opera performances will continue in Victoria.


As of July 1, 2014, Orchestra Victoria will become a wholly owned subsidiary of The Australian Ballet. Orchestra Victoria will have its own board, dedicated staff, funding, accounting and financial reporting.


The new ownership arrangement follows a number of reviews into sustainable models for orchestras conducted between 2005 and 2013. These reviews informed discussions regarding Orchestra Victoria’s future and were led by The Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria.


Chief Executive Officer of The Australia Council for the Arts, Tony Grybowski, said, “The process of identifying a sustainable model for Orchestra Victoria was an extensive and highly collaborative effort. Given their shared commitment to artistic excellence and The Australian Ballet’s strong business capacity, we see this as a positive fit for both companies.”


Andrew Abbott, Director of Arts Victoria, said, “This announcement is good news for audiences. With Orchestra Victoria in the pit, world-class ballet and opera performances will continue to be a vital part of Victoria’s cultural life.”


The new ownership arrangement is similar to that of The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, a full-time salaried orchestra managed by Opera Australia that accompanies The Australian Ballet during its Sydney seasons.


Executive Director of The Australian Ballet, Libby Christie, said: “Live orchestras are essential to delivering high-quality ballet and opera performances, and as such, access to permanent, stable pit orchestras is important to our successful operations. We have enjoyed a long and creative partnership with Orchestra Victoria and look forward to building upon this relationship through this new arrangement.”


Leading international ballet companies manage or work closely with specific orchestras, including The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and National Ballet of China.


Chairman of Orchestra Victoria, Tony Osmond, said: “This is a welcome and exciting opportunity for Orchestra Victoria. After a challenging few years the orchestra can now look forward to playing on long into the future.”


One of Australia’s busiest and most respected orchestras, last year Orchestra Victoria delivered more than 150 performances and played to more than 220,000 people. The company’s artistic strength was applauded internationally following its recent, central role in Opera Australia’s Melbourne Ring Cycle.


Along with The Australian Ballet, Orchestra Victoria is a performance partner of Opera Australia and Victorian Opera, and will continue to perform with all three companies under the new arrangement.


Photo: Orchestra Victoria conducted by Nicolette Fraillon at Government House in 2012. Photo courtesy of Orchestra Victoria.