Access all arias: New ANU orchestra opens auditions

30 September 2019

The Australian National University (ANU) is launching a new inclusive orchestra that will be open to all students, alumni and gifted school-age musicians.

ANU School of Music head, Associate Professor Kim Cunio, hopes to unearth new talent and train contemporary classical musicians.

"We want to reimagine what an orchestra is," Associate Professor Cunio said.

"For many people an orchestra is aloof and elitist and we are trying to say that it is not the case.

"We want to make orchestras contemporary and accessible.

"We are making this orchestra available to any ANU student, regardless of their background as long as they can play well. It is for people who have talent and we will train them.

"My vision beyond this orchestra is to train a different kind of musician with a larger social awareness and conscience."

Indigenous, intercultural and technological elements will be included alongside the traditional classical repertoire training.

Any current ANU student or recent ANU graduate who is a good musician can join.

"This will be an orchestra that will bring the whole university together," Associate Professor Cunio said.

"Sometimes the best musicians are lost to music. For instance, we have students doing medicine and law or studying in many other faculties who have the talent to play in an orchestra. We want to welcome them to play alongside our School of Music students."

The new ANU orchestra will work closely with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

Auditions for the training orchestra, led by Canberra's noted conductor Max McBride, will begin in November with a performance season planned for next year.

Seasoned Canberra Symphony Orchestra players will also be mentoring and performing alongside newer ANU musicians.

"This orchestra will be break some of the boundaries of what high art is for people," Associate Professor Cunio said.

"It is also a great way to celebrate the ANU School of Music and the central place it has as a provider of music for Canberra and its community."