Xian Zhang – Principal Guest Conductor
Following her successful MSO debut in 2018 conducting Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony, Xian Zhang was appointed as the MSO Principal Guest Conductor in 2020. Sought-after across the globe, Xian Zhang was the first female conductor to hold a titled role with a BBC Orchestra, and is currently the Music Director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Benjamin Northey – Principal Conductor in Residence
Renowned Australian conductor Benjamin Northey was appointed to the role of Principal Conductor in Residence following a long-standing, and highly successful, relationship with the MSO. Known for his ability to command an audience on stage, and off, Benjamin hosted the popular Up Late with Ben Northey series during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, and in 2021 he leads the Orchestra through several programs at Hamer Hall, Melbourne Town Hall and across Victoria.
Nicholas Bochner – Cybec Assistant Conductor
Nicholas joined the MSO in 1998 as Assistant Principal Cello, and always having had a strong commitment to music education and community engagement, was appointed the Cybec Assistant Conductor for Learning and Engagement in 2020. In this role he has explored classical favourites in the Ears Wide Open series, conducted MSO for Schools performances, and hosted a number of live-streamed events.
Paul Grabowsky AO – Composer in Residence
Paul Grabowsky is a pianist, composer, arranger, conductor. Born in Papua New Guinea, Paul was raised in Melbourne. During the late 70’s he became prominent in the music scene in Melbourne, working in various jazz, theatre and cabaret projects. Since then, Paul has had a distinguished career including composing for films, founding the Australian Art Orchestra, and in 2020 was announced as the MSO’s 2021 Composer in Residence.
Matt Laing – Cybec Young Composer in Residence
Matt has been writing music since he started university, sketching ideas whilst training to be a viola player, and completing a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. Having participated in the MSO’s Cybec Young Composer program, Matt was appointed the 2021 Cybec Young Composer in Residence, and will write three works for the Orchestra.
Melbourne Ensemble – Ensemble in Residence
Having based the group’s instrumentation around Beethoven’s Septet, Melbourne Ensemble is made up of seven innovative and dynamic musicians from the MSO. Reducing and expanding the group’s size as necessary, Melbourne Ensemble has developed a reputation for curating exciting programs for some of Melbourne’s favourite music venues, and have been appointed MSO’s 2021 Ensemble in Residence as a result.
Dr Anita Collins – Creative Chair for Learning and Engagement
Dr Anita Collins is an award-winning educator, researcher and writer in the field of brain development and music learning. Anita is the author of The Music Advantage, a book for parents and teachers about the extraordinary and often surprising benefits of learning music for children from newborns to teenagers. In 2020 Dr Collins presented a Keynote speech at MSO’s inaugural Melbourne Music Summit, and in 2021 was appointed Creative Chair for Learning and Engagement.
Deborah Cheetham AO – MSO First Nations Creative Chair
Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator, Deborah Cheetham, has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Deborah was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance”, and in 2021 was announced as MSO’s First Nations Creative Chair.
Sir Andrew Davis CBE – Conductor Laureate
One of today’s most recognised and acclaimed conductors, Sir Andrew has conducted virtually all the world’s major orchestras, opera companies, and festivals. Chief Conductor of the MSO from 2013-2019, Sir Andrew remains connected with the Orchestra in his new role as Conductor Laureate.
Hiroyuki Iwaki AO – Conductor Laureate
As the MSO’s longest serving conductor, Hiroyuki Iwaki’s began as Chief Conductor in 1974, and in 1990 was appointed as the MSO’s first Conductor Laureate, honouring his contribution to the Orchestra’s development. His dedication earned him many accolades including the renaming of the ABC Southbank studio to the Iwaki Auditorium in 1995. In 1996, to commend his contribution to Australia-Japan relations, he was promoted to an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.