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Our Artistic Family comprises influential musicians, conductors and composers from across Australia and abroad.

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Jaime Martín – Chief Conductor

Jaime Martín, who has shot to worldwide attention as a conductor following a prominent career as an elite flautist, began his tenure as Chief Conductor at the MSO in 2022, investing the Orchestra with prodigious musical creativity and momentum.

Jaime Martín’s Chief Conductor Chair is supported by the Besen Family Foundation in memory of Eva and Marc Besen.

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Benjamin Northey – Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor – Learning and Engagement

Renowned Australian conductor Benjamin Northey was appointed to the role of Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor – Learning and Engagement following a long-standing and highly successful relationship with the MSO. Known for his ability to command an audience on stage, and off, in 2024 Benjamin leads the Orchestra through several programs at Hamer Hall and across Victoria.

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Leonard Weiss CF – 2024-25 Cybec Assistant Conductor

Leonard Weiss CF is an Australian conductor and educator. He is honoured to join the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as their 2024-25 Cybec Assistant Conductor Fellow. Leonard previously held the position of 2022 New Zealand Assistant Conductor in Residence, and before that, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 BSO-Peabody Fellow.

Leonard Weiss' position is supported by the Cybec Foundation.

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Warren Trevelyan-Jones – MSO Chorus Director

Warren Trevelyan-Jones is regarded as one of the leading choral conductors and choir trainers in Australia, and was appointed Chorus Director of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in September 2017. Warren Trevelyan-Jones is a co-founder of The Consort of Melbourne and, in 2001 with Dr Michael Noone, founded the Gramophone award-winning group Ensemble Plus Ultra. He is also an experienced singing teacher and qualified music therapist.

Katy Abbott Composer

Katy Abbott – 2024 Composer in Residence

Forensically curious about concepts of connection, place and humour which are threaded throughout her work, Katy Abbott is a highly-awarded Australian composer whose works are performed and recorded around the world. She is an Honorary Senior Fellow at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and founded The Artists’ Mentor, which supports established artists across disciplines to build long-term, vibrant careers with impact.

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Liza Lim – 2025 Composer in Residence

Liza Lim is a composer, educator, and researcher whose music focusses on collaborative and transcultural practices. Beauty, rage & noise, ecological connection, and female spiritual lineages are at the heart of many of her works. Widely commissioned by some of the world’s pre-eminent orchestras and ensembles, Lim is Professor of Composition and Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

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Erin Helyard – 2024 Artist in Residence

Erin Helyard is an inspiring conductor, a virtuosic and expressive performer of the harpsichord and fortepiano, and a lucid scholar who is passionate about promoting discourse between musicology and performance. His work as Artistic Director and co-founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes has forged new standards of excellence in historically informed performance. Erin leads the MSO in two Baroque Festival concerts and our annual Messiah performances in December. Erin appears courtesy of Pinchgut Opera.

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James Ehnes – 2025 Artist in Residence

James Ehnes has established himself as one of the most sought-after musicians on the international stage. Gifted with a rare combination of stunning virtuosity, serene lyricism and an unfaltering musicality, Ehnes is a favourite guest at the world’s most celebrated concert halls.

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Karen Kyriakou – Artist in Residence, Learning & Engagement

Karen Kyriakou’s work as an educator, presenter, author and composer/arranger is underpinned by her passion for music’s unique capacity to unite and inspire. She works broadly in the area of music education, with students from kindergarten to tertiary level. With more than 25 years’ experience in the field, Karen is renowned for her ever-innovative approach to music education. Karen has led the MSO's ever-popular Jams for Juniors since its inception.

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Naomi Dodd – 2024 Cybec Young Composer in Residence

Naomi Dodd is an emerging contemporary classical composer based whose music transports listeners and evokes emotional response. Her music draws from impressionist, programmatic and romantic influences while her inspiration is deeply connected to her emotional sensitivities, with compositions often finding their genesis in Naomi’s experiences and impressions of subjects such as Australian landscapes and coastlines, home and family.

Naomi Dodd's position is supported by the Cybec Foundation.

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Klearhos Murphy – 2025 Cybec Young Composer in Residence

Klearhos Murphy is an Australian-Greek composer who has worked with a variety of national and international ensembles. His area of specialisation is composing and arranging music for symphonic and chamber music settings, drawing from Western Art, Byzantine chant and Greek-folk traditions. Klearhos is also interested in music education and research, regularly holding workshops, consultations and tutorials for secondary and tertiary students interested in learning more about music.

Klearhos Murphy's position is supported by the Cybec Foundation.

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Christian Li - Young Artist in Association

Christian Li has captivated audiences around the world since he became the youngest-ever Junior 1st Prize-winner of the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition at the age of 10. In 2020 he became the youngest artist ever to sign with Decca Classics, and the youngest violinist to professionally record Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

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Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO – MSO First Nations Creative Chair

Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator, Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, 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.

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Tan Dun – Artistic Ambassador

The world-renowned artist and UNESCO Global Goodwill Ambassador Tan Dun, has made an indelible mark on the world’s music scene with a creative repertoire that spans the boundaries of classical music, multimedia performance, and Eastern and Western traditions.

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Lu Siqing - Artistic Ambassador

Born in Qingdao, China, Lu Siqing was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to study at his school in London aged 11. In 1984 he returned to China and five years later went to Juilliard to study with Dorothy DeLay. In 1987 he was the first Asian to win First Prize at Italy’s Paganini International Violin Competition.

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Xian Zhang – Artistic Ambassador

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. Xian Zhang was appointed as the MSO Principal Guest Conductor in 2020, and now continues as Artistic Ambassador in 2024.

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Sir Andrew Davis CBE – Conductor Laureate

In memoriam: 2013-2024

Acclaimed conductor Sir Andrew Davis conducted virtually all the world’s major orchestras and opera companies during his distinguished career of over fifty years. Sir Andrew became MSO's second Conductor Laureate in 2020 following his highly successful tenure as Chief Conductor from 2013-2019.

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Hiroyuki Iwaki AO – Conductor Laureate

In memoriam: 1974-2006

As the MSO’s longest serving conductor, Hiroyuki Iwaki 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.

Former Chief Conductors

Each Chief Conductor has contributed to the prestigious legacy of the MSO.

  • Alberto Zelman (1906–1927)
  • Fritz Hart (1927–1932)
  • Fritz Hart, Bernard Heinze (1932–1937, joint Chief Conductors)
  • Sir Bernard Heinze (1937–1950)
  • Alceo Galliera (1950–1951)
  • Juan José Castro (1952–1953)
  • Walter Susskind (1953–1955)
  • Kurt Wöss (1956–1959)
  • Georges Tzipine (1960–1965)
  • Willem van Otterloo (1967–1970)
  • Fritz Rieger (1971–1972)
  • Hiroyuki Iwaki AO (1974–1997) Conductor Laureate
  • Markus Stenz (1998–2004)
  • Oleg Caetani (2005–2009)
  • Sir Andrew Davis (2013-2019) Conductor Laureate

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