The Australian Ballet Music

See the music, hear the dance

At The Australian Ballet, music is an equal partner of dance, enmeshed with everything that we do. Led by Music Director and Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon AM, the in-house music team manages all musical requirements of The Australian Ballet. This includes providing live music for daily class and rehearsals, running an extensive music and audio library, preparing scores for performance for multiple orchestras nationally and internationally,  presenting audience engagement events, recording music for our productions, working on sound design for our performances, commissioning new musical works, and liaising with composers and arrangers. The team is also the vital conduit between The Australian Ballet and its numerous orchestral partners. 

The first time I ever played in a symphony orchestra was a truly life changing moment. As soon as we began playing, a world of colour opened up, each instrument in the orchestra fascinated me, every sense in my being came alive.

Nicolette Fraillon AM, Music Director and Chief Conductor

Nicolette Fraillon AM

World-renowned conductor Nicolette Fraillon AM has been The Australian Ballet’s Music Director and Chief Conductor since 2003. Under her baton, our music is an equal partner of dance, providing the fire, emotion and passion that inspires our performances.  

Meet Nicolette

Meet the Music Team

The Australian Ballet’s pianists accompany the dancers in class and rehearsal. Classical ballet companies require their pianists to have incredibly broad but highly developed skills. Aside from having virtuosic technique, they must be able to improvise music of the appropriate speed, rhythm and tempo for the exercises devised by the artistic staff during daily class.  They must master full piano “reductions” of complex orchestral scores in order to accompany rehearsals and are often called upon to play piano concertos with orchestra, or difficult solo repertoire for performances of works like Ballet Imperial and Dyad 1929

Meet the Music Team

Iconic scores of The Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet has commissioned countless scores over the last half-century, as well as imbuing historic pieces with new life. In this short history, we unpack some of our most iconic ballet scores, including the music for Swan Lake, The Display and The Merry Widow


Music library

The Australian Ballet has the most extensive collection of ballet music in Australia, dating from the company’s earliest beginnings right through to the 21st century. The library, overseen by Principal Pianist & Music Librarian Duncan Salton, is a vital part of the organisation. As a busy touring company, The Australian Ballet requires multiple”sets” of each ballet score, meticulously annotated to reflect the specific requirements of each production. Using 21st century technologies, the team has also reset many scores from the 19th century, including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty into working scores and parts, ensuring orchestral musicians have material of the highest quality from which to perform .

Please make enquiries through our Contact Us page.

With over 10 years’ experience with The Australian Ballet, [Nicolette] Fraillon knows the importance of giving the dancers the time to interpret the dance within the music, allowing the two (visual and aural) artistic forms to complement each other.

Australian Stage Online