Victoria's Premier Pit Orchestra
Orchestra Victoria celebrates its 50th birthday in 2019. Loved and supported by constituents across its home State, Orchestra Victoria will spend the anniversary year celebrating the breadth and depth of its work, in the pit and beyond, over the last 50 years.
Orchestra Victoria was established in 1969 as The Elizabethan Trust Orchestra. Over the next decade, the Orchestra expanded both its numbers and repertoire as it accompanied some of the world's leading performers, including Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Joan Sutherland, and worked with renowned conductors such as Richard Bonynge, Stuart Challender, Carlo Felice Cillario, and John Lanchbery.
In 1986, ownership of the Orchestra was transferred to the Victorian Arts Centre and its name was changed to the State Orchestra of Victoria. In 2001, the Orchestra left the Arts Centre to become an independent, self-governing organisation. This step heralded new beginnings, as the newly named Orchestra Victoria moved to the former Army Band Barracks in Albert Park. In 2018 it moved to its current rehearsal space in Southbank, Joan Hammond Hall.
Since then, building on its role as the performance partner for Australia’s national companies, Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet, Orchestra Victoria continues to perform with leading artists from around the world, including Jonas Kaufmann, Andrea Battistoni, Guillaume Tourniaire, and Barry Wordsworth. It regularly collaborates with other state and international organisations to present a broad spectrum of events at The Arts Centre Melbourne and in theatres, schools and other venues across Victoria. It has revitalised its philanthropic program, regularly appears in broadcasts, open-air events, undertakes recordings, has established regional Festivals, broadened its educational and outreach activities and established its own Melbourne based chamber music series, Five at 5.
After 44 years of performances together, in 2014 Orchestra Victoria became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Australian Ballet, confirming the future of the Orchestra as one of Australia’s most dynamic National Performing Arts Partnership companies. Orchestra Victoria is grateful for the support of its government, philanthropic and corporate partners.
With over 150 performances a year, to more than 170,000 people, Orchestra Victoria is widely regarded as one of the most versatile orchestras in the country.
Read Orchestra Victoria's Strategic Plan 2019-2023.