Orchestra Victoria

About us

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 2014, Orchestra Victoria began an exciting new chapter when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Australian Ballet, and in 2018 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, it continues to perform with leading artists from around the world, including, Jonas Kaufmann, Andrea Battistoni, Guillaume Tournier, 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.

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 the latest edition of The Score with player interviews and orchestra updates.

Read the previous edition of The Score here.

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