The Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) will see a $4.1 million funding boost over the next four years, as allocated in the 2024-25 Federal Budget.

For the orchestra, which already receives less Commonwealth funding than any other state orchestra, the funding comes at a “critical juncture” for its future survival, due to post-COVID “reductions in sponsorship support and ticket sales”.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Martin Ollman

The funding will be put towards developing existent musical programs including educational and mentorship initiatives; expand CSO’s administrative, creative and programming teams and help deliver programs to assist in creating ongoing income.

The CSO’s Llewellyn and Australian series, both of which spotlight the works of Australian composers, will see growth under the new funding. In 2023, 45 percent of the CSO’s season were works composed by Australians, the highest percentage of any Australian orchestra.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Thomas Lucraft.

“This funding is not just a lifeline; it’s a building block to help secure the future of an Australian institution that has long championed Australian music and culture,” said CSO Chief Executive Officer Rachel Thomas.

“We’re grateful to the Australian Government for recognising the importance of providing more equitable support for the CSO, which not only delivers a program of music that has been recognised as the most diverse in Australia, but makes a huge economic and social contribution to the ACT through employment of local people, and community programs that ensure music is accessible to everyone.” 

More about the Canberra Symphony Orchestra can be found here.

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