Music Australia News

Orchestra Victoria told to vacate its Albert Park home

Graham Strahle
| June 7, 2016

Having previously reported that Australian National Academy of Music is facing uncertainty over its South Melbourne home (that situation is still not resolved), we now learn that Orchestra Victoria is required to leave its premises close by in Albert Park. The heritage-listed former Army Band Barracks building which it presently leases from Parks Victoria will be turned over to a new school.

The situation has been brewing since last November when the Victorian Government confirmed the creation of the new South Melbourne Park Primary School on the site. However, no alternative home for OV has been secured. ArtsHub says that the orchestra was notified last year and will be required to vacate by early December this year.

OV has occupied the Army Band Barracks since it left the Victorian Arts Centre in 2001.

The 50-member Orchestra, which is a subsidiary of The Australian Ballet, is a performance partner of that company, Opera Australia and Victorian Opera. Under its artistic director, Nicolette Fraillon, it also gives its own independent concerts.

Australian Ballet’s Executive Director Libby Christie told ArtsHub: ‘What we’d love to do is find a permanent home for the Orchestra but we know that we’d be unlikely to find something suitable in that short term, but we want to find something that the Orchestra can move into as soon after the first of December as possible.”

The problem looming is that very time OV will be playing again for Opera Australia’s remount of Wagner’s Ring Cycle – that production runs November 21 to December 16. Let’s hopes a solution is reached well ahead of then.


  1. Greg Cook

    Wasn’t only last year we heard/read of a school and an orchestra in Germany who were sharing a site which had outstanding serendipitous outcomes for the school. Some thinking outside the box with time-share and acoustic upgrades (see elsewhere in this Music Australia News for Victorian grants program) should be investigated.

    1. Susan Pierotti

      Time share will not work in this instance. As a former member of the orchestra, I know that the premises are required for orchestra use and storage of equipment mostly during school hours. It is large enough (just) for an orchestra but not a school as well.
      I am alarmed to read that it is only 50 players now. When I was there we were considered undersized at 69 players. To give Melbourne the best performances possible, it really should be funded for 87 players. However, Orchestra Victoria has a consistent history of providing optimal performance with its back to the wall; I just wonder how long government funding can squeeze one of Australia’s best performing assets dry…

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