Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, also known as the MSO, is a Melbourne based Australian orchestra, and the oldest and longest-running professional orchestra in the country. It is based in Hamer Hall, which was previously known as the Melbourne Concert Hall. Hamer Hall is located at 100 Saint Kilda Road in Melbourne, and it’s Australia’s flagship multi-level concert hall, designed to accommodate an audience of 2500 people.
The MSO was founded in 1906, and it has been going strong since then. For a period in its history, between 1949 and 1965, the MSO changed its name to the Victorian Symphony Orchestra, but it reverted back to its original name when other smaller cities in Victoria started forming their own orchestras.
Since the mid-1960s, the MSO has been performing internationally, and over the decades, it has toured major cities across most continents. It has performed in New Zealand, in the USA (including in Carnegie Hall in New York), in China, Canada, Japan, Russia, Korea, and all over Europe. The MSO has also collaborated with other world-leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic during international music festivals.
The MSO is funded by both by the Federal Government and the Victorian State Government, but it partly relies on the support of corporations and private donors. Thankfully, Melbourne has many residents who are keen patrons of the arts, so the MSO has never run into funding issues.
The MSO is managed by Symphony Services International, which also oversees other major orchestras in Australia, including the Adelaide, Sydney, Queensland, Western Australian, and Tasmanian symphony orchestras. Symphony Services International is in charge talent development ( it provides educational resources and support programs for upcoming instrumental musicians), and it deals with logistical issues whenever international artists have to collaborate with Australian orchestras. It also deals with music rights and booking issues for all the symphony orchestras under its management.
The MSO’s contribution to Australia’s culture has earned it a status as an icon. It is known for staging passionate performances of the best orchestra music, not just in Melbourne, but around the country and the world.
The MSO has a wide-ranging performing repertory, as well as an extensive recording catalogue. Over the years, the orchestra has recorded its own works, alongside its versions of classical compositions. It has also recorded cinematic pieces, and it has collaborated with popular musicians to record pop songs under many different genres. For a brief moment in its history, the MSO was affiliated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it used to perform live on TV.
For its exemplary work, the MSO has been nominated for and has won very many prestigious music awards. In its recent history, it has been nominated several times for ARIA Awards, APRA Awards, and Helpmann Awards.
Hamer Hall: Home of the MSO
Since it was opened in the early 1980s, Hamer Hall has been the best orchestra hall in Melbourne, so it’s no wonder that it was immediately designated as the official venue of the MSO. Its location on St Kilda Road makes it easily accessible from the Melbourne CBD, and from any point in the city.
Hamer Hall is located within the Arts Central Melbourne complex, so you if you visit the facility by car, you can use the parking facility at the complex. If you prefer to use the train, Flinders Street Station is the train stop that’s closest to Hamer Hall. If you use the tram, there is a stop right in front of Arts Central Melbourne.
Hamer Hall is a well-designed venue with lots of escalators and lifts, so even when it’s fully booked, patrons have an easy time getting around and using various facilities. The MSO plays here frequently, and you can visit the official website of Arts Central Melbourne to find out about their upcoming scheduled events, look at sitting charts, or buy tickets to the orchestra.
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