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Kate Lidbetter – Keynote address to China Symphony Development Foundation

President Guo, vice presidents, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to be here today and am grateful for the opportunity to tell you a little about the Australian network of professional symphony orchestras, and about Symphony Australia. I have worked for 20 years as an arts administrator in Australia, including eight years as Artist Development Manager of Symphony Australia. I have now been Chief Executive Officer of Symphony Australia for 18 months. During that time Symphony Australia has begun a very exciting period of growth and development. This should be good news for orchestras in Asia. Symphony Australia aims to grow into a company that provides a wide range of services and products to orchestras not only in Australia but around the world. We hope that Asia will become an important market for us in the near future; when Australians look beyond their shores, what they see first is Asia.

I would like to share with you all something of the history of our orchestras. Though our vast country was first settled by Europeans 222 years ago, we have orchestras, those very- European institutions, only recently. Since the 1930s, Australia has had just six full time professional orchestras. These were created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC, Australia‟s national broadcaster which provides television and radio services to the country. The orchestras were created as radio broadcast orchestras, but in recent years they have become commercial entities that are funded by the Australian government, as well as sponsorship, ticket sales and other means of generating income. Symphony Australia was once a division of the ABC, but today is an independent entity. We provide services such as access to the music library, artist development, tour management and liaison, and program notes – on a national basis. This is far more cost effective and sustainable for each individual orchestra and avoids duplication in many areas.

Click here for the full text of the CSDF address (PDF)