Symphony Services Australia began in 1997 after the six Australian state orchestras were devolved from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, creating the need for a company to provide services in a centralised environment.
From 1997 until 2016, Symphony Services Australia managed a national Artist Development program on behalf of its Member orchestras. The program provided opportunities for Australian composers, conductors and performers and incorporated the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.
Artist development opportunities are now provided by the individual orchestras, reflecting a national focus while also addressing their own state’s particular priorities. The Young Performers Awards are now run by the Music & Opera Singers Trust, with a number of prizes and opportunities contributed by Symphony Australia and the symphony orchestras.
Dating back to the 1920s, the Australian Broadcasting Commission, and later Symphony Australia, played an important role in Australian musical life by commissioning new Australian compositions for performance and broadcast. The Symphony Services Music Library acquired many of the resulting music scores and performance parts and remains a significant resource for Australian music. Many of these original manuscripts, known as the Symphony Australia Collection, are held at the National Library of Australia in Canberra for preservation. The collection includes the works of over 78 Australian composers and arrangers as well as scores owned and annotated by significant conductors and musicians.
The company offers key services to orchestral music organisations and artists within the small to medium sector as well as for its Member and Associate orchestras.