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It is with a sense of optimism that I write to you on the eve of the MSO's final performances of 2021. It has once again been a challenging year for us all. The ongoing effects of COVID-19 have certainly limited our ability to present live performances, however I am thrilled to share some exciting updates with you before the summer break.

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the MSO Board to congratulate MSO Managing Director, Sophie Galaise on being named in Musical America magazine as one of their Top 30 Professionals of the Year for 2021. Musical America is one of the world’s leading industry publications with a readership in 95 countries. The annual recognition is compiled from an independent and international jury of peers and this acknowledgment for Sophie is a wonderful achievement for her and the MSO.

The leadership Sophie and her team have shown has been impressive, as they have navigated the pandemic and its effects on the MSO. This accolade follows the appointment of Sophie as Chair of Symphony Services International, a leading role among Australian orchestras. I am immensely proud of Sophie's achievements and thank her for her tireless work to enhance the reputation and stability of the MSO. I trust you will join me in acknowledging her successes.

This morning, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts announced the MSO will receive $2 million in Federal funding in 2022. I speak for all at the MSO when I say how grateful we are to be one of five Australian institutions to receive support through this latest Arts Sustainability Funding round. This essential funding will help support a part of MSO’s operations into next year, so we can continue to perform for you.

I invite you to read the Minister’s media release here.

Our final concerts of the year take place over coming days. This Saturday and Sunday’s performances of Handel’s Messiah will be particularly special for us, as they will see the triumphant return of the MSO Chorus for the first time since February 2020. We have missed them on our stages.

On Monday and Tuesday, our Performance of a Lifetime: LIVE! concerts will ring out from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with the voices of some of Australia’s most-loved performers including Dannii Minogue, Tim Rogers, Kate Ceberano, Deborah Cheetham AO, Rhonda Burchmore and many (many) more. The weather is looking wonderful and I encourage you to join us as the sun sets over Melbourne.

Our attention now turns towards 2022, and the excitement of the year ahead – including the arrival of our new Chief Conductor, Jaime Martín. I thank all musicians and staff of the MSO for their efforts throughout 2021, as well as our wider community – you – who have continued to support and stay connected with us during these difficult two years. Thank you in particular to the Australian Government through the Office of the Arts and Australia Council, the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, our donors, our partners and our audiences; we are truly grateful.

I wish you a happy (and restful) holiday period, and look forward to seeing you in the concert hall soon.

Kind regards,

David Li AM
MSO Chairman

L-R: Lorraine Hook, MSO Board member; Christopher Ride, Liberal candidate for Macnamara; Dale Barltrop, MSO Concertmaster; David Li AM, MSO Chairman; Hon. Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts; Sophie Galaise, MSO Managing Director; and Ben Northey, MSO Principal Conductor in Residence.

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