Monash Academy Orchestra

Monash Academy Orchestra (MAO) is a symphony orchestra that includes players from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, and others.


Monash Academy Orchestra

Monash Academy Orchestra (MAO) is a symphony orchestra based at Monash University, Clayton. The orchestra includes students from the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance, as well as musicians from the wider Monash community. The Melbourne orchestra joyously shares musical performance with all Victorians.

The MAO is committed to performing the work of Australian composers. To this end, a new work is commissioned from an Australian composer each year.

2021 Auditions

Auditions for the 2021 Season have now closed. However, there may be some vacancies, depending on the instrument. Please contact the orchestra administrator, Hannah Trinca, for further details:

2021 Performances

In 2021, we’re continuing our long-running series of orchestral concerts, featuring Monash staff, students and guest musicians. This year marks the beginning of a shift to reflect the changing focus of the SZCSOMP towards Australian composers and women in music.

The MAO will present two concerts in 2021, at the Alexander Theatre and Robert Blackwood Hall. Repertoire for these concerts is still to be confirmed. Please check back here for more details early in Semester 1, 2021.

MAO 1 – Sunday, 23rd May, 2021, Alexander Theatre

MAO 2 – Sunday, 22nd August, 2021, Robert Blackwood Hall

2020 Performances

Like all live performance organisations, the MAO had its original 2020 plans disrupted by COVID-19. Despite this, the MAO adapted to the circumstances, creating two significant projects for the year.


Christmas with Ludwig

Celebrating Christmas and Ludwig Beethoven’s 250th birthday, the MAO presented a live streamed concert from the Alexander Theatre on Friday, 18th December, 2020; conducted by Roy Theaker with the following repertoire:

Deborah Cheetham  Long Time Living Here
Corelli  Christmas Concerto (Concerto Grosso op.6 no.8)
Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1 in C major.

Soloist: Caroline Almonte

Sir David Willcocks, Five Christmas Carols

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Unto Us is Born A Son
The First Nowell
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

MAO Online Orchestral Project

In Semester 2, 2020 the MAO engaged in an online project recording and filming the following works:

Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony no 3 (Finale)

Richard Strauss – Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare

Stuart Greenbaum – Rotation of the Earth

Students were given the opportunity to work closely with Benjamin Northey (Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Principal Conductor in Residence of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), Flinders String Quartet and Principal wind, brass, and percussion players of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.


Do I have to be a music student to audition for MAO?
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No, any student from any faculty can audition for a position in the orchestra.

I was a member of MAO in 2020. Do I need to re-audition?
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At the start of each year, all positions in the orchestra are declared vacant. Members must re-audition for a position every year.

Do I need an accompanist?
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Only those students invited to audition for the concertmaster position need an accompanist.

What do I need to prepare?
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Please prepare a series of set orchestral excerpts relevant to your instrument. These are accessible via links below.


Will auditions take place in person?
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No, auditions for 2021 will be conducted via ‘blind’ video recordings. Audition recording tips can be found on the Phone Filming Techniques document.

How long will the audition take?
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Auditions typically last around 7–10 minutes. Two applicants are allocated to a 15-minute audition time block.

I am unable to make the listed audition date(s) during Orientation Week. Am I still able to audition?
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It may be possible to organise a late audition, depending on your instrument. Please contact the orchestra administrator to find out if an alternative time is possible.

When do rehearsals take place?
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Rehearsals are project-based and commence 2-3 weeks before a concert. Rehearsals are held in the evenings and on weekends (to avoid clashes with scheduled classes). This simulates the orchestral rehearsal process in the industry and produces the best performance outcome for all involved.

Current rehearsal schedule can be found here

Where do rehearsals take place?
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Full orchestral rehearsals usually take place in the Robert Blackwood Hall on the Clayton campus. Various rooms in the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music are used for tutorials and sectionals.