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Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra

Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra COVID-19 Appeal

With more than a third of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra's operating budget relying on box office revenue, the mandatory cancellation of events due to COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for the future of our orchestra and its concert performances and education programs.

Please consider donating the price of a ticket or supporting us in whichever way you can. Your donation will help support a future for our organisation, our musicians and the education of our music students.


The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra is unique in the Australian musical landscape as the only orchestra specialising in historically-informed performance (HIP) of late 18th- to early 20th-century repertoire. Founded under the artistic direction of renowned musician and educator the late Richard Gill AO and now under the co-artistic direction of Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen, the ensemble is a familiar sight and sound at major Sydney and Melbourne arts venues, as well as in metropolitan and regional centres throughout the country, and considers itself a national ensemble. The orchestra is dedicated to recreating the sounds and style of Romantic and Classical music as it was played in the time it was composed with the combined talents of world-class musicians and researchers.

“With this interesting program, excitingly performed, Beesley, Van Bruggen and their musicians have launched their 2020 season by once again demonstrating that the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra is a force to be reckoned with.” Limelight Magazine

The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra has had to cancel a total of 14 concerts between April and August due to COVID-19 resulting in a major loss in box office income.

In tandem with its concerts, the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra educates Australian audiences and young people on the history of Western music through two cornerstone education programs. These have also had to be cancelled for 2020 resulting in even less revenue.

  • Voyage of Musical Discovery is an education program deconstructing and exploring connections between different styles and periods of Western music. Originally conceived as an educational resource for secondary school music students but increasingly popular with concert goers of all ages, this series features guest ensembles who specialise in the performance of improvised and contemporary Australian music performing alongside the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra for a visceral contrast of old and new. In May and August 2020, two Voyages have had to be cancelled and hundreds of ticket holders have been refunded.
  • Young Mannheim Symphonists is an intensive one-week course bringing young Australian musicians from diverse backgrounds together to be mentored in HIP style. In addition to an intense focus on musical development, the students learn to operate outside their comfort zone and work together in large groups with a common goal in mind. The Young Mannheim Symphonists provides a nationwide opportunity for young musicians to perform Classical and Romantic symphonic works in historically informed style. In 2020, the Young Mannheim Symphonists National Winter Academy residential music camp was to take place at Sydney University in July, and State Intensives in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland were to be held in April. Over a hundred students from all over Australia had been accepted into these courses following a rigorous audition process.

Through these two programs, the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra has demonstrated a unique commitment to music education in Australia, reaching over 4,000 students in the last two years alone.


Private or corporate support by way of donation is an invaluable asset for us and your support will make an enormous difference to the artistic and cultural landscape of Australia.

Please feel free to contact our General Manager, Nicole van Bruggen ( for further information on joining our Donors Circle, becoming a Principal Chair Patron or leaving a bequest.

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