"I am a passionate advocate for music education in Australia. We know that music is undeniably linked with social, cognitive, physical and emotional growth and wellbeing. Studies show that music helps with skills such as discipline, language, reasoning and self-confidence."– Richard Tognetti AO, Artistic Director

Our National Education Program offers a depth of engagement across Australia, offering access to our outstanding musicians and working closely with different communities to ensure our programs have a direct impact with all involved.

Some programs we run annually include:

ACO Foundations

ACO Foundations, currently in its pilot year at St Marys North Public School, is designed to provide the opportunity for a whole class of Year 1 students to start learning to play the violin or cello at school, in class time.

The St Mary’s North program will evaluate how access to music education may affect life outcomes and have a long-term impact on productivity by measuring working memory, auditory processing and musical ability. It is being monitored by the School of Economics at Sydney University in partnership with Anita Collins, an Australian expert on the benefits of music on cognitive development. And it is hoped that the results from this program will encourage and support the more widespread introduction of similar music education programs.


ACO Music & Art

ACO Music & Art is an online curriculum which offers primary school students the chance to learn from ACO musicians through calling into a Virtual Classroom.  Students create visual art works in response to music and connect with our musicians wherever they are in the world.  Teachers have access to a dedicated website with Australian curriculum-linked lesson plans, content and video tutorials which guide teachers through different musical concepts, instruments and historical periods in music and art.  You can see some of the artworks inspired by this program here


ACO Inspire Quartet

Our dedicated education quartet is made up of ACO Collective alumni who have a passion for music education.  The Quartet facilitates string workshops and schools’ concerts, as well as presenting video conferences and live visits as part of ACO Music & Art for students in regional areas and capital cities across Australia.

Their work includes visiting Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville, Victoria and Djarragun College near Cairns where they work with students to create visual artworks in response to music.  They also partner with Gondwana Choirs and have performed numerous times with Cairns Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir in Uluru and Cairns, collaborating with the choristers at their annual camp.

ACO Inspire also regularly visit The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and partners with teachers at the Hospital’s Education Institute to continue students’ learning while they are in hospital.  Students collaborate with our musicians to write, perform and record their songs, developing music and literacy skills which can be used when they return to school.


ACO Collective

This ensemble combines musicians of the ACO with young professional string players from the ACO’s Emerging Artist Program.  This is our touring ensemble, with ACO Collective performing across Australia and undertaking regional tours annually to bring chamber music to remote communities.

This year they also collaborated with The Hush Foundation to record ‘Hush 18’.  The repertoire showcases established and emerging Australian composers, inspired by time spent with young people with chronic illness and mental health challenges at children’s hospitals around Australia.


ACO Move

ACO Move is a series of integrated music, sound and movement classes for young adults and school students with disability. 

In 2018 we are collaborating with Back to Back Theatre in Melbourne and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Bella Connect Plus program in Sydney, to increase the outreach of these classes. 


ACO Academy

Led by ACO Violinist Aiko Goto, this annual week-long workshop is available to top-level secondary string students.  Students spend the week rehearsing and performing with ACO mentors, building skills in technical accuracy, ensemble playing and performance technique.  The week culminates in a public performance as a chamber orchestra, playing alongside ACO musicians.


ACO Emerging Artists’ Program

This program connects the next generation of talented young Australian string players with members of the ACO.  Offered to tertiary and post-tertiary musicians, Emerging Artists rehearse and perform with the ACO and are paired with a full-time musician as their mentor for the full year.  Emerging Artists also tour nationally and internationally with the ACO as part of ACO Collective, providing them with the invaluable experience of working as a professional musician.  Five Emerging Artists have now gone on to become members of the ACO.


Penrith Youth Orchestra

In partnership with the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith Symphony Orchestra, students participate in rehearsals and workshops each term coached by PSO and ACO musicians, culminating in a public performance playing alongside professional musicians. We are proud that in 2018 we have added brass and wind players to the ensemble, creating Penrith’s first youth orchestra.

For more information on supporting our Education programs, contact:

Sarah Morrisby
Philanthropy Manager
(02) 8274 3803


National Education Program Patrons

Mr Marc Besen AC & Mrs Eva Besen AO
Janet Holmes à Court AC

National Education Program Donors

Anonymous (3)

Emerging Artist Patrons$10,000 +

Australian Communities Foundation - Ballandry Fund
Geoff Alder
Karen Allen & Dr Rich Allen
Allens – in memory of Ian Wallace
Philip Bacon AM
Daria & Michael Ball
Steven Bardy & Andrew Patterson
Dr Catherine Brown-Watt PSM & Mr Derek Watt
Rod Cameron & Margaret Gibbs
Stephen & Jenny Charles
Jane & Andrew Clifford
In memory of Wilma Collie
Ryan Cooper Family Foundation
Eureka Benevolent Foundation Belinda Hutchinson AM and Roger Massy-Gre
Terry & Lynn Fern
Mr & Mrs Bruce Fink
Dr Ian Frazer AC & Mrs Caroline Frazer
Tony & Michelle Grist
Angus & Kimberley Holden
Catherine Holmes à Court-Mather
GB and MK Ilett
John & Lisa Kench
Miss Nancy Kimpton
Anthony & Sharon Lee Foundation
Liz & Walter Lewin
Louise & Martyn Myer Foundation
James Ostroburski & Leo Ostroburski
The Bruce & Joy Reid Trust
The Barbara Robinson Family
In Memory of Lady Maureen Schubert - Marie Louise Theile & Felicity Sc
Anthony Strachan
John Taberner & Grant Lang
Leslie C. Thiess
Alden Toevs & Judi Wolf
Brook A Turner
Shemara Wikramanayake
Cameron Williams
Libby & Nick Wright
E Xipell
Anonymous (2)

Direttore$5,000 - $9,999

Jennifer Aaron
The Belalberi Foundation
Walter Barda & Thomas O'Neill
Carmelo & Anne Bontempo
Helen Breekveldt
Veronika & Joseph Butta
Rowena Danziger AM & Ken Coles AM
Suellen Enestrom
Paul R Espie AO
Bridget Faye AM
Vivienne Fried
Liz Harbison
Annie Hawker
John Griffiths & Beth Jackson
I Kallinikos
The Key Foundation
Kerry Landman
In memory of Dr Peter Lewin
Lorraine Logan
Danita Lowes & David File
Macquarie Group Foundation
The Alexandra & Lloyd Martin Family Foundation
Julianne Maxwell
Rany Moran
Beau Neilson & Jeffrey Simpson
Paris Neilson & Todd Buncombe
Libby and Peter Plaskitt
John Rickard
Greg Shalit & Miriam Faine
Victoria & Peter Shorthouse
J Skinner
Sky News Australia
Petrina Slaytor
Jeanne-Claude Strong
Tamas & Joanna Szabo
Vanessa Tay
Marie-Louise Theile
Alenka Tindale
Simon & Amanda Whiston
Hamilton Wilson
Woods5 Foundation
Anonymous (6)

Maestro$2,500 - $4,999

Annette Adair
Rae & David Allen
Stephen & Sophie Allen
Will & Dorothy Bailey Charitable Gift
Lyn Baker & John Bevan
The Beeren Foundation
Rosemary & Julian Block
Jenny Bryant
Neil & Jane Burley
Caroline & Robert Clemente
Laurie Cox AO & Julie Ann Cox AM
Carol & Andrew Crawford
Anne & Thomas Dowling
In memory of Rosario Razon Garcia
Cass George
Warren Green
Nereda Hanlon & Michael Hanlon AM
Peter & Helen Hearl
Ruth Hoffman & Peter Halstead
Warwick & Ann Johnson
Peter and Ruth McMullin
Roslyn Morgan
Jane Morley
Sandra & Michael Paul Endowment
Prof David Penington AC
Kenneth Reed AM
Patricia H Reid Endowment Pty Ltd
Ralph & Ruth Renard
Mrs Tiffany Rensen
Fe & Don Ross
D N Sanders
Carol Schwartz AM & Alan Schwartz AM
Kathy & Greg Shand
Maria Sola
Ezekiel Solomon AM
Josephine Strutt
Susan Thacore
Rob & Kyrenia Thomas
Ralph Ward-Ambler AM & Barbara Ward-Ambler
Don & Mary Ann Yeats
Anonymous (6)

Virtuoso$1,000 - $2,499

Barbara Allan
Jane Allen
Lillian & Peter Armitage
In memory of Anne and Mac Blight David Blight and Lisa Maeorg
Adrienne Basser
Doug & Alison Battersby
Robin Beech
Justice Annabelle Bennett AO
Berg Family Foundation
Graeme & Linda Beveridge
Leigh Birtles
Jessica Block
In memory of Peter Boros
Brian Bothwell
Benjamin Brady
Vicki Brooke
Diana Brookes
Stuart Brown
Sally Bufé
Gerard Byrne & Donna O'Sullivan
Ray Carless & Jill Keyte
Ann Cebon-Glass
Julia Champtaloup & Andrew Rothery
Alex & Elizabeth Chernov
Kaye Cleary
Dr Peter Clifton
Andrew Clouston
John & Chris Collingwood
Angela & John Compton
Leith & Darrel Conybeare
R & J Corney
Anne Craig
Cruickshank Family Trust
Ian Davis & Sandrine Barouh
Michael & Wendy Davis
Martin Dolan
In memory of Ray Dowdell
Dr William F Downey
Pamela Duncan
Emeritus Professor Dexter Dunphy
Carmel Dwyer
Karen Enthoven
Peter Evans
Julie Ewington
Patrick Fair
Penelope & Susan Field
Elizabeth Finnegan
Jean Finnegan & Peter Kerr
Don & Marie Forrest
Ron Forster & Jane Christensen
John Fraser
Anne & Justin Gardener
Kay Giorgetta
Brian Goddard
Jack Goodman & Lisa McIntyre
Ian and Ruth Gough
Louise Gourlay OAM
Melissa & Jonathon Green
Anne Gregg
Kathryn Greiner AO
Grussgott Trust
In memory of Jose Gutierrez
Lyndsey Hawkins
Kingsley Herbert
Lachie Hill
Vanessa and Christian Holle
Christopher Holmes
Doug Hooley
Michael Horsburgh AM & Beverley Horsburgh
Carrie & Stanley Howard
Penelope Hughes
Professor Emeritus Andrea Hull AO
Stephanie & Mike Hutchinson
Owen James
Anthony Jones & Julian Liga
Brian Jones
Bronwen L Jones
Aberfoyle Partners
Mrs Angela Karpin
Michael Kohn
Airdrie Lloyd
Gabriel Lopata
Judy Lynch
Garth Mansfield OAM and Margaret Mansfield OAM
Mr Greg & Mrs Jan Marsh
Janet Matton & Robin Rowe
Jane Tham & Philip Maxwell
Kevin & Deidre McCann
Jennifer Senior & Jenny McGee
Helen & Phil Meddings
Jim Middleton
Peter & Felicia Mitchell
Dr Robert Mitchell
Baillieu and Sarah Myer
Dr G Nelson
Nola Nettheim
Jenny Nichol
Barry Novy and Susan Selwyn
Paul O'Donnell
Shay O'Hara-Smith
Fran Ostroburski
Chris Oxley
Leslie Parsonage
Rosie Pilat
GV Pincus
Dr S M Richards AM & Mrs M R Richards
Em Prof A W Roberts AM
Mark & Anne Robertson
J Sanderson
In Memory of H. St. P. Scarlett
Lucille Seale
Morna Seres & Ian Hill
Diana Snape & Brian Snape AM
Dr Peter & Mrs Diana Southwell-Keely
Keith Spence
Cisca Spencer
The Hon James Spigelman AC QC and Mrs Alice Spigelman AM
Harley Wright & Alida Stanley
Caroline Storch
Dr Charles Su & Dr Emily Lo
David & Judy Taylor
Dr Jenepher Thomas
Anne Tonkin
Ngaire Turner
Kay Vernon
Prof Roy & Dr Kimberley MacLeod
Jason Wenderoth
Peter Yates AM & Susan Yates
Rebecca Zoppetti Laubi
Anonymous (25)

Concertino$500 - $999

Dr Judy Alford
Mr & Mrs H T Apsimon
Elsa Atkin AM
Ms Rita Avdiev
Christine Barker
Helen Barnes
In memory of Hatto Beck
Kathrine Becker
Ruth Bell
Philomena Billington
Elizabeth Bolton
Lynne & Max Booth
Carol Bower
Debbie Brady
Denise Braggett
Henry & Jenny Burger
Mrs Pat Burke
Josphine Cai
Heather Carmody
Helen Carrig
Connie Chaird
Pierre and Nada Chami
Fred & Angela Chaney
Colleen & Michael Chesterman
Richard & Elizabeth Chisholm
Stephen Chivers
Captain David Clarke
Richard Cobden SC
Dr Jane Cook
Sam Crawford Architects
Donald Crombie AM
John Curotta
Marie Dalziel
Amanda Davidson
Mari Davis
Rosemary Dean
Rosemary Dean
Kath & Geoff Donohue
Jennifer Douglas
In Memory of Raymond Dudley
M T & R L Elford
Christine Evans
Carol Farlow
Rita Gupta
M Generowicz
Paul Gibson & Gabrielle Curtin
Don & Mary Glue
Sharon Goldie
Colin Golvan QC & Debbie Golvan
Mrs Megan Grace
Paul Greenfield & Kerin Brown
Annette Gross
Kevin Gummer and Paul Cummins
Hamiltons Commercial Interiors
Lesley Harland
Paul & Gail Harris
Sue Harvey
Sandra Haslam
Gaye Headlam
Henfrey Family
Dr Penny Herbert in memory of Dunstan Herbert
Dr Marian Hill
Charissa Ho
Sue & David Hobbs
Geoff Hogbin
Peter & Edwina Holbeach
Richard Hunstead
Geoff & Denise Illing
Robert & Margaret Jackson
Barry Johnson & Davina Johnson OAM
Caroline Jones
Phillip Jones
Irene Kearsey & Michael Ridley
Bruce & Natalie Kellett
Graham Kemp & Heather Nobbs
Irene Ryan & Dean Letcher QC
Megan Lowe
Diana Lungren
Joan Lyons
Dr & Mrs Donald Maxwell
HE & RJ McGlashan
J A McKernan
Claire Middleton
Louise Miller
Marie Morton
Justine Munsie and Rick Kalowski
Nevarc Inc.
Andrew Naylor
J Norman
Robin Offler
Mr Selwyn Owen
Sue Packer
Effie & Savvas Papadopoulos
Ian Penboss
Helen Perlen
Kevin Phillips
Denis & Erika Pidcock
Michael Power
Beverly & Ian Pryer
Alexandra Ridout
Jennifer Rankin
Michael Read
Joanna Renkin & Geoffrey Hansen
Jakob Vujcic and Lucy Robb Vujcic
Angela Roberts
Jennifer Royle
Trish Ryan & Richard Ryan AO
Scott Saunders
Garry Scarf & Morgie Blaxill
Marysia Segan
Jan Seppelt
David & Daniela Shannon
Rena Shein
Agnes Sinclair
Ann and Quinn Sloan
Ken Smith
Brian Stagoll
Patricia Stebbens
Ross Steele AM
Cheri Stevenson
Nigel Stoke
Dr Douglas Sturkey CVO AM
In memory of Dr Aubrey Sweet
Dr Niv & Mrs Joanne Tadmore
Gabrielle Tagg
Tim and Vincie Trahair
TWF See & Lee Chartered Accountants
Joy Wearne
GC & R Weir
Westpac Group
Kathy White
James Williamson
Sally Willis
Janie Wittey
Sir Robert Woods CBE
Lee Wright
Dr Mark & Mrs Anna Yates
Gina Yazbek
Joyce Yong
LiLing Zheng
Brian Zulaikha
Anonymous (46)