Managing Director, Australian World Orchestra.
“A storm of applause shook the iconic Sydney Opera House as the sold-out Concert Hall crowd took to their feet and gave a five-minute standing ovation to the 99 Australian professional musicians on stage. The musicians had come from across the world to make history, the inaugural performances of the Australian World Orchestra (AWO), held over evenings in late August this year. “ – Melinda Ham’s Review, Austrade in house publication Australia Unlimited, September 2011.
Australian classical musicians are often obliged to leave our country to achieve their goal of becoming professional musicians and interestingly an extraordinarily large number have worked their way to the ‘top’ of this extremely difficult and competitive profession. However, as many are attached to their overseas orchestras on a full time basis we rarely hear them perform. The object of the AWO is to bring these players home from around the World, combine them with the plethora of talent throughout Australia, to form an orchestra of the highest standard that is simply quite electrifying to hear.
The AWO is the brainchild of conductor Alexander Briger and together with his sister Gabrielle Thompson who worked to bring this dream to reality for Australia’s musical Diaspora on a biennial basis. The funding and logistics of bringing together 99 musicians from 46 orchestras from 26 cities worldwide as well as organising the actual concerts was challenging and there is no doubt it was an ambitious project. As CEO Gabrielle’s work fell into this area.
Gabrielle began her career in the Theatre with the Stables and Nimrod Theatres and then took the unusual step and diverted to a career in international banking. She worked for many years with both foreign and local banks - Citibank, ANZ and Credit Suisse where she honed marketing and skills dealing with Governments and the corporate sector sat on the Board of the Inrterntaional Chamber of Commerce and represented Australia at forums in Istanbul, Hamburg and Delhi. Some years ago she took the decision to return to her passion – the Arts and became a film producer where she has worked on a variety of productions including features and short films – her film Snookered garnishing acclaim at Tropfest Tribecca, NY as the runner up.
One of the most challenging aspects of the project was building brand awareness aimed at establishing the AWO as Australia’s newest symphony orchestra, and, simultaneously developing an advertising campaign to sell tickets. All within 9 months! The support provided to the AWO by 3DD on all of these aspects of the project was invaluable resulting in our reaching all targets and strongly establishing us for the future. As the above review indicates the AWO’s inaugural season was a booming success and culminated in the AWO winning the Limelight Award for the Best Concert for 2011 as voted by the ABC listeners and their readers.