WASO are excited to partner with Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and Orchestra Victoria to announce the launch of the expanded Australian Conducting Academy.

The Academy will be led by Johannes Fritzsch, Principal Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

“I am looking forward to meeting the selected group for the 2023-2024 program at the first module in January 2023 in Hobart and to offer my guidance and support over the following two years” stated Fritzsch.

The symphony orchestras are not new to the complex business of supporting the development of conductors, having invested previously in a national Conductor Development program as well as the Tasmanian-based Australian Conducting Academy. WASO also support conductors in Western Australia through the organisation’s Assistant Conductor position and Emerging Conductors program.

“WASO have a strong history of nurturing artists through our Young & Emerging Artist programs and I’m pleased we can now further expand our support for the next generation through our participation in the Australian Conducting Academy” said Paul Shannon, WASO CEO.

WASO 2020 Emerging Conductors participant Elise Chong conducts the orchestra.

The current expansion of the national programs has been made possible by a grant of $230,000 over three years from the Ian Potter Foundation and the investment of over $2m by participating orchestras, led by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra which has coordinated the endeavour.

“We are extremely grateful to the Ian Potter Foundation for their support of this important program” said Caroline Sharpen, CEO of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. “A measure of our success will be the number of Australian conductors standing on our podiums and those across the world in years to come.”

Also key to the program is Griffith University, which will collaborate with the orchestras to produce a globally significant longitudinal study of pathways to the profession and the career outcomes for over 20 years of graduates from conductor training programs in Australia.

The Australian Conducting Academy presents a unique opportunity for aspiring conductors from Australia and New Zealand to learn from experienced orchestral leaders and to have the chance to work with all major orchestras in Australia. In addition to Fritzsch, mentors will include other renowned Australian and international maestros including Chief Conductors of some of the symphony orchestras. Participants will receive a stipend, travel/accommodation and substantial podium time with professional Australian orchestras.

WASO 2022 Assistant Conductor Jen Winley conducts the orchestra for John Williams: 90th Birthday Bonanza.

In a true collaboration, Australia’s six symphony orchestras and Orchestra Victoria have committed to providing orchestral time, world class mentors and all of the artistic and administrative support required to nurture emerging conducting talent.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Managing Director and Chair of Symphony Services Australia, Sophie Galaise, says “Nurturing the development of the next generation of Australian conductors will enrich the cultural identity of the Australian arts and cultural landscape, contributing not only to the ongoing development of our symphony orchestras but also the wide spectrum of organisations that make music such as small to medium organisations, opera companies and of course the vast music education sector.”

The Australian Conducting Academy 2023 - 2024 is open to conductors of any age who are permanent residents or citizens of Australia and New Zealand.

Applications close on Sunday 3 July 2022; more information can be found here.


The Australian Conducting Academy is supported by The Ian Potter Foundation.

The WASO Assistant Conductor position and Emerging Conductors program are generously supported by the Simon Lee Foundation.