Two of Melbourne’s most prestigious arts companies, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Chorale today announced their plans to formally integrate next year.

Following ministerial approval for the transfer of State Government funding through Arts Victoria, the Melbourne Chorale’s activities and operations will integrate into the newly-named Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus from January 2008.

The Minister for the Arts, Lynne Kosky said the integration of the Chorale and the MSO would bring long term benefits to both organisations – artistic, financial and operational.

“This will ensure the future stability and growth of both the Chorus and the Orchestra, raise their profile, and ultimately offer the best possible music experiences for audiences.”

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chairman Elizabeth Proust said “The relationship between the MSO and the Chorale has grown artistically and operationally over decades. This integration represents a natural evolution of that creative partnership, ensuring audiences continue to enjoy the highest quality choral and orchestral performances.”

“Through the integration of the Chorus, greater flexibility and opportunities exist for innovative programming, commissioning of new works and strengthening the Chorus’s leadership role in developing the art-form on a national and international level”,
said Huw Humphreys, MSO Director of Artistic Planning.

Outgoing President of the Melbourne Chorale and current singer, Martin Royce said “We fully support the integration of the Chorale and the MSO. Together we aim to deliver world class performances of choral and symphonic works, engaging audiences in the highest quality musical experience. As outgoing President of the Melbourne Chorale, I wish to express my thanks to Chorale members for their support and dedication as we move to this next exciting stage in the Chorale’s distinguished history.”

The integration of orchestra and chorus has its precedence in renowned organisations such as the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Symphony and the West Australian Symphony orchestras.

“In 2008 the MSO Chorus features in six different programs, performing some of the major highlights of next year’s season. These include Verdi’s Requiem, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Enescu’s Vox Maris and the Australian premiere of Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony Babi Yar under the baton of the MSO’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Oleg Caetani”, said Huw Humphreys.

“Looking forward to 2009 and beyond, we plan to engage audiences for our choral performances through interesting programming whilst fully integrating Chorale/MSO activities on all levels – both on the concert stage and as part of our Education and Community Outreach work in metropolitan and regional areas.”

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