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Each year, the MSO is fortunate to receive grants from various trusts and foundations that support important MSO programs and initiatives, both on and off the stage.

Provided as single or multi-year grants, this important funding support enables us to deliver quality music experiences to the community we serve. including, our education project The Pizzicato Effect, subsidising tickets for students and young people, performances in regional Victoria, our artist development programs and leadership roles within the administration team.

Profiling the Cybec Foundation

The Cybec Foundation: Celebrating an Immeasurable Investment in Australian Artist Development

For 18 years, the Cybec Foundation has been a loyal and generous supporter of the MSO. Addressing the need for hands-on professional development opportunities for emerging Australian composers, the Foundation’s support enabled the creation of the MSO's nationally-recognised Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers program. This flagship initiative has become an exemplar for artist development programs within the sector, and contributed to the MSO’s reputation as one of the largest advocates for Australian new music.

This year, the MSO commissioned four new concerti from Australian composers to showcase the virtuosity and talent within our woodwind and brass sections. Testament to the impact and legacy of the Foundation’s contribution to the Australian orchestral art form, all the composers are current or past participants in MSO’s Cybec artist development programs.

Cybec alumnae featured in 2021, L to R: Anne Cawrse (photograph: Emma Luker), May Lyon and Holly Harrison (photograph: Steve Broadbent).

As we welcome back the three Cybec Alumnae – May Lyon, Holly Harrison, and Anne Cawrse – for the world premieres of their MSO commissions, we invited them to reflect upon their Cybec experiences.

Currently Composer in Residence with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Holly often attributes her participation in the Cybec program as “the catalyst and true beginning of my musical career.” Participating in 2013, the program offered Holly her first opportunity to write for an orchestra; providing a training ground to learn valuable “skills that go far beyond a composition degree and can only be learned in a practical setting”.

Since then, Holly’s career has rapidly progressed. Her Cybec piece, Frumious, was subsequently performed at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California, and later by the Minot Symphony Orchestra in North Dakota. “This soon led to other international opportunities, including winning several competitions and call for scores in the Netherlands, UK, USA, and South Korea.”

She adds “Had I not been accepted into the program, I would never have received the opportunity to write for orchestra, especially under professional mentorship.”

May Lyon, who participated in program in 2017, echoes this sentiment. “Cybec was such an important stepping-stone in getting me to where I am now.” Not only did it reveal “how much I love writing for orchestra and that I wanted to focus on it more in the future,” May's Cybec work, Ignition, resulted in her being a finalist in the 2019 Beleura Emerging Composers Award 2019, which is part of the Melbourne Prize. The piece caught the attention of a member of the adjudicating panel, who encouraged her to apply for her PhD as part of the Composing Women Program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Anne, a highly sought-after composer who participated in 2007, also describes her Cybec experience as “invaluable as a stepping-stone to further commissions and opportunities, but first and foremost the professionalism of the outcome allowed me to trust my voice as a composer.”

She adds that “I have discovered through my career that a lot of composition training occurs 'on the job' - creating, writing, rehearsing, connecting with performers and conductors, and having the opportunity to give things a try and hear the outcomes. The Cybec Composer's Program provided all these things, and the MSO approached my music with the utmost respect.”

The Cybec Foundation’s unwavering support for the MSO over 18 years represents a significant investment in the future of the Australian music, the orchestral artform, and the individual lives and professional pathways of 68 emerging composers. In recent years, this generosity has also enabled the MSO to foster the conducting careers of Benjamin Northey, Tianyi Lu and, currently, MSO’s Assistant Principal Cellist, Nicholas Bochner.

Thanks to the Cybec Foundation, the future of Australian orchestral music shines brighter than ever.

Current Trusts and Foundations

See the Trusts and Foundations currently supporting us.

Our supporters

Contact us

For more information, please contact:
Catherine Hempenstall, External Affairs – Grants and Reporting Lead

Phone: 0490 002 043

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