Mary Jo Capps steps down as CEO of Musica Viva Australia this week, bringing to an end a tenure of almost 20 years. Capps has helmed Australia’s oldest independent professional performing arts organisation since 1999, overseeing a number of significant changes to the organisation, and picking up several honours along the way, among them an honorary doctoratelast year by the University of Melbourne and the inaugural Arts Leadership Awardat the 2016 Creative Partnerships Awards.

When she agreed to take the Musica Viva position at the end of the last millennium – bringing wide-ranging experience from Musicology studies in Toronto to a career working with Australian symphony orchestras, the ABC, her own consultancy and a position as Deputy Managing Director and Director of Development for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra – she had no idea she’d be there almost two decades later.

Mary Jo Capps Mary Jo Capps. Photo © Keith Saunders

“Your career path is really only visible in hindsight,” Capps tells Limelight. “I was very fortunate in always having some great opportunities that came up, and being able to take advantage of them and join in and contribute my bit.”