Alumni past and present shocked at closure of one of the countries premiere youth music organisations.

The SBS Youth Orchestra is to disband after 25 years according to a memo sent to young players earlier this week.

The radio and television orchestra was founded by Russian-born conductor Matthew Krel whose tragic death from encephalitis occurred unexpectedly in 2009. According to the orchestra’s manager, Ian Hamilton, it has proved impossible to see a way forward without Krel’s creative drive. The final concert is now scheduled for December 1 at the Joan Sutherland Centre for Performing Arts in Penrith.

SBS agreed to the founding of the orchestra in 1989, but said it was up to Krel to make it work. Virtually no funds would be made available to the orchestra, and neither state nor federal governments would support them financially. SBS did provide them with free rehearsal space, storage space for instruments and use of a photocopier.

Over the years thousands of young musicians aged between 12 and 24 have played with the orchestra and many, like pianist Simon Tedeschi and violinist Natalie Chee, have gone on to successful, high profile professional careers. The orchestra have made over 60 SBS TV programs as...