On Easter Sunday, The Orchestra Project performs its 20th anniversary concert in Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Verbrugghen Hall. On the bill will be Brahms Second Piano Concerto, with Daniel de Borah the soloist, and Richard Strauss’s epic tone poem Ein Heldenleben. This, the Project’s 32nd event, will see students from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and other education establishments performing alongside members of the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Adelaide Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and the Opera Australia Orchestra. The orchestra will be led by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Concertmaster Harry Bennetts. Clive Paget caught up with the Project’s founder, conductor Fabian Russell, to find out how it all started, what’s so important about this mentor-driven, orchestral training program, and what he’d do with a million dollars.


How did The Orchestra Project come into existence, and how has it grown and developed over the years?

In 2002 during my time as a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, I had an idea that I presented to then-MSO Chief Conductor Markus Stenz, about the possibility of forming a training orchestra under the auspices of the MSO. At the time, the Sydney Symphony had for some...