Melbourne musicians are saved by donor

Melbourne musicians are saved by donor


norman lebrecht

May 19, 2020

A local magnate called Michael Aquilina has stepped in to help players in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra who are struggling on reduced furlough wages or welfare.

He has launched an online Michael Aquilina Chamber Music Festival on May 30-31, continuing with a month of Saturday Galas and weekday chamber music highlights.

‘It broke my heart to learn that some of Australia’s finest musicians were facing financial hardship,’ he said. ‘And also that they would be deprived of the opportunity to engage and play together as a result of the Coronavirus.’

The MSO has stood down 75 musicians and 13 staff whom it pays a JobKeeper allowance of (Aus) $1,500 per fortnight.

The musicians have been vocally unhappy.



  • Player says:

    Good guy. I’d like to thank him for setting an example, on behalf of musicians everywhere.

  • Bruce says:


  • John Rook says:

    The eagle has landed…

  • Deborah Cannan says:

    Dear Michael what a wonderful guy you are, and what a wonderful thing you are doing, love Deborah Cannan xo ❤️

  • Anon says:

    $1500(Aus) a fortnight is helluva lot better than the zero pounds which British players are receiving! Marvellous gesture. But where are all the British millionaires subsidising our orchestras?

    • V.Lind says:

      Where are the UK government subsidies to furloughed employees? I don’t recall hearing that they exclude artists. Freelancers in this field, as in others, may be in a dodgier position, but they always were. (And presumably freelancers have some other employment to supplement their musical earnings. I know they do in Canada — I once ran into an opera singer I had seen on stage the night before — in a principal role — working in a shop I happened into).

      Rishi Sunak is spending like a Labour leader on speed, so I hope some of it is going to artists.

  • Jarrett says:

    Why do all the UK orchestras pay so badly compared to the top 15 in the USA?

  • Rx says:

    So proud to call you my friend Rx