This partnership heralds extraordinary international opportunities for British and Australian musicians studying at the Royal Academy of Music and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) Academy, which will work to further strengthen cross-cultural exchange between the two countries.

The three-year programme of collaboration and exchange aims to enrich the two institutions' student training, preparing the UK and Australia's most exceptional young musicians for professional performance careers on the international stage.

With the first intake beginning in 2025, the Academy and the MSO Academy will take part in an annual exchange programme that will facilitate members of each Academy to spend up to 14 days with their international counterparts. While in residence, students will have the opportunity to study, rehearse and perform with their hosts. They will also collaborate on a chamber music project that will include public performances in London and Melbourne of a programme featuring new works written by MSO’s Cybec Young Composer in Residence and an Academy Composition student.

Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman Attwood said: 'As we head into our third century, international collaboration and creating music remains as much at the Academy’s core as when we were founded. Now, more than ever, we need music to cross borders, and to create projects that educate and inspire the next generation of musicians. This partnership with MSO will give our students an unparalleled opportunity to expand their learning and performance opportunities. We look forward to developing an artistic and educational alliance with MSO and jointly expanding our creative reach.'

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Managing Director Sophie Galaise said: 'Supporting emerging artists and musicians is a core strand of the MSO’s DNA and the impetus for creating the MSO Academy. This new agreement offers our academy fellows an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with and learn from our international colleagues, while deepening meaningful engagement with the United Kingdom and further increasing the global profile of Australian musicians.'

Hon Stephen Smith said: 'This is a great moment in Australia’s deep cultural relationship with the United Kingdom. The Royal Academy of Music and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are cultural powerhouses in the UK and Australia. This greater exchange of people and skills will strengthen the quality of art fostered at these great institutions.'

Images taken at a special event marking the partnership at the Academy, where Sophie Galaise, Managing Director of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood signed a contract witnessed by High Commissioner of Australia to the UK, the Hon Stephen Smith © Jenny Magee