William Hennessy to step down as MCO Artistic Director

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (MCO) Board regretfully announces that its Artistic Director, William Hennessy AM, has resigned and will finish in his role at the end of 2021.This is an enormous loss to the orchestra, the MCO community and Board who will all feel it very deeply.


Bill first joined Pro Arte/MCO as Concertmaster in 2003, and then became Artistic Director in 2006. In addition to his 16 years as Artistic Director of the MCO, Bill has had a storied career including as concertmaster of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 1980–84 and founding member of the Australian String Quartet from 1985–96. Most recently with his ensemble the Melbourne Quartet he released a CD of Douglas Weiland string quartets on the Naxos label.


In 2018 Bill was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to music.


“Less obvious to the community, is the inestimable role that Bill has played in nurturing many younger musicians and keeping our orchestra alive with talent. He is a great teacher, mentor and leader of the orchestra and our wonderful performers will feel his departure deeply,” Chair, Fran Thorn said.


“The Board will now commence a search for a worthy successor. The MCO has so much to offer an Artistic Director. We have the talents and passion of gifted musicians. For over 25 years, the orchestra has created a distinctive orchestral practice, with a collegial ethos, exploratory programming, and ambitious regional touring – including “A Feast of Music”, in Daylesford each year.


“We look forward rejoining our artists and audiences next year, and to presenting our new Artistic Director on stage during 2022. The MCO is delighted to be part of “reopening” Melbourne and Victoria after the last and difficult eighteen months,” Fran said.


Media Inquiries to:
Simone Gandur