In their 2020-24 Corporate Plan, the Australia Council for the Arts outlined a core objective of the future direction of Australian arts and culture: that “our arts reflect us”. In 2020 this objective was supported with $81.9 million in government funding for Australia’s orchestras.

The Living Music Reportis an annual analysis of Australian orchestral programming – examining whether the composers whose works were performed around the country adequately reflects the Australian identity and our gender, cultural and First Nations diversity.

Living Music Report
Image from the Living Music Report

 The 2020 report reflected a year of unprecedented challenges – and new opportunities. As COVID-19 decimated the Australian arts landscape, concert halls were left empty, 92% creatives of colour expected to lose income and one in four arts workers lost their job. Yet amongst the deepening crisis, revolutionary digital platforms supporting small-scale productions, and a growing appetite to ‘holiday here’ and ‘shop local’ hinted at a home-grown recovery of arts and culture.

The 2020 Living Music Report found that these opportunities were not reflected in Australian orchestral programming. Notably, out of...