The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has announced the signing of a prestigious international TV agreement with UNITEL. This makes it the first Australian orchestra to be included in the stable of the leading distributor of classical music for TV, DVD & Blu-ray, cinema and new media, alongside some of the world’s great institutions, artists, festivals and orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw, Orchestre de Paris and Statskapelle Dresden.

Under the partnership, with broadcasts starting in 2019, UNITEL will distribute eight MSO concerts each year. The deal accommodates the MSO’s existing distribution agreements with Foxtel Arts and the ABC.

Current Managing Director of UNITEL, Ernst Buchrucker, said the company was delighted by the partnership and that this agreement “is a mark of the quality of the MSO’s artistic output and we know that its performances will be applauded by viewers throughout Europe, America and Asia.”

MSO general manager Sophie Galaise told Limelight: “I approached UNITEL with a producer’s help. This was a long and interesting process, it took nearly two years. Why did I think it was so important: like many I am convinced of the quality of the MSO. This is an orchestra that can sustain the comparison to other major orchestras around the world. I’m glad I was proven right. They looked at our productions and decided to take us on. That says it all.”

“This new collaboration with UNITEL is significant and positive,” says Galaise. “They are now our international broadcasting partner, a welcome addition to our other broadcast partners. In the years to come we will continue working with the ABC, a long-standing and important partner for radio broadcasts on Classic FM. We are also proud of our relationship with Foxtel Arts, our partner for television broadcast in Australia since 2016. We appreciate these fruitful collaborations that allow us to be heard by many. I am pleased to say that some of MSO concerts are already steamed by the ABC. And with our partners, we are looking at expanding our digital reach significantly.”

While the first performance for 2019 has not been chosen, a number of programs have already been agreed on. “We are looking for programs that fit [UNITEL’s] needs and showcase our artistic vibrancy, the best of Australia. They have the final word,” says Galaise.

The MSO is now searching for a new Chief Conductor to replace Sir Andrew Davis who will stand down at the end of 2019. Asked about the timeframe for the announcement of his successor,  Galaise says: “If everything goes according to plan, we are planning to announce by the end of Season 2020 for a start in 2021.”