32 Australian delegates attended the international forum in Holland, supported by the Australia Council.

The Australia Council in partnership with Sounds Australia and the Australian Music Centre has supported the largest ever delegation of Australian artists to attend the international forum and conference for professional musicians, Classical:Next, which was held in the Dutch city of Rotterdam between the 25 and 29 May. In total, 32 delegates, including representatives from Australian ensembles and organisations, as well as individual artists, were able to attend the prestigious forum.

These included ambassadors from APRA AMCOS, Chamber Made Opera, Chronology Arts, Ensemble Offspring, Halcyon, Inventi Ensemble, Melbourne Recital Centre, Musica Viva Australia, Sydney Festival, Zephyr Quartet, Synergy Percussion, Taikoz and Wirripang. Other delegates included Recorder virtuoso and celebrated curator Genevieve Lacey, Director of Music Programming at the MRC Marshall McGuire, and pianist and contemporary performance pioneer Zubin Kanga. 

The record number of Australian attendees was made possible by a $15,000 grant provided by the Australia Council to support registrations. This followed a roundtable discussion in 2014 which canvassed interest from the musical community in Classical:Next, and the international relationships that could be forged by supporting the attendance of some of Australia’s top talents.

Classical:Next was first staged in 2012, and in just four years has established a position as one of the most important forums of classical and contemporary music in the world. 3,000 music professionals representing more than 1,000 companies and ensembles from 40 countries participated in this year’s gathering. In addition to valuable networking, the event is also a chance for new developments and future-oriented business practices for classical music to be shared and explored. There are also showcase concerts, lectures and discussion panels.

As a relatively remote country, compared to European attendees, taking part in such an important event is invaluable to Australia’s musical vibrancy​, according to Australia Council Director Music Paul Mason. “We’re very excited at this outcome,” Mason said. “Over 30 members of the art music community have taken the opportunity to be in an international market as a way to create new pathways for themselves outside Australia. This has been an incredibly successful practice for many years for other Australian musicians and we’re really happy that through our support of Sounds Australia and the Australian Music Centre we’re able to create this opportunity for our classical sector”