ONE OF THE MOST FAMILIAR faces at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre over the past four decades was John Curro, an eminent orchestra conductor and the founder of the world-renowned Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO).
He sadly passed away at the age of 86 in October 2019, but his legacy carries on in the thriving Queensland performings arts community.
QYO is the State’s major orchestral training and performance organisation for young musicians aged 9 to 25. Under the artistic leadership of John Curro AM MBE since 1966, QYO is renowned as a world-class youth orchestra organisation. QYO is a member of Youth Orchestras Australia (YOA), a network comprising the major state youth orchestras of Australia and the Australian Youth Orchestra.
QYO currently has seven ensembles: three symphony orchestras, two concert bands, junior string ensemble and big band. Each group has its own program of activities including rehearsals, tutorials, concerts, camps and tours.
Each October, around 700 musicians audition for QYO before a panel of professional musicians and over 470 musicians are offered positions in orchestras. Performing members of QYO must re-audition for a place each year alongside new applicants.
QYO employs three full-time staff including a General Manager, Administrator and Marketing Officer, a part-time Administrative Assistant, Venue Manager, Venue Bookings Manager, seven part-time Conductors and over 70 professional musicians employed casually as tutors, audition panel members, accompanists, competition judges and guest artists. The organisation relies heavily on the services of volunteers as orchestra managers, librarians, stage managers and for assistance with concerts, fundraising, canteen, auditions, camps, office and maintenance tasks.
QYO is based at the Old Museum Building in Bowen Hills. The venue allows several orchestras to rehearse simultaneously and houses a concert hall, rehearsal spaces, and the QYO Office.
QYO is a non-profit organisation requiring substantial funds to fulfil its mission. In order of magnitude, the organisation’s main sources of income are from membership fees, grants from the State and Federal Governments through Arts Queensland and the Australia Council, corporate sponsorship and donations, concert income and fundraising activities.