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Australia’s major symphony orchestras welcome report on orchestral health and safety

Australia’s major symphony orchestras welcome report on orchestral health and safety
June 19, 2017

The Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras have welcomed the delivery of a major report on world’s best practice in occupational health and safety for orchestral musicians.

The first of its kind internationally, the Sound Practice project involved the collaboration of the six symphony orchestras, along with Orchestra Victoria and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Funded by the Australian Research Council and the Australia Council for the Arts, the project was set up in response to recommendations of a 2005 review of orchestras carried out by James Strong.

A team of internationally renowned professionals led by Dr Bronwen Ackermann, a biomedical scientist based at the University of Sydney, conducted a five-year study into the current WHS practices and policies of Australian orchestras. In addition to assessments and interventions, the team has published multiple academic articles on all aspects of musicians’ health and safety. In addition to a report, the team has produced a practical handbook for use by orchestral musicians.

Health and safety of musicians and all employees is a key priority for Australia’s six symphony orchestras, which collectively employ over 2,500 people.

Commenting on the report, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello “we are pleased that this report highlights the significant measures taken by the orchestras to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees.

“We have worked with Bronwen and her team to identify areas where we can strengthen our WHS practices and will implement their recommendations, as well as making the Health Handbook available to all musicians.”

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Chief Executive David Pratt added “like the other orchestras, QSO was delighted that so many of its musicians were able to participate in this long-term study. We look forward to sharing the report and its accompanying handbook with the whole orchestra.”

The Sound Practice final report and Health Handbook for Orchestral Musicians will be made available to the public through the participating orchestras’ websites, as well as from the Australia Council for the Arts.

Image: Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

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