Earlier this year, the Australian Youth Orchestra received a generous donation from a very special donor, Lorand Loblay.
Lorand Loblay, whose extraordinary life was recently chronicled in a gripping biography, Nine Lives and One by John Baxter, has had a rich and varied life that was always coloured by his love of music. A musician himself, Lorand has always been passionate about providing opportunities for young people to pursue their goals, and has granted the AYO the largest single gift in the organisation’s history. Lorand is committed to enabling young musicians to become exceptional performers, and the AYO is extremely grateful to have his support inproviding the Vera and Lorand Loblay Scholarships for exceptional young musicians, named in honour of Lorand and his late wife, Vera.
If there is one thing to know about Lorand, is that his personal and professional success has come as a result of hard work and dedication. Coming into his CBD office in Sydney five days a week, he proudly claims “I’m too young to retire – I’m only 95!” He began his career when he moved from his homeland of Transylvania to study law and music in Budapest, Hungary. Following in the footsteps of his mother, herself a musician, he studied at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. After graduating from law, Lorand endeavoured to complete his music degree in the wake of the war and the restructure of university courses. With a lot of determination, he succeeded.
It was extraordinary luck that brought Lorand to Australia – his uncle, who was well-acquainted with the Archbishop of Sydney, was able to secure Lorand and his wife a visa to live in Australia. Bringing few possessions (which included his Steinway concert grand and baby grand), he began the nine day journey to a place he’d never been to. Upon arrival, Lorand sought to sell his treasured instruments, but the concert grand proved harder to sell. “It doesn’t fit between the fireplace and the wall”, “the piano is black but the furniture is brown”, recounts Lorand, having a laugh at the prospective buyers’ reluctance to take his treasured possessions.
Eager to make a new start in Sydney, Lorand took a job selling trimming beads, which were in short supply around the city. Discovering an entrepreneurial spirit, Lorand became a successful business owner. After years of commercial success, the Loblay Family poured their generosity into philanthropic projects and through various donations to charities, museums, and community organisations.
Helping young people has always been close to Lorand’s heart, and he has chosen to provide scholarships in perpetuity for young musicians participating in AYO’s programs. The Loblay family has entrusted the AYO with this donation on the basis of our program standards, our dedication to providing quality music education, and our excellent international reputation.
The AYO is privileged to receive such generous support, and to have heard about the extraordinary life of Lorand Loblay. We know that our musicians will be inspired by Lorand’s story, and will be able to grow and develop as outstanding performers and music professionals.