On 12 January in the Bishop Hall (so-named after one of AYO’s founders John Bishop), AYO’s inaugural Youth Council was launched. The meeting was attended by 27 young people to discuss what they wanted to achieve through the committee, as well as their aspirations for their careers and the future of the sector. Bailey Ireland (bassoon, WA) and Paul Nicolaou (harp, NSW) were elected as co-chairs for 2024.

Two young men smile at the camera.

‘I’ve been a member of the AYO family for five years and I’m really excited to see the instalment of a Youth Committee this year. I’m personally very interested in the big challenges facing classical music today and I’m looking forward to working with my peers to find creative ways of tackling them.’ – Bailey

‘As a performer, composer and educator, I want to be an advocate for quality opportunities for young musicians in Australia. Especially being a young harpist, Australia is particularly lacking of enriching experiences for young artists at a high performing level. I hope with my experiences to provide valuable input which can make a difference for Australia’s next generation of artists.’ – Paul

Bailey Ireland speaks at an AYO donor event.
Bailey Ireland addresses AYO donors at an event in Sydney.

The Youth Council will meet quarterly this year with applications for 2025 opening in October. This year the committee will focus on establishing the terms of reference and governance structures they want to see going forward, while also working side-by-side with AYO staff and board on forming policy, programming and telling the AYO story.