Mary Vallentine AO passes the baton to AYO alumnus Ben Rimmer.
Distinguished arts administrator, Mary Vallentine AO, retired from the Board of the Australian Youth Orchestra this week after 10 years as Chair. Former Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and most recently CEO of the Melbourne Recital Centre, Mary was instrumental in the growth of the AYO including four international tours which continues to give Australia’s finest young musicians invaluable access to training opportunities of a global standard. She passes the baton to Deputy Chair and AYO alumnus Ben Rimmer this month.
Reflecting on her time on the AYO Board, Mary notes, “My 10 years as Chair of Australian Youth Orchestra have given me an opportunity to observe and be a part of this most inspiring organisation. Watching the development of Australia’s most talented young orchestral players under the supervision of dedicated and talented professionals, including Australian and international instrumentalists and conductors, as well as the support of a professional management team and a committed board, is assurance that Australia’s musical future is in great hands. It is wonderful that a former AYO player, now CEO of the City of Melbourne, Ben Rimmer, has taken on the role of Chair. Under his guidance I know the AYO will grow from strength to strength, building upon the 65 year history of invaluable musical training of Australia’s musicians.”
Incoming Chair Ben Rimmer acknowledged Mary Vallentine’s stellar leadership describing her as “an arts leader with global perspective and local impact, and most importantly valued by AYO participants for her unfailing interest in their lives and their music-making.”
Responding to his appointment Ben says, “I’m honoured to be the new Chair of AYO. This organisation has played a vital role in my life, as it does for hundreds of young musicians every year. I look forward to seeing it grow and develop into the future, given its central role in Australia’s musical life.”
Ben Rimmer is the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Melbourne. Prior to joining the City Of Melbourne, Ben was Associate Secretary in the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services and previously Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Before joining the public sector Ben was a Project Leader in the Boston Consulting Group’s London and Melbourne offices and on secondment working with Cape York indigenous organisations.
Ben holds honours degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Melbourne and completed an MBA at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
As a violinist, Ben was involved in Australian Youth Orchestra programs for many years and was Concertmaster of the AYO in 1994. He later worked as a musician with the Melbourne Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony and many other groups on a casual basis.