Naomi Holman was one of eight orchestral management participants at 2018 AYO National Music Camp. This intensive program offers an opportunity for aspiring orchestral managers to equip themselves with the niche skillset required to be successful in this exciting field of work.  

Every year, graduates of the AYO orchestral management program are considered for a fellowship with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and this year Naomi was selected to learn the ropes from some of the industry’s most experienced professionals. We checked in with her at the beginning and end of her fellowship to find out more! 

Orchestral Management alumnus Naomi Holman's ID card for Sydney Symphony Orchestra

So Naomi, you’ve just made the big move from Melbourne to be here!

Yes indeed! I moved interstate to work up here in Sydney. I’ve lived in Melbourne for a few years now, but I grew up in regional Victoria. I knew that if I wanted to pursue higher levels of music study that I needed to be adaptable and willing to uproot my life to make it happen, so moving has always been a part of my career. While temporarily moving to Sydney has been challenging, I know this experience is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you simply can’t say no to!

How is Sydney life treating you so far?

Sydney life has been really fascinating. It’s my first time in over a decade that I’ve spent any time in this beautiful city. Naturally, finding your way round an unfamiliar place has its challenges, but I’m continuously awestruck by its beauty – especially in the harbour areas. I’m really looking forward to experiencing all the arts and culture that Sydney has to offer, and have already lined up a list of concerts I’m hoping to attend while I’m here.

Could you tell us a little about your first few days on the job?

My first few days at the SSO have been fantastic. It’s been so fascinating to meet the diverse range of people that it takes to get an orchestra on a stage, and an audience into a concert hall. My internship surrounds the SSO’s prestigious performance fellowships program so I’m really looking forward to meeting all the applicants from around Australia during the audition process over the coming month. Another key highlight has been working backstage; I was the only audience member in a SSO rehearsal of Beethoven’s Mass in C in Sydney Opera House’s main concert hall! It happened to be my first time inside this iconic building, and it is a moment I will honestly never forget.

Orchestra Management alumnus Naomi Holman pictured on Sydney Harbour

Two months later we caught up with Naomi to hear about how she got on over the course of her time with Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

Here we are again at the end of your fellowship! What would you say has been your biggest challenge on the program so far?

I’ll admit that it was initially a steep learning curve to be working for an organisation as large as the SSO. However, the fellowship gave me a great opportunity to see how a professional organisation operates on all its levels. I’ve really enjoyed the challenges that came my way throughout this whole experience!

Do you think the knowledge you gained from AYO National Music Camp came in useful?

Definitely! The AYO orchestral management course equipped me with the hands-on skills needed to manage musicians, and gave me a thorough understanding of the logistical organisation that goes into creating a performance or auditions. This experience proved to be extremely valuable when coordinating the SSO Fellowship auditions. It was a huge responsibility, but I thrived on working with the applicants – many of whom I has worked with previously at AYO National Music Camp.

We can’t believe it’s all over! What are your plans now that you have finished your fellowship?

My plan for now is to return to my current arts administration job in Melbourne, and start implementing all the new skills I have learnt throughout the fellowship. This whole experience has really opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that are out there in arts administration and management, especially within the orchestral setting. I’m really excited to see where the next step will be!

Sydney Symphony Orchestra rehearse inside Sydney Opera House.