Professor Scott Harrison has been appointed as AYO’s next Chair, succeeding Ben Rimmer who has held the role since 2017. 

Professor Scott Harrison is currently Assistant Vice Chancellor (Cultural Curation and Community Partnerships) and Pro Vice Chancellor (Arts, Education and Law) at Griffith University, Australia. Prior to this, he served as Director of Queensland Conservatorium from 2013 to 2019. Scott has been on the board of AYO since 2022. A former opera singer, he is widely known for his research in music pedagogy, music and health and employability in the arts.    

I am delighted to become chair of AYO at this time and to be working closely with CEO Kimbali Harding. The recent uplift in Arts8 funding allows AYO to plan with certainty for the future, and we have some exciting plans to unveil in the coming weeks and months. We are particularly thrilled to be returning to international touring after a hiatus of six years.  I would like to acknowledge the esteemed leadership of Ben Rimmer. The AYO is in excellent shape as a result of Ben’s time as chair through some of the most challenging periods for the sector.” 

Scott Harrison

The AYO staff and board are extremely grateful to out-going Chair, Ben Rimmer, who has dedicated nine years to the company. Ben congratulated Scott at the Annual General Meeting on Friday:

“It has been an absolute privilege to be part of the leadership and governance of the Australian Youth Orchestra over these past 9 years, and to ‘pay it forward’ for the extraordinary AYO experiences I had as a young musician.

AYO is in great hands under the leadership of Kimbali Harding, with Professor Scott Harrison as the new Chair, with an exceptional and diverse board, and with renewed and strengthened #Arts8 funding in the recent budget. More young Australians from all backgrounds with a love of music and performance will make us a more creative, clever, thoughtful and dynamic nation, and will take our nation’s talents to the world at exceptional levels of performance. It’s been a joy to be part of it, and I look forward to the connection continuing.”

– Ben Rimmer

Kimbali Harding, CEO said of the appointment: 

“Professor Harrison’s visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to young people in the arts and education align perfectly with our mission. He champions the transformative power of classical music and advocates for innovation and inclusivity in program design. I am excited that we will have his leadership to help AYO continue to prepare the next generation of artists for our rapidly changing world.”