Late philanthropist Peter Weiss AO, pictured sitting with his cello. He is looking off to the side.
Philanthropist Peter Weiss AO

Each year, more than a third of our talented musicians require scholarship support to be able to access the same opportunities as their peers and fulfil their potential.

As one of AYO’s original cello participants and a visionary supporter and champion of the arts, Peter Weiss AO had a long and close association with AYO. Over many years, he empowered our programs and brilliant young musicians experiencing disadvantage through vital scholarship support.

In honour of his love of music and friendship with AYO we are proud to announce the Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund.

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Weiss AO this year, whose love and appreciation for music led him to become one of Australia’s greatest patrons of the arts. Peter had attended National Music Camp as a cellist in 1952 and 1953, and since inspired and impacted AYO as well as many of the country’s artists and arts organisations through his contributions.

Last month, at an event hosted by one of AYO’s board members and major supporter Simon Johnson, AYO launched the Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund.

A black and white photo of AYO musicians in the 1950s. Peter Weiss plays the cello.
Peter Weiss (top left) pictured playing cello with fellow AYO musicians at the beach during a program in the 1950s.

The fund was inspired through a vision Peter Weiss and Simon Johnson have shared for many years – to ensure every musician who is eligible can access the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of financial or geographical barriers.

AYO cello alumnus Miles Mullin-Chivers, a recipient of the Weiss Scholarship in 2015, spoke at the event on a personal note about how the support from Peter Weiss had impacted his life as a young musician and shaped his musical life ever since.

“I was fortunate enough to be a part of 2015 Young Symphonists where I received the Peter Weiss Scholarship and then went on to do 2016 Young Symphonists and AYO National Music Camp. They were all such terrific programs, but National Music Camp takes the cake.

I simply would not have been able to attend my first AYO program if not for the scholarship I received. This was the first time I was surrounded by such like-minded people, and at that first camp I decided I had to do this for the rest of my life. So who knows what I would be doing if not for Peter Weiss’ scholarship support.”

At the event hosted at Peter Weiss’ house, Miles performed Bach’s Suite No.1 in G on Peter’s own cello in a special moment shared with Peter’s closest friends.

AYO board member Simon Johnson pictured with Erin Flaherty and AYO alumnus Miles Mullins-Chivers
AYO board member Simon Johnson (left), pictured with Erin Flaherty and AYO alumnus Miles Mullins-Chivers (right)

“It was an amazing experience. To be able to play on Peter’s own cello, in his house, in his memory, and playing one of his favourite pieces was a very sacred moment. I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of it.”

Today Miles is a brilliant soloist and professional musician, after finishing his music performance degree with First Class Honours, he has performed at the Canberra International Music Festival, with the Opera Australia Orchestra, as a Sydney Symphony Orchestra fellow and recently won first prize at the prestigious Gisborne International Music Competition.

“AYO’s incredible programs instigated my love for playing music with others. If not for my amazing experiences at AYO, I am not sure that I would have pursued cello as much as I have done.”

AYO is incredibly heartened by the visionary support toward the Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund so far, which will go a long way in ensuring countless musicians like Miles can continue to fulfil their potential as Australia’s most brilliant young musicians.

We give thanks to Board Directors Simon Johnson and Jessica Block, Doris Weiss, and AYO’s Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund Donors for bringing the launch of the Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund to life.

If you are attending an AYO program as a participant in 2020, discover more about AYO’s Financial Assistance program.

If you would like to become a patron of the Peter Weiss Scholarship Fund,please contact our Development team on (03) 8420 5710 or