11 December 2012
New Heads of Contemporary Music and Classical Music at Sydney Opera House
Opera House today announced personnel changes in the Sydney Opera House
Presents music program.
From January 2013, Fergus Linehan will step aside as Head of
Music, with current music producers Yarmila Alfonzetti and Ben Marshall
becoming Head of Classical Music and Head of Contemporary Music respectively.
Fergus Linehan will remain Festival Director for Vivid LIVE at
Sydney Opera House.
Head of Classical Music, Yarmila Alfonzetti is responsible for curating the annual World Orchestras Program, the year-round
chamber music concerts in the Utzon Music Series, and The Composers, an initiative celebrating the
most influential contemporary classical music. Yarmila’s future program
will also include the first Australian visit of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in 2013, as well as
an exclusive Recital by Bryn Terfel.
Yarmila first joined Sydney Opera House as Classical Music
producer in 2008, programming and delivering classical music events, including
the Utzon Music Series, London Philharmonic Orchestra (2009), the Berliner
Philharmoniker (2010), the Vienna Philharmonic (2011). In 2012, Yarmila
instigated and developed The Composers initiative, starting with Steve Reich in Residence in March and Happy
Birthday John Cage in November.
Yarmila previously worked in public programs at the Historic Houses Trust of
NSW, project management at the NSW Premier’s Department, and philanthropy at
the Powerhouse Museum. She holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) from the Sydney
Conservatorium, a Masters of Project Management from the University of Sydney,
and is partway through her Masters of Musicology focusing on the commissioning
of new music.
Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall is responsible for programming Music at the House, Sydney Opera House’s
contemporary music program, which presents the finest national and
international jazz, world, rock, pop and electronic artists, as well as
co-curating the annual GRAPHIC festival of graphic storytelling, animation and
Ben joined Sydney Opera House in 2010 as Contemporary Music Producer, working
closely with Fergus Linehan, the former Sydney Festival director and current
Head of Music for Sydney Opera House.
Over the last 3 years, under Fergus and Ben, the contemporary music program at
Sydney Opera House has vastly expanded both its year round programming with
acts such as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Erykah Badu, Gurrumul and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the annual
music festival Vivid Live. In 2010, Ben also produced the
Sydney Opera House’s first GRAPHIC festival, a weekend celebrating comics,
animation, illustration, gaming and music, going on to produce Graphic 2011,
before stepping up as the festival’s co-curator with Jordan Verzar in 2012.
GRAPHIC has featured Gotye’s animated & illustrated worldwide album debut,
commissioned new works involving Neil Gaiman, Shaun Tan, ABC’s Good Game &
the Elefant Traks label and presented guests such as Kevin Smith, Pixar’s Lee
Unkrich and many other world-class exponents of the art of modern storytelling.
A former lawyer at Freehills and independent promoter, Ben began his career in
the music industry while still studying law at Murdoch University, producing
electronic music nights in Perth and later Sydney, where he also presented a
program on Sydney community radio station, FBi 94.5FM. In 2003, Ben moved over
to the independent record company Inertia where from 2005 until joining Sydney
Opera House, he set up and ran their first touring division, bringing The
xx, The National, Grizzly Bear, Sia, The Cinematic Orchestra and many other
artists to Australia for the first time.
Ben and Yarmila join other Heads of program in Sydney Opera
House Presents (SOH Presents) including Ann
Mossop, Head of Public Programs; Bridgette van Leuwen, Head of
Education and Young People; Rhoda Roberts, Head of Indigenous Programming
and Andrew Spencer,
Head of Commercial Programming.
SOH Presents is the programming division of Sydney Opera House,
developing and producing events, programs and festivals year round including,
Classical Music (World Orchestra Program, Utzon Music Series, The Composers),
Contemporary Music (Music at the House), Education and Young
People (Kids at the House, HouseED, Digital Education), Public Programs ( Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Ideas at the House), Summer at the House and GRAPHIC , Just for Laughs, MessageSticks, Spring Dance and Vivid LIVE festivals.
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