• instagram
Enquiries (02) 8004 3472

Musician Testimonials

Click on a name below or scroll down the page to read a selection of testimonials from Musicians of The Metropolitan Orchestra

Adrian Hallam – French Horn
Alex Fontaine – Oboe/Cor Anglais
Andrew Doyle – Clarinet
Breeana Baxter – Violin
Caroline Kelly – Violin
Caroline Otto – Cello
Catrina Hughes – Violin
Dawid Botha – Violin/Viola
Dominique Guerbois – Violin
Ela Stopa-Zbikowska – Violin
Elena Tabolkina – Violin
Ezmi Pepper – Cello
Gareth Lewis – Trombone
Gemma Lawton – French Horn
Jacinta Mikus – Flute/Piccolo
Jeremy Fox – Double Bass
Julienne Guerbois – Cello
Kate Moloney – Harp
Katherine Finch – Violin
Kathryn Crossing – Violin
Kaylie Dunstan – Percussion
Lindsay Irik – Violin
Liz D’Olier – Viola
Maria Denisa Smeu-Kirileanu – Violin
Mark Brown – Trombone
Mark Szeto – Double Bass
Monique Turner – Viola
Murray Parker – Timpani
Nan Heo – Violin
Sarah Anthony – Violin
Sarajane Kirkaldy-Hansen – Bassoon
Svetlana Yaroslavskaya – Flute

Adrian Hallam

Dear Sir/Madam
I am writing in support of The Metropolitan Orchestra.

As a performer, I have seen first hand the positive impact of this wonderful orchestra. It has allowed me to perform an exciting variety of programs and some incredible commercial concerts. Playing the soundtrack to the Jurrasic Park movie was a career highlight.

The Metropolitan Orchestra provides a unique opportunity for composers, such as myself, to workshop and bring to life our creations in a professional environment. A resource of this calibre is just not available logistically or financially for emerging Australian artists. The encouraging support and advice from the conductor, Sarah-Grace Williams, and the musicians of TMO has been a productive and positive
experience. This interaction was invaluable in producing “Jack and the Beanstalk” for the TMO Cushion Concert series. This work received it’s World Premiere in 2022 with 6 sold-out concerts.

I truly hope the orchestra’s amazing projects continue into the future. The Metropolitan Orchestra provides unique opportunities for all age groups and provides a fantastic incentive for artistic creation. I hope you will support The Metropolitan Orchestra – a true gem in our cultural landscape.

Adrian Hallam

Back to top

Alex Fontaine – Cor Anglais

To whom it may concern,

I have been performing with The Metropolitan Orchestra for more than 10 years and I am writing to
you today in support of the orchestra to receive a Create NSW grant to aid in continuing the
possibility of producing the Met Concert Series.

I have performed with many musical groups across Australia, Europe and The United States but this
orchestra is one of the most friendly and supportive communities I have ever been involved with. I
think that gives the group’s output a unique and special quality that you often don’t find elsewhere
in the industry. There is a tangible, down-to-earth spirit in our nature that benefits our performance
and brand like no other. Our tenacious leader Sarah-Grace Williams has a genuine, unwavering
vision for the orchestra and this is something tremendously worthy of recognition and support – we
desperately need people like her if this industry is to survive.

Specifically, we need to be able to continue the Met Concert Series as it is here that we have forged
our bonds, learned about one another and how to play and communicate cohesively with each
other. This means that when we come together for a commercial gig, the foundations are already in
place and we can just “go”. This maintains a calm and respectful workplace in what can often be a
bustling, stressful environment where scratch groups often come together last-minute and under-rehearsed.

A secondary benefit of maintaining the existence of this series is to observe the growing catalogue of
historic performances that have taken place over the many years. The digital content created from
these performances helps to build our presence and influence to browsing producers, partners
and/or hirers, giving validity to our brand and instilling trust by demonstrating excellence. Personally
speaking, it was a combination of solo performance videos of my own with the Metropolitan
Orchestra uploaded on YouTube that caught the attention of talent scouts at Cirque du Soleil which
ultimately won me a job at Disneyworld Orlando with the show Drawn to Life. A life-changing
experience that was a direct result of a Met Concert Series performance!

Kind regards,
Alex Fontaine
Oboe / Cor Anglais

Back to top

Andrew Doyle – Clarinet

To Whom It May Concern

I am writing to you to discuss my involvement within The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO), what it means to me, and how important this orchestra is to the music scene in Sydney and Australia.

Since TMO was formed, I have been fortunate enough to play the role of Principal Clarinetist. Throughout the life of the orchestra and my time playing there, I have made a significant number of new friends and professional colleagues that have enriched my life professionally and personally. My wife also plays in TMO and there are a great deal of challenges that we face as a family with young children to attend voluntary rehearsals, and each concert we happily drive all around Sydney and spend significant amounts of money on childcare to experience the quality and camaraderie of TMO.

It has been roughly 20 years since I completed studying my B.Mus (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and upon its completion, like most other graduates I taught clarinet in schools and competed for the few freelance gigs that were on offer as well as playing in voluntary community orchestras. With the formation of TMO, it filled the void between community orchestras and full-time salaried orchestras, and provided me with a pathway to an orchestral career that hadn’t been on offer beforehand. The opportunity to perform music that is considered ‘core’ repertoire on a regular basis has contributed in a significant way to my musical career prospects, and improved my skills from a musician with competent technique, to an experienced professional with vast orchestral experience and a knowledge-base of ‘core’ repertoire that can now work with any professional ensemble with confidence.

There are some significant highlights in my musical career that have only been possible due to my role in TMO. The most significant performance opportunity that I have been afforded was to perform an Australian composition for a live ABC Classic FM radio broadcast (Elena Kats-Chernin’s Ornamental Air for basset clarinet and orchestra). For any Australian musician, this really is the most amazing opportunity available, and again would not have been possible without TMO. I have also had a range of other solo and chamber music performances with TMO, and each one is humbling and special, being able to play incredible music at a professional standard with treasured colleagues. Also of special note, particularly in my professional development, was my award of a Churchill Fellowship in 2016 which again was due to my involvement in TMO. Sarah-Grace Williams (Artistic Director) is also a Churchill Fellow, and it was in a regular Met concert series rehearsal that we began casually discussing what a Churchill Fellowship was. I applied soon after our discussion and with her support and advice, was successful in obtaining this coveted award.

The Met concert series is the most important series for the orchestra, as not only does it help develop the musicians’ ensemble skills performing significant orchestral repertoire, but provides essential performance opportunities for talented young or emerging musicians. With well-established principal musicians in TMO, all young/emerging musicians not only learn the music by playing in an orchestra, but receive important feedback and support from these principals and the Artistic Director to help them develop their essential orchestral skills. In my view, the most significant advantage of the Met concert series over a paid commercial engagement is that during the Met concert series, there is a longer rehearsal period, enabling musical development and expression, and more opportunity to develop personal and professional relationships that regularly extend to other organisations. Without this development during the Met concerts, not only would there be a significant diminution in performance opportunities of ‘core’ repertoire, but would also affect TMO’s identity when engaged on a commercial basis.

Throughout my career as a professional clarinetist, I have performed in a significant number of commercial performances with ‘scratch’ orchestras, with musicians usually hired based on a recommendation with little to no consideration of how well they work with a section or other members of the orchestra. With the usual rehearsal period for these engagements being somewhere between one and three rehearsals, the quality of the ‘scratch’ orchestra is significantly hindered by not having musicians with a working relationship. TMO has this well-developed ensemble relationship, and whatever the configuration of musicians, whether it be string quartet or full orchestra, the quality that TMO brings to commercial engagements is almost entirely due to the Met concert series and the relationships built therein.

Throughout my musical career I have travelled all around the world to perform, have performed in a full-time professional band for over ten years, played with some of Australia’s top orchestras and ensembles, and the most significant performances and development opportunities have been during TMO’s Met concert series. These concerts remain of the utmost importance to my continued development (and enjoyment!) as a musician, and most importantly to continue to provide opportunities to all Australian orchestral musicians and composers.

Kind regards

Andrew Doyle CF

Principal Clarinet – The Metropolitan Orchestra

Lecturer in Historical Clarinets – Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Churchill Fellow

Back to top

Breeana Baxter – Violin

To Whom it May Concern,

I have been playing violin in the Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO) for a year. Outside of TMO, I am a classroom music teacher and I regularly perform in a quartet at weddings. Since joining, TMO has given me a new purpose to practise and develop my skills; the first time I have felt this way in years. TMO has re-ignited my love for music, my instrument and has given me a purpose to improve myself as a musician.

There are many reasons why performing in the TMO MET concert series has been so important to me in the last 12 months. The repertoire played at TMO is varied, relevant, and inspiring. At TMO concert series, we perform sublime orchestral works from the past, we showcase the incredible works of Australian Art Music Composers of today and support emerging composers of Australia’s future. Our contribution to the Australian Arts scene is far-reaching.

The community at TMO is a very special one. Kind, generous, like-minded musicians are brought together through a love of playing with others and connection to music. My connection to the people of TMO is invaluable. Learning from this community has made me a happier person, a better musician, and a more resourceful music teacher.

TMO has also been a positive influence on my students as well. The faces of my students when I told them I would be performing at the Sydney Opera House with TMO for the Amadeus Production expressed shock, excitement, and joy. Many of my students have loved coming to watch me perform in the various TMO concerts last year and I know it brings them hope and inspiration for their own professional future in Music. I hope there are still deep and meaningful performance opportunities for my students when they graduate school.

The impact TMO has had on my playing is evident. One of my fellow colleagues recently commented on how much I had improved in my playing this year. I told her it is because I have joined TMO. I ask you to remember the positive influence that TMO has had on so many lives when reviewing the extent of your support for the orchestra.

Warm Regards

Breeana Baxter

Back to top

Caroline Kelly – Violin

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been playing in the Metropolitan Orchestra since I arrived in Sydney in September 2012.
I have played in both 1st and 2nd violin sections, including front desk on occasion. There are
too many fantastic opportunities I have been given to mention them all, but personal highlights
include performing on the Bravo Cruise of the Performing Arts, touring with Basement Jaxx and
Air Supply, and playing in the current production of Amadeus at Sydney Opera House. As a
freelance musician working in Sydney, I can clearly recognise the special place TMO has in the
musical landscape. We are a group of like-minded musicians who work together regularly and
know each other’s playing styles. One of the most challenging things for a freelance string
player is blending and becoming part of a cohesive sound, instead of every individual player
being audible. This blend of sound is something that can only be achieved when musicians
work together regularly, and the Metropolitan Orchestra allows this to be possible because of
the many concerts we play together. The Met Series in particular is very important because it
gives us the chance to play challenging symphonic repertoire that requires subtlety, precision
and variety of tone.

As with many of us in the orchestra, I am also a passionate music educator. I firmly believe that
in order to teach well, I need to be able to play well myself. Being a part of the orchestra keeps
me practising, and keeps my fire for music alive, which in turn I can use to inspire the next
generation of musicians. It has also been possible for me to balance playing in the Metropolitan
Orchestra with having a young family, and this has most definitely allowed me to gain invaluable
experience at a time when my attention on my career has been very divided. Without the
Metropolitan Orchestra, the opportunities for freelance musicians in Sydney would be far fewer,
and crafting a viable and rich musical life as a freelance musician would be difficult, if not

Kind Regards,

Caroline Kelly

Tutti Violin

Back to top

Caroline Otto – Cello

To whom it may concern, 

I have been playing cello with the TMO for 10 years. Throughout this time I have had the pleasure of performing with a fantastic group of musicians on a variety of challenging and engaging programs. In addition to performing in TMO’s annual concert season, being in the ensemble has afforded me the possibility of regularly taking part in commercial engagements including concerts of Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol and The Blue Planet as well as popular events like ‘Synthony’ Concerts and Basement Jaxx Tours. 

The Artistic Director and Conductor, Sarah-Grace Williams, is not afraid to push boundaries and be innovative and creative with programming. This reputation, resulting in commercial engagements such as TMO’s recent involvement in the critically acclaimed Red Line production of ‘Amadeus’ in which the orchestra, instead of being in the pit as would normally be the case, were on stage and were integrated into the scenes and the drama of the play. The orchestra is booked for such events as it has a known to be a competitive, well established and accomplished orchestra. 

Having experienced first-hand through my chamber music career the amount of behind the scenes administrative work involved in programming and marketing concerts I am grateful to be involved in a symphonic orchestra where all this is expertly and efficiently taken care of. For myself, and I believe all other musicians in the ensemble, we do not have the time nor the resources to put on concerts of this magnitude and we know that covering the costs of productions of such events is no small feat, so we are eager for the opportunity to be involved in performances of the finest orchestral repertoire and will dedicate a large amount of time to rehearsing for TMO season concerts.

Of all the TMO annual performances, my favourite is often the “Cellists of TMO” concerts in which a spotlight is shone on my section of the orchestra and we put on an eclectic and engaging program, I feel particularly challenged both technically and musically in these performances. 

Being a mother of two, I also have a soft spot the TMO cushion concerts and enjoy bringing my children to these performances. TMO has a tradition of highlighting the talents of members of the ensemble, through solos and, as was the case in last year’s cushion concert, by taking the risk of commissioning a work by a member of the orchestra. This resulted in a beautiful musical retelling of the classic story of “Jack and the Beanstalk” through a composition by the horn player Adrian Hallam. Performing a polished and engaging work by a fellow musician was a moment that made me particularly proud of being a part of this orchestra as it a reminder of how TMO provides a platform for it’s highly educated and skilled musicians to highlight their talents in a very competitive field where opportunities are scarce.

Kind regards, 

Caroline Otto

Back to top

Catrina Hughes – Violin

To whom it may concern,
I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra now for 8 years. TMO’s vast concert offerings each annual season, have allowed me to perform an exciting variety of programs, to young and old intimate and very large audiences.  In addition to performing in TMO’s annual concert season, I have been given the opportunity to perform regularly for commercial engagements including ‘Synthony’, Concerts to Film (Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol), National Tours (Basements Jaxx, Air Supply etc) and more.  The orchestra’s exceptional performance at a professional level for these events, is a direct result of TMO regularly working together, and having similarly passionate and skilled musicians who all cohesively aspire to enrich the Sydney music scene as well as our own musical careers. TMO’s Met, Chamber and Cushion Concert series are vital to what the orchestra brings in the way of live, full orchestral performances of supreme classics through to world premieres of new compositions.

My own musical career is constantly inspired by TMO, my fellow skilled musicians, and the greater musical landscape which we avidly wish to continue to contribute to. I hope you will support this orchestra with its forward vision constantly built on unforgettable experiences and challenges.


Catrina Hughes – Principal Violin 2

Back to top

Dawid Botha – Violin/Viola

This is a letter of support for TMO.

I have been involved with TMO for the past five years as a violin and viola player. My wife and I were both full-time professional orchestral musicians in South Africa before moving to Australia in 2009. I changed careers to become an airline pilot, but I still played a lot of music professionally before moving here. After moving to Australia we found it very difficult to integrate into the classical music scene in Sydney as we didn’t know anyone in the industry here.

 TMO has given my wife and I the opportunity to get involved with classical music at the highest level again. The orchestra plays together on a regular basis, which makes it more attractive to producers when they’re looking for an orchestra of professional standard to do one-off or short season professional productions.

The majority of the members work full-time as either music teachers or are involved in completely different careers. The orchestra allows us the opportunity to keep our playing skills at the highest level and in turn allows those that teach to then pass those skills on to their students. The cushion concert and Met concert series allow local communities to experience great quality classical music in their own neighborhoods and at much more affordable prices than if they had to go to major theaters in the city.

 Any support that could be offered to TMO would be greatly appreciated. They provide amazing cultural and educational experiences to audiences as well as enriching opportunities to musicians who would otherwise not be able to perform at that level.

Kind regards,

Dawid Botha

Back to top

Dominique Guerbois – Violin

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing violin with The Metropolitan Orchestra for 12 years now. During this time I have performed as both Concertmaster and Principal player in TMO and have been involved in a tremendous variety of performances & music. My husband is also a member of the orchestra as a trombonist and we really value the time we spend playing together in TMO.

As a freelance professional musician, my career has ranged from performing in small chamber ensembles to symphonic orchestras, doing seasons of musical theatre or playing recording sessions, touring Australia and overseas with classical ensembles or rock bands and everything in between. With TMO, I have done all this and more- the diversity of musical styles & consistent quality of performance are the direct result of an orchestra that regularly works together. Highlights of our performances include commercial engagements including ‘Synthony’, Concerts to Film (Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol), National Tours (Basements Jaxx, Air Supply etc) and currently, the season of Amadeus for the 50th anniversary of Sydney Opera House. We have also played as resident orchestra aboard Bravo Cruise of the Performing Arts. This is complemented by TMO’s own Met, Chamber and Cushion Concert series. For example, the Met Series offers us the rare opportunity to perform as a full orchestra to deliver both world premiere works and supreme classics, surrounded by equally passionate and skilled musicians.

It has also been a great personal privilege to be involved as Concertmaster of the orchestra; this opportunity has  significantly aided my musical career and inspired me to continue with my musical aspirations. TMO continues to be a very important part of my life in both a personal and professional sense; it is a collective of excellent musicians dedicated to the highest standards of music-making but it is also a family in music for us all. I hope you will support this orchestra which is so necessary for me, my musical career and our greater musical landscape.

Kind Regards,
Dominique Guerbois
Associate Concertmaster

Back to top

Elena Stopa-Zbikowska – Violin

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing to express my deep appreciation and support for the efforts of Sarah-Grace Williams in promoting the Metropolitan Orchestra, MET Concert Series, and creating opportunities for casual musicians like myself.

I am a violinist trained in Poland (Master’s degree in Violin performance),

Soon after arrival to Australia, I got involved in musical education, however, I was confident that for my teaching to be effective, it must be balanced by regular performance.

Coming from a multi-generational musical family, I have strong performing experience (I performed regularly since I was 7), however, after moving to Australia (I lived in Melbourne and Brisbane) I realized that finding opportunities to regularly perform, while teaching and looking after young children, is very difficult.

In 2014 I moved to Sydney and joined The Metropolitan Orchestra,

Sarah-Grace has done an outstanding job in bringing together a talented group of musicians and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. The passion and expertise that she brings to each performance are truly inspiring, and the music produced is nothing short of breathtaking.

Metropolitan Orchestra’s flagship MET series has opened a world of classical music to those who might not have otherwise had the chance to experience it. Examples of that are my own children who participated in MET concerts from an early age and many of my students coming to the concerts and often inviting their friends.

The series also allowed us, musicians, to come together regularly, and create a unique musical style, variety of tones, and technical precision, that would be impossible without regular rehearsals and performances.

The unique culture and dynamics of the orchestra shined during numerous events I particularly enjoyed like the recent performance of Amadeus (opening 50th anniversary of Sydney Opera House), Bravo Cruise of The Performing Arts, touring with Basement Jaxx, and Joy Division, among others. The range and quality of the entertainment were truly outstanding.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks for all that Sarah-Grace do. I have no doubt that Metropolitan Orchestra’s contributions will continue to be felt for years to come, and I look forward to many more opportunities to enjoy the amazing music that we create.

Kindest Regards,

Ela Stopa-Zbikowska


Back to top

Elena Tabolkina – Violin

To whom it may concern

For the last 20 years our family has been moving between countries and continents. As a result of our moving lifestyle I was lucky to play with many professional orchestras.

When I came to Australia playing in an orchestra was one of my most desirable dreams. I tried a few places before I was invited to play with TMO nearly 6 years ago.  From the first rehearsal I knew I didn’t need to look any further as TMO felt like the family I was looking for.

Being a part of TMO for the last couple of years has been an absolutely amazing experience.

I love the diversity of repertoire I participate in while being a part of TMO – from timeless classics to modern new collaborations with composers; playing pop songs in our Symphony, series; movies soundtracks, or my favourite concert tour with 2Cellos, and this is not even the whole list!

TMO’s Met concert series are bringing music to wide audience at affordable prices, without sacrifice the quality of performance.

As much as I’m enjoying TMO’s commercial projects I really love performing as a classical musician in Met concert series. My family, my friends and my students are always trying to be there to see me on stage. Performing timeless classics with Sarah-Grace is always of a high quality, full of professionalism and passion.

I hope you will support this orchestra which is very important to me, my musical career and the whole musical community.

Kind regards

Elena Tabolkina


Back to top

Ezmi Pepper – Cello

To whom it may concern,

The following testimonial is an account of what The Metropolitan Orchestra means to me both professionally and personally.

I have been playing with TMO as coprincipal cellist for the past 8 years.

This orchestra has literally changed my life.

I never dreamed that such an orchestra could exist. An orchestra that fulfils a passion and lust for playing music, with people who have become like family to me. An orchestra that allows its members to contribute not only to the decision making of our vast scope of repertoire, but in the execution and presentation of our concerts.

I look forward to every one of our performances, from universally loved full scale symphonic masterpieces like Mahler’s 5th Symphony, Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, Brahms’ 4th Symphony (just some of my favourites), touring with rock bands and some of my personal idols; 2Cellos and Basement Jaxx, travelling on cruise ships, enthralling the youngest members of our society with our cushion concerts, right down to our more intimate chamber ensembles that includes a highlight of my year; The Cellists of TMO.

In 2018, I performed Elgar’s powerhouse Cello Concerto with my orchestra behind me and can honestly say I have never experienced a level of support and encouragement close to what was felt during this time.

I worked hard to be worthy of this incredible opportunity and it continues to be a memory that brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I am so proud to be a member of an orchestra that respects and loves each and every member of its team.

Not only has TMO allowed me and many others to continue performing and doing what we love, but it has opened a world of expression to share with audiences who are continuously blown away by the high calibre of performance we strive to achieve. The energy of each and every concert is truly electrifying. I absolutely love being able to talk with long term and first time listeners alike and share in their experiences.

TMO also provides important opportunities through initiatives that are accessible to the wider musical communities in NSW and Australia. We have delivered several world premiere’s and celebrated many aspiring home grown composers, conductors and instrumentalists that would never be given this chance otherwise. Compositions that wouldn’t exist but for the generous outreaching TMO has provided.

Not a single member of our orchestral family is here because we have to be. It is paramount to our personal and professional development that orchestras like TMO exist outside of the larger national orchestras and companies to allow the flourishing of the myriad of musicians in this country otherwise not provided an outlet for our deep love of music in an inclusive and supportive environment.

I hope that you will consider to support our family and allow the music to keep on playing.

Respectfully yours,

Ezmi Pepper Co-Principal Cellist

Back to top

Gareth Lewis – Trombone

I have played with The Metropolitan Orchestra since 2016 and as Principal Trombone since 2018. TMO provides me with invaluable experiences as a freelance musician – to play top flight orchestral repertoire with an established cohort; to exercise leadership as a section principal; to play a wide range of styles including soundtrack, chamber, Dixieland jazz, commercial music as well as standard orchestral music; to tour capital cities and the Pacific Ocean; to perform for a vast range of audiences from subscribers to TMO’s Met Series to infants at Cushion Concerts, the party-goers at Synthony events and families of all ages at the movie-with-live-orchestra events…and more.

In my opinion, TMO provides a service that few if any companies attempt, and they do it well. By this I mean that they have established an ensemble which has the opportunity to: regularly work together (thereby developing strong musical relationships between musicians); actively outreach to new orchestral audiences (such as the commercial events and Cushion Concerts); take part in high-quality events covering a range of styles; self-produce concert series’ of serious concert repertoire for full orchestra and chamber groups; and actively commission new works by Australian composers.

Without the ongoing regular concert series that fall in between the commercial events TMO would not be able to muster excellent results quickly across the range of opportunities that come. We work well together because we work together often.

As a player I highly value my opportunity to work with a highly efficient ensemble playing a variety of music regularly. My colleagues in TMO are of the highest calibre and many are now my friends. Several of my highlights with TMO have been in the Met Concerts, for example the performance of Mahler 5 which allowed the brass section to take some of the primary musical material. There are very few opportunities for orchestral musicians to play works like Mahler 5 in a professional ensemble outside of Australia’s full time symphony orchestras.

All of the avenues which TMO have delved into have great value to Australian audiences and to Australian musicians – each aspect brings depth and understanding to the other components; making the offering of The Metropolitan Orchestra unique in diversity and versatility at a high standard.

Many thanks,

Gareth Lewis

Principal Trombone, The Metropolitan Orchestra

Back to top

Gemma Lawton – French Horn

To Whom It May Concern,  

The Metropolitan Orchestra, ‘TMO’, has been a fantastic creative outlet for my orchestral playing over the past decade. It has given me the opportunity to help enrich the lives of both younger and older audiences, through a multitude of music mediums and repertoires.  From 18th Century symphonies for the classical music purists, to accessible live film music scores (such as Jurassic Park and The Muppets Xmas), with for general music lovers, and the Cushion Concert series for young families and little ones. TMO has also toured both nationally (with Peter Hook and Joy Division) and internationally (performing on the Bravo Cruises of the Performing Arts) to share our love of music with audiences from afar. 

Being a part of a cohesive orchestra for an extended period has ensured our success, and the leadership of Sarah-Grace Williams has helped steer us in a direction of commercial success too, as seen in our performances in TMO’s Met and the Chamber series.

Looking back through the years, I have countless highlights that remain close to my heart. A small selection include performing in ‘Two Strong Hearts’ Olivia Newton-John & John Farnham, the BBC ‘Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular’, and ‘Synthony’. An absolute favourite experience though, was performing the BBC Blue Planet & Planet Earth Concerts way back in 2012 at the Sydney Opera house. 

The consistent opportunities which are presented to TMO are of extreme importance to not only my playing and career, but the education and exposure of wonderful live orchestral music to our wider community. I hope you will support this orchestra with continual funding.   

Kind regards, 

Gemma Lawton 

French Horn 

Back to top

Jacinta Mikus – Flute/Piccolo

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra since its inception 14 years ago and it has been my ‘home’ ensemble ever since.  TMO has not only given my career purpose and direction, but it has helped me build a vast professional network after relocating from overseas. Our commercial engagements are incredible and to be able to play massive venues (Sydney Opera House, IIC Sydney, Accor Stadium, Cockatoo Island, etc…)  and incredible music such as Doctor Who, Jurassic Park, Synthony, and Muppets Christmas Carol is what we work towards as musicians.  The reason we (TMO) are so successful at these commercial engagements is because we work together year round in our own concert series performing both old and new repertoire to a loyal and growing audience.  It is a rare opportunity, as a freelance orchestral musician, to be able to work in a fully functioning professional orchestra and TMO gives me that opportunity.  Not only do I play in the woodwind section as a flautist and piccolo player, but the orchestra has also provided a space for me to thrive as a soloist, most recently at our last Met Series Concert of 2022 where they commissioned a triple flute concerto from a local composer.  All our commercial success is a direct result of our Met Concert Series concerts…this is where we learn how we work best together.

TMO has become an absolutely vital creative and professional home for me. I have had a lot of wonderful experiences and opportunities around the world, but none have done as much for my career and personal life as TMO has.  Like most musicians, I am a freelancer, which requires putting up with a high degree of unpredictability in every sense.  It can be a daunting and alienating existence but because TMO has a structure, I can safely plan my life knowing there will be something to perform each year.  Without it, I would almost definitely have returned to Europe or the US.  NSW and Sydney have something very special here with this incredible ensemble and I hope that you can see its value and the need to preserve and nurture this orchestra.  There is so much more we can do if given the opportunity and support. 

These experiences are ones I will never forget.  

Kind Regards,

Jacinta Mikus


Back to top

Jeremy Fox – Double Bass

To whom it may concern,

I have played in TMO for around 5 years now serving as their Principal Double Bass player. My experience during this time has always been pleasurable, rewarding, and a great privilege. A unique Orchestra that allows for a great deal of exciting performance opportunities has allowed me to not only grow as a Bass player and musician, but to also prosper. There is no greater thrill to me than sitting in front of thousands of audience members playing scores to iconic movies such as Jurassic Park, and Christmas favourite The Muppets Christmas Carol. Our ability to come together to play serious classical music for our flagship ‘Met Concert’ series, and then split off into various smaller ensembles to help bring affordable classical music to as wide an audience as we can, but also bring Orchestral music to the dance floors of the ‘Synthony’ revolution, and touring bands (like Air Supply, and Basement Jaxx), has always been a great strength of TMO. The camaraderie created by our coming together in the ‘Met Concerts’ has allowed us to expand onwards into a broad cross-section of ever gracious audiences. Without the presence of TMO in my life I almost definitely would have found it difficult to remain a musician in Sydney in particular. To have come through the difficulties of the pandemic restrictions with an almost identical group of players is testament to the strength of TMO to unite and inspire people through Music including music that has been inspiring people for centuries, to music created by emerging artists in our small but vibrant arts scene. To be afforded the opportunity to continue to play in TMO is a privilege I do not take for granted, and I look forward to contributing to the continuing success of this Orchestras movements into a bright future. I very much hope that financial opportunities afforded to support TMO and its musicians such as myself are considered seriously and positively as an opportunity to help us advance the musical landscape in the greater Sydney area, but also around the country further into an exciting future.


Jeremy Fox

Back to top

Julienne Guerbois – Cello

To Whom it may concern,

I am writing to share my experience playing in The Metropolitan Orchestra.

I have been a member of the Orchestra since 2010, and over the last 13 years I have been proud and thrilled to be a part of TMO, which has truly helped me grow as a Musician.

I have had so many wonderful musical opportunities such as playing each year in the Met Concert Series – where we’ve had a chance to perform the great classics, but also to premiere each year brand new Australian works and work with emerging Australian composers.

As a cellist, I also play in the Cellists of TMO ensemble & concert each year, where my amazing colleagues and I get to perform a series of challenging and insanely fun repertoire- from Faure to Metallica (not a chance many Cellists in Sydney get!) and the TMO Cushion Concerts where we get to introduce music to the next generation through fun, accessible short concerts that kids can relax and get to know an entire different aspect of music. One of my favourite Cushion Concert performances was working with newly settled refugees in various suburbs in Sydney. Getting a chance to show children  (and their parents) a musical story, Peter and the Wolf, some of whom had never seen or heard of our instruments before, and had never heard a live concert before. We always do a hands on demonstration with the kids after the performances, letting them get up close to the various instruments of the Orchestra, watching these kids come up so excitedly and beaming after watching the performance, asking questions and wanting to have a go – this was a truly magical experience.

Throughout the years, I have also been given opportunities to perform in many of the TMO’s commercial engagements such as the BRAVO cruises with the Cellists of TMO quartet, National Tours with Air Supply, Joy Division & Horrorshow, Jurassic Park live in concert, Session Recordings for artists such as Felix Buxton (Basement Jaxx) and most recently the amazing production of Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House.

To be a part of this Orchestra is not only a chance to constantly improve my own skills, but to play amongst friends and to share our music with Sydney (and further). The Orchestra is so important to the contribution of live music in NSW, to be accessible, to have a huge range of concerts and programs that cater for everyone. I’m so lucky to be a part of this wonderful group and I hope that you can help support our Orchestra into the future.

Kind Regards,

Julienne Guerbois

Tutti Cellist

Back to top

Kate Moloney – Harp

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra since 2017. TMO first provided me the opportunity to be it’s inaugural Young Artist in 2017, which brought me in to play with the orchestra before continuing to play as Principal Harp in the following years. This has allowed me to learn and play a wide range of repertoire through the Met concert series (from Westlake to Mozart) alongside talented and passionate musicians under Sarah-Grace Williams. My time with TMO has helped grow my skills as a musician and orchestral player which has helped progress my career as a harpist so that I am now a casual musician and work regularly with Opera Australia Orchestra and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Without the opportunity to learn the repertoire and play regularly with TMO, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my personal music career. The Met concert series are a great way to bring classic works of the orchestral repertory alongside exciting new Australian works to the community which helps aid and continue the musical landscape of NSW. Without concerts like this being held, the musical scene in NSW will stagnate. These, alongside a personal favourite of mine – the Cushion Concerts, bring the wider community of Sydney into classical music throughout all ages in a way that makes them feel comfortable about attending concerts of a genre that they either know and love or may be only coming to for the first time. I hope you will support The Metropolitan Orchestra in continuing to bring musically enriching performances to NSW in the future.

Kind regards,

Kate Moloney


Back to top

Katherine Finch – Violin

To whom it may concern,

I first played violin with The Metropolitan Orchestra straight out of university in 2014. Since then, it has been an immensely important part of my life, career, and continuing musical education. I have played in several music ensembles, but nothing has matched the incredible standard of TMO. This quality is in part due to the expert guidance of our Conductor and Artistic director Sarah-Grace Williams, but also the exceptionally talented and passionate musicians that she draws.

Being a member of TMO has led me to be a part of a broad range of commercial engagements, including live concerts like Synthony, album recordings (Felix Buxton), national tours (Air Supply), and most recently Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House. These experiences would not have been possible without being a part of TMO.

The Met Concert Series provides us with opportunities to play fantastic full orchestral works that we don’t often get to play commercially. The Cushion Concert Series has been a wonderful place to introduce my students, as well as my daughter, to classical music. These concert series mean that we get to play together regularly, which is crucial to maintaining the high standard TMO has been recognised for.

I believe that without the support and opportunities provided by The Metropolitan Orchestra, a musical career in NSW would be difficult to maintain. An orchestra as versatile and accomplished as TMO is such a rare thing, and it would be such a loss if it was unable to continue. I am exceptionally grateful to be a part of it and hope that it can continue to grow and thrive.

Kindest regards,

Katherine Finch 

Violinist & Music Tuition 

Back to top

Kathryn Crossing – Violin

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra now for 8 years.
TMO’s vast concert offerings each annual season, has allowed me to perform an exciting
variety of programs, to both intimate and very large audiences.

In addtion to performing in TMO’s annual concert season, I have been given the opportunity
to perform regularly for commercial engagements including Amadeus, ‘Synthony’, Concerts
to Film (Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol), National Tours (Basements Jaxx, Air Supply
etc) and more.

The orchestra’s exceptional performance for these events are a direct result of TMO
regularly working together. We are a cohesive unit, established through performing together
across a range of concert styles throughout the year, delivering exceptional music that we
love to play. These include TMO’s Met, Chamber and Cushion Concert series. For example,
the Met Series offers us the rare opportunity to perform as a full orchestra to deliver both
world premiere works and supreme classics, surrounded by equally passionate and skilled
musicians. These full-orchestral live performance opportunities, simply aren’t readily
available in Sydney, so the opportunity to perform these works with passionate and
dedicated musicians is highly cherished.

The performances and experiences I have secured directly with TMO have significantly
aided my musical career and inspired me to continue with my musical aspirations. Without
TMO, I think maintaining a career in music, at least in NSW, would be difficult at best. I hope
you will support this orchestra which is very important to me, my musical career and our
greater musical landscape.

These experiences are ones I will never forget.

Kind Regards
Kathryn Crossing
Tutti violin

Back to top

Kaylie Dunstan – Percussion

To whom it may concern,

My name is Kaylie Dunstan and I’m a percussionist for The Metropolitan Orchestra. My first performance with them was shortly after my return to Australia after studying in Germany with a workshop performance of the Australian musical ‘King of the Air’, the story of Charles Kingsford Smith. Since that experience, I was determined to be part of the orchestra and work with Maestra Sarah-Grace on an on-going basis. Often being a socially shy person, I mustered up the courage to approach Sarah-Grace at a chance encounter and asked to be part of the orchestra permanently. I was soon given the opportunity to perform with them again and have since cemented my position within the family.

It gives me great pride to call TMO my home. When meeting people for the first time and they ask me if I play with a band or orchestra, I would be lost in my response if it weren’t for the existence of TMO. Furthermore, my own performance standard as a player is continually challenged and lifted by my involvement with the ensemble. Even though I receive plenty of playing opportunities from ‘ad hoc’ ensembles around Sydney, playing with the same core members is critical to creating a high quality, unified sound. Sarah-Grace is a leader I have the upmost respect for professionally. Her communication through her artistic expression and technique make following her a pleasure. I’m always inspired by her musicality through the pieces and every performance is invigorating.

Some of my most significant and memorable performances have been with TMO. The cushion concerts, for instance, are a vital part of our community and educational output. I’m always excited and encouraged by the full house performances and the joy on the faces of both children and adults. The Met Series as a percussionist is key to my artistic fulfilment and I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to tackle masterpieces often set as audition excerpts. Commercial projects have also been a highlight of my experiences with the orchestra, most recently the 2nd Synthony production on Cockatoo Island. The energy from the stage and the audience was palpable and exhilarating. I will never forget performances like these.

The Metropolitan Orchestra is a critical part of my musical identity. I believe in Sarah-Grace’s vision and the direction she’s taking the organisation. The community of musicians is diverse, friendly and positive. I owe a lot to them and I feel a deep sense of belonging, inspiration and pride to be part of such a high-level and welcoming ensemble. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for us and I’m enjoying every minute of the journey.


Kaylie Dunstan


Back to top

Lindsay Irik – Violin

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been a member of The Metropolitan Orchestra for 12 years and it is an extremely valuable part of my musical career. I am the Director of Strings (K-12) at Knox Grammar School and it is very important for me to keep my playing at the highest level in order for me to keep striving to be the best I can at my job.

TMO has given me countless opportunities and concerts with such large and varied repertoire, some of which I have also included in my ensembles at Knox over the years. My job is primarily conducting, so the professional development I receive under the baton of Sarah-Grace Williams is invaluable, which I then aim to put into practice what I have learnt with my own rehearsals and concerts. I have enjoyed being the Principal 2nd Violin for many years, and would not have such a brilliant leadership opportunity in other professional ensembles that I am involved in.

Trying to fit in professional playing, with a job in education is difficult to work around, so this is why the Met concerts provide the perfect opportunity for me to do both. Classroom teachers are offered many Professional Development opportunities, however the same is not readily available for specialised staff, that are just as equally important for the success of students, especially in the discipline of Music. TMO provides this, and many members are involved with strong music programs, so the expertise gained by all, is being shared with many young upcoming musicians. The Met concerts then also provide wonderful concert opportunities for our own students to come and enjoy as well.

Most importantly, the success, following, and enjoyment of the Met concerts, has given TMO a fantastic professional profile for many highly sort after commercial gigs. Companies highly value that TMO is an existing orchestra, knowing we have all played together many times, giving confidence that they are booking a true ensemble and not creating a scratch orchestra solely for the gig. TMO has proudly survived and come out the other side of a devastating few years after Covid, which has been so crushing for the Arts, and I hope that this stellar Orchestra will continue to provide so much for everyone in the future.

Ms Lindsay Irik

Director of Strings (K-12) | Knox Grammar School

Back to top

Liz D’Olier – Viola

To whom it may concern,

I have been performing music in Sydney for over 20 years, 10 of which have been with The Metropolitan Orchestra.  There is no other orchestra in Sydney like TMO where I can perform regularly with such passionate, professional, and dedicated musicians.  Without TMO, I would not have been able to continue performing music of such a high quality and fulfilling my musical ambitions. 

I have been involved in many commercial engagements with TMO which have only been made possible by the commitment and hard work of Sarah-Grace and what she has achieved bringing together such amazing musicians.  The Met Series offered throughout the year allows the orchestra to perform the music we love for our audience. These Met concerts are essential to the success, passion, and exceptional standard of the orchestra.

TMO means so much to me personally and as a musician and I hope you will support the orchestra so we can continue making incredible music together.

Kind Regards

Liz D’Olier TMO Viola

Back to top

Maria Denisa Smeu-Kirieanu – Violin

To whom it may concern,

I am Denisa Smeu-Kirileanu, and I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra now for nine years. I really appreciate the orchestra and enjoy all the rehearsals very much. The wonderful variety of the music we play is exhilarating and it also develops our individual abilities. One of the pieces which I have enjoyed playing was in 2016; this was the Shostakovich 10th Symphony, which I had never played before, but I had a recording of it given to me by my uncle in Romania.

It’s been a huge pleasure to play under Sarah-Grace Williams who, rightly, has very high expectations of us. TMO is a very professional orchestra which, for example, organises selective section rehearsals close to performances in order to get us to our best, and to express the music as it requires.

TMO offers us opportunities to play with other orchestras, which leads on to re-connecting with conductors from previous times. It also leads to invitations, such as for me, playing orchestrally on a cruise which was busy, but every performance was to packed-out audiences, and very satisfying to be involved in.

The aspects of The Metropolitan Orchestra that I would highlight include its high quality, its diversity, and its attractive programs, which draws people from all over Sydney to come to hear us. Our Prom Concerts get full houses with sometimes three Saturday performances and 3 Sunday ones, even when it is a relatively small chamber orchestra.

The atmosphere is always very friendly, with people smiling, saying hi, and being nice. I am older than most of the players, but they include me and respect my views on things. Many are young or early middle-aged, music teachers and business people, all of whom are a delight to be with in making music together.

I have been blessed in my association with TMO and I very sincerely hope that you will be able to give your support to our wish and ability to bring exceptionally fine music to so many people in and around Sydney.

With very kind regards,

Maria Denisa Smeu-Kirileanu

Ist Violins

Back to top

Mark Brown – Trombone

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing Trombone with The Metropolitan Orchestra for 10 years, my wife on violin even longer. Playing together in TMO is often the highlight of our busy schedules in the difficult world of being professional musicians.

TMO’s vast concert offerings each annual season, has allowed me to perform an exciting variety of music, which as a freelance Trombonist I would not have the opportunity to perform. In addition to playing in TMO’s annual concert season, I have been given the opportunity to perform regularly for commercial engagements including ‘Synthony’, Concerts to Film (Dr Who was my first with TMO, Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol etc), National Tours (Basements Jaxx, Air Supply etc) and the Bravo Cruise of the Performing Arts, where we performed with such musical luminaries as, José Carreras, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Bryn Terfel to name only a few. A personnel career highpoint.

The orchestra’s exceptional performance for these events is a direct result of TMO musicians regularly working together.  I love playing with my Brass team. As a freelance musician I have to play with many different colleagues every gig. It’s wonderful musically to sit down with a regular section of players I have worked with and know musically, intimately. We play as a cohesive unit, established through performing together across a range of concert styles throughout the year, delivering exceptional music that we love to play. These include TMO’s Met, Chamber and Cushion Concert series. For example, the Met Series offers us the rare opportunity to perform as a full orchestra to deliver both world premiere works and supreme classics, surrounded by equally passionate and skilled musicians. These full-orchestral live performance opportunities simply aren’t readily available in Sydney, so the opportunity to perform these works with passionate and dedicated musicians is highly cherished.

The performances and experiences I have secured directly with TMO have significantly aided my musical career and inspired me to continue with my musical aspirations and even keep me practicing! Without TMO, I think maintaining a career in music, at least in NSW, would be difficult at best. I hope you will support this orchestra which is very important to me, my musical career and our greater musical landscape.

TMO is a rare jewel in Sydney’s music scene.  

Kind Regards

Mark Brown
Principle 2nd Trombone

Back to top

Mark Szeto – Double Bass

My name is Mark Szeto and I have been professional musician and educator for over 25 years. I have also
been member of The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO) since it’s inception in 2009 and apart from a short period working overseas, I have played in almost every TMO concert. My association with TMO has opened up innumerable opportunities for me professionally and also for the many close friends I have made in this very special orchestra.

When I began playing with TMO in 2009, I was mainly a jazz and contemporary musician and teacher,
specialising in bass guitar. However, through playing with TMO in the their Met Series Concerts and
Chamber Concerts, I have greatly developed my skills as a classical double bass player and teacher. Along
with my jazz and popular music gigs, I now often perform with other Sydney-based professional orchestras and I also work as a double bass tutor at the NSW Arts Unit and at many state and private schools.

TMO’s concerts also allow my many students a chance to see me perform at a professional level with a
cohesive orchestra in their local area and at a fraction of the price it would cost to see other orchestras
perform. The Cushion Concerts in particular are a very special event for my younger students to see how a
high-level orchestra works together and they are always thrilled. These concerts are a spark of inspiration for young students and these children are often much more motivated to practise after attending.

My older students and their families often come to the TMO’s other contemporary performances such as
“Synthony” and our movie events (Jurassic Park, Dr Who, Muppets Christmas, etc). Many of these students
are doing music for their HSC or have already advanced to studying at the Sydney Conservatorium. My
playing in TMO has shown them that a career in music is not only still viable, but is exciting and fulfilling.

Over the years, I have witnessed the many other opportunities created by The Metropolitan Orchestra,
including the commissioning and playing of new works by local composers and providing young, up-and coming musicians a professional and friendly environment in which to perform and hone their skills. I simply cannot name another musical organisation in Sydney the has opened the door to so many composers and musicians to transition into the professional music world in such a supportive and positive environment. I believe that any financial help afforded The Metropolitan Orchestra will be paid back to the Sydney music industry many times over.

Yours Sincerely,
Mark Szeto

Back to top

Monique Turner – Viola

To whom it may concern.

My name is Monique Turner and I am a violist of The Metropolitan Orchestra. I have been a
member since 2016 and I wish describe my experience within the orchestra.

When I first started with The Metropolitan, I had been following their concert series as I had
friends who had been members for a number of years. I was instantly impressed with the high
standard of musicians in the orchestra so when a position became open for a violist, I jumped at
the opportunity and I have never looked back.

The years that have followed have opened more doors for me as a musician with opportunities
to perform with many performers such as the esteemed Jose Carreras, Peter Hook (Joy
Division) many talented Australian soloists and currently with the Amadeus production at the
Sydney Opera House.

As much as this orchestra has given me, I also love when we can give back to our younger
supporters. The Junior metropolitan workshops, our very wholesome performances of ‘Peter
and the Wolf’ , the cushion concerts and Christmas concerts at the end of every year are some
of my most treasured experiences. Sarah-Grace is also an incredible supporter of Australian
composers and I have been privileged enough to be a part of a number of world premieres
which will continue in 2023 with over 7 new Australian compositions.

My orchestra is my life, it is a place where I feel a part of a unique family that thrives in a world
that loves to bring music to our Sydney community. It gives me a purpose in my life that I would
greatly miss if it was not existent. I have loved working under the guidance of our Maestra
Sarah-Grace and I will continue to always give my time to this wonderful orchestra.

I hope that this letter gives you some insight into my own personal experience and how vital and
valuable this orchestra is to the wider Sydney arts community.

Regards Monique Turner

Back to top

Murray Parker – Timpani

To whom it may concern,

I have been playing with The Metropolitan Orchestra now since its inception year. The orchestra’s annual concert program has allowed me to perform an exciting variety of enjoyable programs. In addition to the subscription concert season, the orchestra has provided opportunity to perform for commercial engagements including ‘Synthony’ 2021-2022, films Jurassic Park and Muppets Xmas Carol 2019-2022, and national tours with Basements Jaxx and Peter Hook’s Joy Division 2019. The orchestra’s exceptional performance for these events directly result from the regularity of playing together. We are unified both personally and musically, performing extraordinary music that we love to play. Annual concert series include the Met Concerts and Cushion Concert series, and the music opportunities as performed in the Met Concert series to the high calibre by TMO, are not often available in Sydney – the opportunity to perform these works with the orchestra therefore are highly regarded indeed.

The performances I have experienced directly with TMO have significantly aided my musical career and inspired me to continue with my musical aspirations to play beautiful music for an appreciative audience. I sincerely hope you will support this very important orchestra, which aids musical careers for multiple musicians (including mine), and our greater musical landscape in Sydney.

Best wishes Murray Parker
Principal Timpani – The Metropolitan Orchestra

Back to top

Nan Heo – Violin

To whom it may concern,

I have been a member of The Metropolitan Orchestra for the best part of a decade now, having joined in 2014. Prior to this, I was at a juncture in my professional life which is probably familiar to orchestral musicians everywhere – looking for the fulfillment which an orchestra could provide me as a trained musician, but confronted by the reality of limited opportunities in Sydney. Fortunately, TMO presented itself, and in my time with the orchestra, I have had the musical satisfaction I was seeking, professional networking opportunities, the chance to make new and lasting friendships, and performance opportunities and experiences I would never have anticipated.

Highlights of my time with TMO include performing together with Jose Carreras of the Three Tenors, going on tour with 2Cellos, and most recently on stage at the Sydney Opera House for the full run of Amadeus with Michael Sheen. I’ve also been privileged to participate in performance opportunities I would otherwise have never experienced, such as the Bravo Performing Arts cruise with Royal Carribean Group, and performing for many thousands as part of the Synthony Dance Concert in 2021. This rich diversity of musical experiences is only made possible by being a member of TMO, and I will treasure the memories from these performances going forward.

A crucial component of TMO’s annual performance calendar is its Met concert series, in which I have enjoyed performing for many years now. This series aims to make classical music more accessible to the wider public, and also plays a key role in supporting local up-and-coming composers by providing opportunities for their works to be performed. As a music educator myself, this goal of breaking down barriers between orchestras and the general public is one I passionately support. Moreover, these concerts provide me with an opportunity to perform works from the vast library of orchestral masterpieces, an opportunity I would not have without TMO.

Given the great value TMO brings to the public, and which it has brought to me personally, I am therefore writing this letter in support of the TMO’s grant submission. I continue to support the orchestra however I can, be it in my capacity as a violinist, or financially where possible. Unfortunately, the support of its members, however fervent, is insufficient to keep TMO afloat. I firmly believe in TMO’s continued ability to fill a vital niche in Sydney’s music scene, and am sure that with adequate funding and support, the orchestra will continue to provide meaningful, enjoyable musical experiences to both audiences, and TMO members, for years to come..

Kind regards,

Nan Heo

First Violin

Back to top

Sarah Anthony – Violin

To Whom It May Concern,

I am a violinist and have had the great privilege of playing and performing with The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO) for the past 9 years.

TMO is incredibly important to me. I do not play or teach violin as my livelihood but, having played violin for the better part of 34 years, being part of an orchestra is core to my identity. When I joined TMO I already knew a lot of the musicians and it instantly felt like the mature version of Sydney Youth Orchestra which was for me the pivotal ‘musical family’ in my youth. The musicality, passion, talent and dedication of TMO musicians, impeccably led by Artistic Director Sarah-Grace Williams, is really special. Playing with TMO makes me a better musician and I cannot imagine not playing with TMO in the future.

The repertoire we play in the TMO ‘Met Series’ concerts is world class and I particularly love that each program almost always includes a premier of an Australian composition. Our audiences are treated to well-known symphonies, concertos and overtures as well as these new works and I think that is an incredibly enriching and appealing offering. It is not something readily available in Sydney.

In addition to playing in TMO’s Met Series, I have been given the opportunity to perform regularly for commercial engagements including ‘Synthony’, Concerts to Film (Jurassic Park, Muppets Xmas Carol), National Tours (Basements Jaxx) and more. The orchestra’s exceptional performance for these events are a direct result of TMO regularly working together. We are a cohesive unit, established through performing together across a range of concert styles throughout the year, delivering exceptional music that we love to play.

The flexibility TMO affords musicians such as myself – a full time working mother of two – is inclusive and allows me to commit to performances that suit my and my family’s schedule.  Without TMO, maintaining any connection with professional music-making for me would be difficult at best.

I hope you will support this orchestra which is very important to me, my musical colleagues, and our greater musical landscape. TMO truly deserves it!


Sarah Anthony


Back to top

Sarajane Kirkaldy-Hansen – Bassoon

Sarajane Kirkaldy-Hansen


To whom it may concern

I am writing as I have been playing as a bassoonist with The Metropolitan Orchestra for 13 years, since its inception. 

Being able to perform with an orchestra of such a high standard has been an incredible experience.  Our audience is wide ranging as we are able to work closely together to present many and very varied concerts every year, and it is a joy to work with people who are extremely dedicated to the Orchestra’s mission.

As well as being able to perform in TMO’s concert seasons, it has been invaluable to perform regularly for commercial engagements, which have included national tours, concerts with film and the brilliant Synthony.  The reason we perform so well in these concerts and tours is because we are a cohesive team who work together on our regular annual season, delivering music that we love to play.

I believe the MET concerts are the most important concerts that we perform.  They allow us to play new works, especially works by Australian composers and performers.  As a professional musician the varied repertoire is invaluable in improving my skills, and playing with such a fantastic group of people regularly means that we can also improve our teamwork and musical interpretations.

If these, and our other self-produced concerts including chamber and cushion concerts for young people, were no longer available, the music scene in Sydney would be so much poorer, and I personally would be highly affected in my career. 

Thank you for considering supporting us as we work together to engage with audiences in NSW.

Regards, Sarajane

Back to top

Svetlana Yaroslavskaya – Flute

As a professional flautist with over 35 years of experience performing with various orchestras, I am excited to be writing this letter in the support of The Metropolitan Orchestra application for the Create NSW grant.

Over the course of my musical career I have been working with a number of professional bands, chamber orchestras and professional symphony orchestras in Australia and overseas as a principal flautist and a soloist. Presently, I am a permanent member of the military ensemble and am wearing a rank of the Petty Officer in the Royal Australian Navy Band. Being involved in many musical organisations to date, I can confidently say that The Metropolitan Orchestra has become the number one ensemble that has provided me, alongside with hundreds of other Australian instrumentalists, with a world-class musical challenges and performance opportunities.

For more than a decade performing with The Metropolitan Orchestra, I watched it expand, develop and grow into a big community of excellent musicians, many of whom have become my life-long friends. I felt so strongly about supporting the orchestra, I volunteered my time to help the orchestra as a committee member. As a Chief Music Librarian and executive committee member, I have learned how much time and effort it takes to provide these rare opportunities for musicians to experience large-scale symphonic works of the world-class quality.

I feel immensely privileged to be entrusted to perform as a soloist with The Metropolitan Orchestra on many occasions over the years. Always looking for the opportunities for the Australian musicians, the orchestra’s conductor Sarah-Grace Williams regularly features her principal players in the Met Concert Series. For me, the highlights were those solo performances of the original Australian compositions – Pipe Dream by Carl Vine, the original adaptation of Elena Katz-Chernin’s Re-Inventions for piccolo/flute/ alto flute and recently, a close collaboration with Australian female composer Keyna Wilkins on triple flute concerto Solar Triumverate.

The Artistic Director and conductor Sarah-Grace Williams’ drive and relentless striving for musical excellence has empowered me and other TMO musicians with the sense of belonging to the dynamic fabric of Sydney musical community. My identity as a professional musician for a large part depends on my long-standing involvement with The Metropolitan Orchestra family and my sense of belonging to the community created by the orchestra. At the heart of the orchestra lies its Met Concert Series where those musical connections and friendships develop and where we as musicians find and realise our identity of orchestral players. I hope my letter will help to support The Metropolitan Orchestra in securing the Create NSW grant to ensure the Met Concert Series will continue to grow and musically flourish in the cultural scene of Sydney.

Sincerely yours,

Svetlana Yaroslavskaya

Back to top

Don’t just take our word.  Read what others think of TMO in Concert. Click here to read various concert reviews…

Media Centre

See TMO in Pictures, Videos and In the Press. Click here…

Past Concerts

To have a look at what we have performed in all our past concerts click here…

Contact Us

To find out the best way to get in contact with us, click here…