Posted on 04. Jun, 2010 in News

Melbourne Recital Centre has secured one of the country’s most experienced arts managers, Mary Vallentine AO, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Welcoming the appointment, Arts Minister Peter Batchelor said Ms Vallentine would bring to the role three decades of experience in theatre, festival and music management, including 17 years as Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

She is currently Director of Business Development, Concerts at Musica Viva, the national chamber music and music education organisation.

“After an international search we are delighted to lure Mary Vallentine from Sydney to take the helm of our extraordinary Melbourne Recital Centre,” Mr Batchelor said.

“Her passion for, and deep knowledge of Australia’s music scene, together with first-rate management experience across the arts sector, make her an ideal fit for the Melbourne Recital Centre in its next phase of development,” Mr Batchelor said.

Mr Batchelor said Ms Vallentine was widely respected in the music sector and beyond.

In Melbourne, she acted as Managing Director of Victorian Opera for six months in 2008/9 and has also worked with the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, Adelaide Festival and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.

A passionate supporter of chamber music, Ms Vallentine managed the Sydney String Quartet and the Australian Chamber Orchestra during their formative years and is the Chairman of the Australian Youth Orchestra. She was awarded an AO in 1996 for her contribution to music in Australia.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Melbourne Recital Centre, without doubt the country’s finest acoustic space for ensemble music. The opportunity to work with musicians, composers and presenters to promote a diverse range of musical performances is hugely exciting”, Ms Vallentine said. 

Outgoing Chairman Jim Cousins said Ms Vallentine would help the Melbourne Recital Centre establish its position among the world’s leading music halls. 

“Since opening in February 2009, Melbourne Recital Centre has developed a strong following among Australian and international musicians and their audiences, who admire its superb acoustics,” Mr Cousins said.

“I have no doubt that Mary will build on this reputation, providing opportunities for musicians and ensuring that Victorians have access to the very best local and international music experiences.”

Mr Batchelor paid tribute to Mr Cousins for delivering a magnificent hall for Melbourne.

“Jim Cousins has been highly instrumental in transforming a 30-year dream into an internationally applauded reality.  Over the past four years, he has steered Melbourne Recital Centre through its highly technical construction and into its second year of operation,” he said.

“His has been a sterling performer and he leaves us on a high note with this appointment.

“With Mary Vallentine in place, I will appoint a new Chair with complementary skills. In the interim, Deputy Chair Mary Waldron will act as Chair.”

Ms Vallentine will begin her new role on September 20.

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