about us

The NBO is a not-for-profit organisation and was created to provide opportunities for musicians on the Northern Beaches to excel musically, as well as to enhance the cultural life of the local community. It is a high quality amateur orchestra, accepting players of all ages who are grade 6 standard or above (or equivalent). Provided they have reached this standard, string and percussion players do not need to audition formally, while entry to the orchestra for woodwind and brass players is by audition. This system maintains the orchestra’s very high standard, gives local musicians something to aspire to, and provides our audiences with very enjoyable concerts.

The orchestra started its life as a Youth Orchestra in 2008 after three local businesswomen sat down together for a coffee and lamented that there was no amateur symphony orchestra based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. One of these women, Louise Brown, went on to establish the orchestra. The three local councils – Manly, Warringah and Pittwater – together provided three years of generous start-up funding and the NBYO was born.

Once the NBYO was established and its concerts enjoying great success as a local alternative to a night out in the City to see a professional orchestra, we started to receive enquiries from older amateur musicians in the area who had nowhere to play. With the wealth of talented musicians, both young and old, living on the Peninsula it seemed a great pity not to have an orchestra where all of these people could join together to make beautiful music. Therefore, since 2011, the orchestra has welcomed not only young musicians but musicians of all ages – hence its renaming as the Northern Beaches Orchestra.

our conductors

The NBO employs two well-known and accomplished local conductors who run the rehearsals and present the concerts: Dr Martin Hardy and Stephen Buchanen. It also employs a number of instrumental tutors, who provide expert coaching to each section of the orchestra. This investment provides an environment in which the members of the orchestra can perform to their highest level, and can be guided, inspired and encouraged by professional musicians.

Martin Hardy is a passionate music educator and professional musician. His formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Music Education from the Sydney College of Advanced Education, a Master of Music from the University of New South Wales, an Associate of Music Australia (Trombone), and a PhD in instrumental education with The University of Western Sydney. As a trombonist, Martin has worked professionally in a variety of musical genres from small jazz ensembles to symphony orchestras. Martinís career as a conductor has seen him work with many of the countryís finest ensembles, including the New South Wales State Schoolís Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the University of New South Wales Wind Ensemble, the Sydney Metropolitan North Schools Symphony Orchestra and Bands, as well as the newly formed Northern Beaches Youth Orchestra. Martin is a sought after adjudicator and guest conductor. For a number of years, Martin worked in the Arts Unit of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training. In 2007, he returned his focus to local education, and is Head of the Creative and Performing Arts department of Pittwater High School.

Stephen Buchanan graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1998 with a Bachelor of Music majoring in performance studies on the double bass. He then proceeded to play professionally for many years as a bassist across most genres and styles. In 2001 Stephen began working as a classical and jazz consultant for a prominent Australian recording company and by 2003 had been assigned the position of Label Manager. Upon leaving the company in 2005, he created an entertainment booking agency servicing both the private and corporate sectors. As a Musical Director Stephen has worked on radio and television, he has also recorded with many Australian artists ranging from orchestral playing through to jazz, rock and pop. Stephen has 20 years' experience in the field of instrumental tuition and has been working as an ensemble conductor for half that time. In 2009 he began studying Education at the University of New England and in 2010 joined the Music Department at Pymble Ladies' College where he is now the Coordinator of Music Curriculum.

funding the orchestra

Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils generously provided establishment funding for the orchestra, which is now fully self-funded. This is achieved through corporate and community sponsorship, ticket sales and paid performances. The future success of the orchestra rests on the generosity of the community, its businesses and its individuals. Our major sponsors for 2016 are Warringah Council, Dee Why RSL, Narrabeen Lifecare RSL Village and the Bendigo Bank, Freshwater Community Branch.