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QSO completes lengthy leadership search by naming 'rising star'


Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) has announced the appointment of fast-rising Yarmila Alfonzetti, one of Australia’s most dynamic young arts professionals, as its new Chief Executive.

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Alfonzetti is currently Executive Director of State Opera South Australia, a position she has held since 2018.

She replaces Craig Whitehead who left the orchestra in mid-2021.

Alfonzetti is highly regarded as a collaborative, energetic and forward-thinking leader, with two decades of experience in managing articstic programs.

QSO Acting Chair Rod Pilbeam said QSO had “taken its time” with an extensive talent search before making the appointment.

“As Queensland’s largest performing arts organisation, QSO demands a dynamic, inclusive and visionary leader,” Pilbeam said.

“We deliver unique musical experiences across this huge state and perform world class maestro events in our home venue, the Concert Hall at QPAC; leadership is vital. We could not be more thrilled therefore to welcome Yarmila Alfonzetti as Chief Executive,” he said.

“A highly effective operator, she has led a strong recovery of State Opera South Australia through strategic planning and decision making. Prior to this, Yarmila was Chief Executive Officer of Sydney Youth Orchestras from 2015 to 2018, and before that, Head of External Relations for Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music.”

Alfonzetti holds a Bachelor of Musicology (Hons) and a Masters in Project Management. “From 2008 to 2013, she was Head of Classical Music at Sydney Opera House, appointed to drive international venue recognition, grow box office income and promote positive reputation by delivering a large-scale classical music program,” Pilbeam said.

“Her musical and management abilities make her a wonderful addition to QSO’s family.”

Alfonzetti described the QSO as the “jewel in the crown of a thriving state cultural landscape”.

“I look forward to calling Brisbane my new home, exploring Queensland, getting to know the QSO family, meeting many new passionate arts lovers, and working closely with the musicians, Board and management team to champion and elevate this company.”

“I feel very privileged to have played a part in the custodianship of some wonderful Australian arts companies, festivals and venues in my career and joining QSO as Chief Executive feels equally, if not more, important. I admire arts companies which buzz with motion, and the QSO does just that,” she said.

Alfonzetti will take over from Executive Director Valmay Hill who has led the company for almost 12 months, following Whitehead’s departure and launching the orchestra’s 75th anniversary celebration.  Alfonzetti will relocate to Queensland and begins her new role on July 11.

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