Founded in 1991 as the Novocastrian Arts Orchestra, with a name change in 1999, Orchestra Nova is the only symphony orchestra in the Newcastle and Hunter region to have rehearsed and performed continuously to the present time.
A mix of amateur and semi-professional musicians, and a wide range of ages are represented. Many members are also involved in local musical theatre groups, choirs and community bands.
Over the years Orchestra Nova has featured the talents of instrumental and vocal soloists (both emerging and established) from Newcastle and Hunter regions and has also premiered new works by composition students and established composers.
Orchestra Nova has collaborated successfully with a variety of musicians and groups resulting in novel and enjoyable concert programmes. Some of these collaborations have involved choirs of adults and children, a jazz band, jazz and folk singers and instrumentalists, classical ballet, Latin dancers, and highland dancers with piper and drums.
Each year, three formal concerts plus a Children’s Concert are presented.
Audiences at Orchestra Nova concerts are presented with a wide range of programmes often based on a particular subject or theme such as “A Day at the Proms”, “A Night in Vienna”, “Paris to Berlin”, “Enchanted Europe”, “Bohemian Splendour”, “Popular Concerto Movements”, “Dances from Around the World”, “Young Musicians In Concert”, “Not So Strictly Ballroom”, “Music From Stage and Screen”. Both audience and orchestra members are welcome and encouraged to suggest ideas and music for future concerts.
From classical music through the ages to jazz, folk, rock, pop, film music, musical theatre and beyond, Orchestra Nova aims to introduce and broaden the appeal of symphonic music to audiences of all ages.
Orchestra Nova is a community orchestra that provides an environment for quality orchestral musical experiences for musicians.
We promote the appreciation and enjoyment of orchestral music in the cultural life of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions through public performances.
Robin grew up experimenting with music in Salvation Army bands around rural New South Wales where he discovered a love for brass instruments. This resulted in the choice to study French Horn with Allan Mann at Sydney Conservatorium while studying at Sydney University.
Throughout his studies, Robin gained experience playing the horn in amateur productions in Sydney and Wollongong. His professional career began as a freelance musician in J.C. Williamson stage shows, and in recording sessions.
Upon graduation in 1970, Robin joined the horn section of the Elizabethan Theatre Trust Orchestra in Sydney that later became the Australian Ballet and Opera Orchestra. Robin was a musician in the pit during the inaugural opera at Sydney’s Opera House.
In 1982, he joined the Newcastle Conservatorium as a lecturer in brass. During his tenure, he formed the brass ensemble and children’s orchestra, while occasionally conducting the senior orchestra. He also undertook an annual survey of student musical performances across the Hunter Valley. Robin was promoted to assistant dean, practical studies, before leaving the Conservatorium in 1996.
He joined Orchestra Nova as a horn player in 2012 and conducted his first concert later that same year, continuing as musical director, and chief conductor, until his retirement in June 2019. Since that time, he has continued to oversee the musical direction of Orchestra Nova.
Stephen Aveling-Rowe is an organist, cellist, conductor, and professional wildlife photographer. Although his musical education began with the piano, he became the first Suzuki Organ student in Australia as a pupil of David Clark, graduating in 2013.
Receiving AMusA in Pipe Organ in 2014, he naturally decided to pursue music and at 16, he began a BMus at UNE. After transferring to the Avondale Conservatorium in 2016, he with two other organists travelled to Europe for his second concert and study tour, the first being in 2012, performing in the Netherlands and the UK, where he also studied liturgical and choral music in an intensive at Cambridge. He graduated in 2019 with a BA - Specialisation in Music, and having studied organ under Philip Swanton, the same year received LMusA in Pipe Organ with distinction.
As a cellist and presently principle with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra, he has played numerous works including Bernstein’s “Wonderful Town”, Haydn’s “The Creation”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Britten’s “Noyes Fludde”, and “The Carnival of the Animals”.
Notwithstanding a brief foray into the world of aviation, in 2021 he returned to his love of the humanities at Avondale University where he is currently lecturing in photography, completing a Graduate Diploma in Theology, and developing his musical passions studying orchestral conducting with Dr. Ian Cook. In closing, he says, “I am profoundly grateful for this opportunity to open a new musical chapter, to continue developing musicianship, and to perform together with Orchestra Nova!”
Elizabeth is a musician with 30 years experience in performing, teaching, and artistic program development.
A violin student of Errol Collins, she was concertmaster of Newcastle Conservatorium Youth Orchestra gaining her Associate in Music on Violin at 16 and on Piano at 18 under the tutelage of father, Ross Young.
Elizabeth studied law at Newcastle University and a B.Mus (Performance) at Sydney University, as a student of Neta Maughan. She was also mentored by Australian composer and pianist, Miriam Hyde, and Nan Price.
She has worked as a session musician for recording artists, in a string quartet at public and private events and on live radio.
Elizabeth is an experienced accompanist & AMEB exam preparation specialist for instrumentalists & vocalists.
She was répétiteur for Newcastle Gilbert & Sullivan Players and a pit violinist from age 12. Her passion for mental health advocacy led her to develop an art/music therapy program at Richmond Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (now Flourish Australia ).
There she was accompanist for Newcastle’s Under Construction’ Choir and was recently the accompanist for Newcastle’s Parkinson’s Choir.
Elizabeth joined Orchestra Nova in 2016 and was appointed concert master in 2017. She has played 1st violin in the Newcastle University Orchestra, Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra and in the Encore Best of Broadway orchestra.
Elizabeth is also a passionate teacher of piano, violin and music theory.
Jenny Gibbons, Robyn Young