Commanding business and arts leader Chris Freeman AM has been appointed Chair of Queensland Symphony Orchestra from January 2018, in a move that sees the company continue to attract and work with the very best.
With internationally acclaimed Music Director Alondra de la Parra firmly holding the artistic baton, and inspiring Chief Executive David Pratt wooed back from the United States, the announcement of Chris Freeman as Chair draws an indelible line in the sand for the company as it continues to reach new performance benchmarks.
Already winning rave reviews for its musicality, operational strength and international fame, Queensland Symphony Orchestra is this year celebrating 70 years of music making across Queensland, making it the perfect time for the announcement, which came from the current Chair, Mr Greg Wanchap.
“Queensland Symphony Orchestra is transforming into an orchestra for the 21st century – an orchestra that’s relevant, that connects with all people, across all geographies, cultures, backgrounds and ages. It’s important that this transformation maintain momentum and with Chris’s appointment, this is assured,” Mr Wanchap said in welcoming Chris Freeman.
With 15 years of highly successful leadership in arts administration, board stewarding and Chair positions, combined with a long and enviable career in business, Chris Freeman brings serious current commercial gravitas to the company.
His input into leadership of the arts nationally is extraordinary – he is immediate past Chair of QPAC and the Major Brisbane Festivals as well as past Chapter Chair of the Australian Business Arts Foundation, member of the Australia Council’s Major Performing Arts Panel and past Director of the Brisbane Biennial.
His time as Chair of the Major Brisbane Festivals was the most transformative in the company’s history, with festivals merging and the creation of The Brisbane Festival, a result realised under his leadership.
Chris forged his business reputation as the CEO of the global development company Mirvac in Queensland, and in the last role as Executive Chair (UAE and UK). He is a member of the Urban Futures Board, the State Government Infrastructure Taskforce, is Chair of Translink Transit Authority and Tennis Australia Ltd and is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Queensland.
Passionate about the development and future of Queensland, he is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Institute of Banking and Finance and the Development Institute of Australia. He is also passionate about the future and development of the arts in Australia, with his commitment able to be seen across 30 years of leadership and involvement.
Mr Freeman said Queensland Symphony Orchestra was already the talk of concert halls around the world, with conductors, artists and leaders turning their eyes to Brisbane to track innovation in orchestra programming, management, vision and curation of company culture.
“Queensland Symphony Orchestra is the state's largest performing arts organisation. What’s extraordinary is that the company creates and delivers unique musical experiences across this huge state. Highly trained professional musicians – at home in any great concert hall on the planet – travel to all corners of Queensland to connect with Queenslanders, to ensure all Queenslanders can experience the true power of live music. This is an important role to play,” he said.
“There are not many other orchestras in the world that deliver on taking their music to their people.”
“Not only that, Queensland Symphony Orchestra is cracking stereotypes open. The Orchestra looks to music from both the great composers and from exciting young creators, and tells stories through music.”
“Queensland is in for an exciting musical future.”