The Art of Patronage

The Art of Patronage

'Chamber music is the core of all good music-making: fine musicians sharing expressions of beauty, passion and reflection in close communication with one another and their audiences. It is a joy to participate both as performer or listener - so I am delighted to support the Omega Ensemble.” Simone Young AM - Patron

Securing the past and the future in the present:  on the Importance of being an arts patron

The Arts Patron

History tends to remember the great composers and the great performers of music, but rarely mentioned are the people who support and provide a platform for the great art of the world to take place -  the donors and the patrons. Patrons donate their hard earned money to provide opportunities for musicians to present music that audiences love and adore. With the support of the patrons the musicians have the opportunity to showcase their passion and artistry to many.

Arts patronage has a long history that dates back to a time when nobles and those with wealth would employ court musicians to provide original music for their guests, in chamber performances and the hosting of their own music series.  Without their patronage musicians would not have had many commissions, venues to perform in or the means to pay the performers. If there had been no arts patrons some of the great works of music that we all know and love would never have existed. Imagine if Mozart, Beethoven and other great composers had not had the backing of patrons, donors and supporters, their music may have never been heard and that would make for some slim pickings in terms of repertoire! As patrons you are the link between the existence of the music and the presentation of this music.

As an audience member I am sure you will often go to a concert and be astounded by the wonderful musicianship that you see on the stage, but there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to create these finely crafted performances. Besides rehearsals, practicing, learning virtuosic music and then delivering it at the highest level there are many other aspects to being a musician today. Beyond learning the notes the musicians have to organise venues, get audiences to come to their performances, talk about the music, hire the music, hire expert staff to do work beyond the music itself (such as pre-concert talks and program notes) and also cover the cost of the often expensive venue hire.

As you can see, when you donate money to the arts you are donating to whole experience and your money gets allocated to many different areas. The money that you donate also sees that those who are less able to access regular performances in Metropolitan venues (such as those who live in country and remote places) can have access the same quality chamber music that you do, and therefore their lives are also enriched by an Omega Ensemble performance that is taken to them. Omega is reaching audiences far and wide, especially with the introduction of their digital concert hall, an innovative approach to sharing music beyond the concert hall for many to enjoy and appreciate.

The Passion of the Artists

The passion for playing, learning and presenting world class music is one of the major driving forces behind the philosophy of Omega Ensemble. Each musicians passion and desire to present the best chamber music at the highest level is what drives these musicians and fuels the fire behind every performance. In fact, it is the ‘passion of the artists’s that is one of the driving factors behind patron Michael Crouch’s decision to donate to the arts. In his speech at the patron’s dinner last week he outlined that the reason he donates to the arts and has a hand in keeping the arts alive is because he is inspired  and excited by the ‘passion of the artists’. Amidst challenging times in the arts it is this passion that sustains artists to walk on stage, time and time again, and present to the audiences the finest performances of exquisite chamber music.

“I have to say, it is always a wonderful feeling walking to the stage in the Utzon Room, when it is full and seeing all our patrons friendly faces in the front few rows, certainly makes me feel at home!”, says Omega’s artistic director, David Rowden. “I am very proud of the unique position that Omega Ensemble holds on the Sydney music scene. Our mission is to enrich lives through a deeper understanding of music. By continuing to support Omega Ensemble you are also creating opportunities for more chamber musicians to showcase their talent to new and existing audiences, “ says a passionate David Rowden.

The  Music of Tomorrow

Since 2005 the Ensemble has given nearly 90 performances and commissioned 27 new Australian works…  This year Steven Alward commissioned composer Andrew Ford to compose Contradance to celebrate the 60th birthday of his partner Mark. This gave the opportunity for Omega Ensemble to present a world premier by an Australian composer and also an opportunity for the patrons to directly engage in the creation of a brand new work, resulting in performances by the Omega Ensemble.


Problematically, there have been many arts funding cuts to ensembles in Sydney and around Australia and in some cases ensembles have had to close their doors due to the lack of funding. Omega Ensemble has always been independent of arts funding and therefore the support from the patrons is the first call in keeping the ensemble going. “This is a challenging time for all arts organisations. Many of you know that some groups have recently lost their Australia Council funding. Some groups have even been forced to close. Fortunately, we are not in either group. That is because we do not receive government funding. I am actually rather proud of that. The board of the Ensemble have insisted that we stand on our own two feet. That’s why we created the Patrons’ Program,” says Omega’s Chairman,  Robert Titterton.

“Through the generosity of you, our Patrons, we bridge the gulf between our expenses and our box office earnings. They are values we like to emulate at the Omega Ensemble. Innovation in our Digital Concert Hall. Quality in achieving the very highest standard of musical performances. And we certainly persevere. This is our 11th year. Private philanthropy in Australia is growing, and by supporting Omega Ensemble, you are all playing your part in contributing to the cultural life of Sydney,” Robert explains.

“As we are all aware, Arts funding opportunities are becoming increasingly few and far between. Omega Ensemble pride itself on being able to plan and execute our programs through our own funding sources, at the moment it is roughly 50% from ticket sales and 50% from our Sponsorships and Patrons Program. In order to shape our future and plans for 2017 and beyond we are aiming to raise sufficient funds to be able to continue to grow and develop the Ensemble. Private philanthropy in Australia is growing, and by supporting Omega Ensemble, you are all playing your part in contributing to the cultural life of Sydney,” says David Rowden.

“If you want to hear more chamber music in Sydney; if you want your children or grandchildren to have access to that music; or if you simply want to feel good about supporting the arts , then give, and give generously,” asks Robert Titteron. So, if you have any spare cash and have been considering donating to the arts then Omega Ensemble is the chamber group to donate to. Each year they present a variety of concerts that feature gems of the chamber repertoire, unheard of works that have been buried, and new, exciting and engaging Australian commissions that demonstrate the wealth of local talent we have here.

By donating to Omega you are helping keep the tradition of great chamber music of the past going today, as well as securing the future of chamber music, right here in the present.

Especially for you …

Omega Ensemble concert is a friendly and intimate affair and audiences have always been delighted at how ‘at home’ they feel at Omega’s concerts. Now Omega is delighted to give you the opportunity to have them in your house for a private concert for you and your friends.

In order for high quality music to be presented to audiences around the world a number of factors need to happen.  Of all of these factors, the patrons are the most important as without their support and commitment to the arts.