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About Us

Melbourne String Ensemble is a dynamic youth string orchestra that offers exciting performance opportunities. The Melbourne String Ensemble was founded in 1985 and has a proud history of promoting excellence in music performance. Students perform high quality and challenging repertoire and develop individually as musicians while learning sophisticated ensemble skills in a variety of ensemble settings. Recent major works performed have included Schoenberg’s Transfigured night and Carl Vine’s Smith’s Alchemy.

One of the highlights of the Melbourne String Ensemble experience is its relatively small size. Students not only work with our artistic directors, but also have weekly sectional sessions with tutors and one-on-one tuition. The MSE alumni are often invited to tutor, and this tradition contributes to maintaining ongoing connection as our students pursue further study. Students and families are welcomed into our warm,  nurturing community and parents are encouraged to participate in all domains. It is an environment that fosters connection and inclusion. 

Every two to three years, our senior students have the opportunity to take part in an international tour as well as regional touring opportunities from time to time.

An integral part of the Melbourne String Ensemble experience is our masterclass program. In 2018, MSE had masterclasses in Germany with professors Wen-Sinn Yang, Mi-Kyung Lee and Anke Dill, and also in Melbourne with Zoe Knighton, Simon Oswell and Helfried Fister. 

Melbourne String Ensemble believes in developing the whole musician and integrates into the program enrichment sessions, for example classes on improvisation, Alexander technique, meditation, dance, or drama with a focus on the use of the body in performance. We are fortunate to have an active membership and parents with relevant skills regularly contribute. 

Led by renowned pedagogue Fintan Murphy, MSE has a variety of ensembles catering to different ability levels. Entrance is by audition which determines whether students join the JMSE (junior group), IMSE (intermediate) or senior (MSE). Many of our past members have gone on to have careers in ensembles such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Gürzenich and WDR orchestras in Cologne, and virtually every professional orchestra in Australia. The Melbourne String Ensemble is proud of its contribution to the musical community, as it continues to inspire and educate the next generation of string musicians.

Music directors

Since 1985, The Melbourne String Ensemble has been a training ground for future generations of string musicians. It consistently provides excellence in music education. It prides itself on providing the very best musical leadership, with industry professionals who also have extensive education backgrounds.


The Melbourne String Ensemble is run by a committee of management, which is comprised of parents whose children are current members of the orchestra. Consequently, all decision makers are deeply involved and committed to the long term success of the organisation.


MSE Auditions

MSE Auditions now open

Melbourne String Ensemble acknowledges the Wurundjeri, Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, upon whose Country we are based and recognises their continuing connections to community, culture and country.  We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.