Dame Catherine Tizard

Michael McLellan

Margaret Leman
Alastair Clement

Executive Committee

Antun Poljanich | Music Director (1999-current)

Born in Croatia, Antun studied piano in Dubrovnik,Ljubljana, Austria.  Winning a scholarship to attend a three-year Master Course in Conducting at Leningrad's Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory provided Antun with the opportunity to subsequently work with the Leningrad State Symphony Orchestra, the Veneto Philharmonia, the Slovene and Croatian National Orchestras and other prominent orchestras in Russia and Europe.


Alexander Cowdell | Chairman

After a career as a longstanding first violinist with the English National Opera (ENO) Orchestra and a freelancer for a time with the London Symphony Orchestra, Alex returned to New Zealand in 2005.  Alex began composing seriously in the 1970s  and his compositions have been performed and broadcast in Britain, Holland, Australia and New Zealand.

Anne-Marie Forsyth | Secretary

Mary Lin | Manager

Helen Lewis | Treasurer

Mark Bingham, Ben Lin, Gemma Nash | Player Representatives


Many AYO alumni can be found in leading orchestras and ensembles around the world, teaching in conservatories, or performing as soloists and conductors.

The co-operative structure of the orchestra provides members with organisational and team building skills, engendering dedication, confidence and self-esteem within a positive peer environment. In today's world, this healthy social experience equips our players with skills and a sense of achievement that will support them in whichever career path they choose. Indeed, many of our alumni are also found in business, politics, and other professions.

To register as a member of AYO Alumni click here. 


Current Players

Our players are young people who have already developed a high level of proficiency on their instrument and who want to gain orchestral playing skills.  The social element  is an added bonus and many players develop lifelong friendships through their involvement in AYO.

Membership of AYO confers some special privileges that are open exclusively to AYO members:
 - entry to the annual AYO Soloist Competition; and
 - application for Scholarships.