Michelle Forbes - General Manager

After training as an oboist in Adelaide and Sydney, Michelle was lured (pushed by serendipity) toward arts administration. She began by expanding her teaching roles into administrative responsibilities before managing all five large ensembles at Sydney Conservatorium, Michelle found that her love of stationery and ability to utilise excel formulae assisted her greatly in her first year away from the instrument and ignited her enthusiasm for the “other” side of the music industry.

After moving to Melbourne, Michelle worked predominantly in music, holding roles as Artist Liaison for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Operations Manager of Melbourne's iconic Matt Irwin Photography and as Manager of  Artistic Planning and Education at Melbourne Youth Music. Both parents being educators, Michelle is naturally drawn to nurturing others and supporting the development of tomorrow's musicians and leaders.

Feeding her thirst for knowledge, Michelle has completed a Mini MBA course, is undertaking a Diploma of Psychology and attempts to recall a limited, but expanding vocabulary across French, German and Italian.

Michelle is delighted to be leading TYO into the next 50 years of history and, in her downtime, still enjoys keeping her oboe from getting dusty.

Lauren Foreman - Program Coordinator

After completing a Bachelor of Arts, Arts Management at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Lauren project managed a children’s travelling scientific robotic Dinosaur exhibition (Dinosaurs Alive!), a multi-day Polish Arts Festival (PolArt 2012) and managed the front of house operations at a seven-theatre university complex in Perth, Western Australia.

On the side, Lauren has independently produced and publicised various large and small-scale events including theatre productions with Western Australian independent theatre companies Happy Dagger Theatre Company (The Cockatoos), Deus Ex Machina (Cry Havoc) and monthly storytelling event Barefaced Stories.

After a short holiday to the Apple Isle in 2015, Lauren was drawn to the natural beauty, small community and extraordinary arts scene in Tasmania and moved to Hobart in 2016. She has been grateful to have worked with Village Cinemas and the MONA ferry before starting her role as Program Coordinator with the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra in 2017.

Lauren is thrilled to be a part of the next stage of the TYO’s organisational growth and is excited about contributing to an exceptional program and mission. Although she did play the euphonium in school, Lauren is very happy to leave the instruments to the skilled players and be available to them behind the scenes instead!  

Meriel Owen - Program Development Manager

Meriel Owen enjoys a versatile musical life and is in demand as a pianist and harpist. A student of the renowned composer and pianist, Larry Sitsky, Meriel graduated from the Canberra School of Music in 1990. 

She resided in the United States from 1995-2006 and during this time was occupied with a variety of activities including attendance at the Aspen Music Festival and School as a student in the collaborative program in 1998, completing a Master of Arts in Theology in 1999, and playing countless weddings and liturgical events. Meriel graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002 with a Master of Music in collaborative piano studying with Rita Sloan. Subsequent recital opportunities have taken her to Washington DC, Houston, Chicago, Italy and Australia. Meriel was the 2013 recipient of the Stuart and Norma Leslie Churchill Fellowship for travel to Austria and Germany to undertake further study of harp techniques and repertoire in ensemble. 

Now based in Canberra, she is often seen playing with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Further afield Meriel regularly engages in casual work as a harpist with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In her spare time she stumbles through domestic chores with her two children and high-maintenance cats, and is a dedicated student of dressage at Gooromon Park Horse Riding Centre.

Got any thoughts? Helpful contacts, existing programs, things you’d like to see in the North and North West of Tasmania? Contact Meriel at meriel@tyo.org.au to let her know!

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