At the heart of our support for the arts is our view that the arts are a fundamental element to what makes a dynamic society where creative thinking is embraced and entrepreneurial spirit can flourish.
In 2017 Wesfarmers celebrated 20 years in partnership with West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). New research from RMIT Melbourne has shown our relationship to be the longest-standing continuing partnership between a business and an orchestra in the world.
While Wesfarmers’ financial support for WASO began officially in 1997, the connection between Wesfarmers and WASO goes back to the early 1930s when WASO concerts were first broadcast to Perth and regional audiences across Western Australia on the fledgling Wesfarmers cooperative radio station 6WF.
Almost 90 years on, our partnership today enables WASO to regularly bring world-class artists to Perth, commission new orchestral work from emerging and established Australian composers - and operate an extensive education and community engagement program in socially and economically disadvantaged communities across the state.
As Principal Partner of WASO since 2012, we have also been able to support the WASO to tour internationally for the first time to China in 2016 – and secure the appointment of the eminent world conductor Asher Fisch as the orchestra’s Principal Conductor.
In 2014, our long-standing relationship made it a natural choice to celebrate Wesfarmers centenary by bringing WASO together with West Australian Opera to perform in Northam in a free concert for the community of the Western Australian Wheatbelt, where the Wesfarmers story began.
The partnership has been fully embraced Wesfarmers’ employees and their families who enjoy regular opportunities to attend WASO concerts, children’s music education programs and ‘meet-the-musician’ events. These opportunities bring into the work environment an exposure to art and ideas that’s part of the life of our company.
WASO is deservedly Western Australia’s best-loved cultural institution and makes an exceptional contribution to the life of the community. We look forward to another 20 years in partnership together.