Staff Changes

After nearly 13 years of dedicated service, Astra bids farewell to Manager Gabrielle Baker as she retires to pursue her passion for the visual arts. Astra extends its heartfelt gratitude to Gabrielle for her invaluable contributions.

This season, Astra welcomes composer and artistic director Andrew Byrne as co-musical director. Joining forces with John McCaughey, this duo brings decades of combined experience and a shared vision to Astra’s 2024 season.

Andrew's homecoming to Melbourne marks a full-circle moment. Byrne has a long history with Astra – as a composer, a guest curator for the Rational Melodies (2022) and Patterns of Plants (2023) projects, and even a choir member. He sang in the choir in the 1990s while he was a student at La Trobe University! As the Artistic Director of Symphony Space and Festivals Director at Carnegie Hall, Andrew has programmed multidisciplinary events featuring legendary artists across genres. His programming hasranged across many fields – from Afro-Cuban jazz and Brazilian pop to American maverick experimental tradition and musical cultures of Berlin and Vienna.

His arts programming expertise, honed over two decades in New York, will be a vital asset to Astra.

In addition, Fergus Inder joins Astra as its new Arts Administrator. Fergus brings to Astra multifaceted background spanning theatre, publishing, and arts management. A kiwi raised between Melbourne and the US, he gained skills in grant-writing, marketing, and theatre production working with companies like Blackboard Theatre Collective and High Spot Literary Agency in New Zealand. Currently pursuing a Master's in Arts & Cultural Management at the University of Melbourne, Fergus is looking forward to playing a central role in Astra’s future. 

Fergus acknowledges he has big shoes to fill stepping in for Gabrielle, but says of his and Andrew’s arrival that “the hope is to remain true to the values and loyal audience that have sustained Astra over its impressive history while evolving in response to Melbourne’s rapidly changing music culture.”

Astra's recently announced ambitious 2024 season - programmed by John McCaughey and Andrew Byrne - can be found here.