98. Bourby Webster – Perth Symphony Orchestra

Australia’s number 1 startup podcast talks with former Western Australian of the Year, Bourby Webster, founder of the Perth Symphony Orchestra, who recently stepped away from the CEO role, after 13 years.

Growing up in the English countryside, she was exposed to orchestral music from a young age, played viola, and went to Oxford University, where she also got into rowing as a coxswain. Moving to Perth, she did an MBA, worked for an engineering firm, and wondered why there was only one symphony orchestra whereas in Manchester, England – with less than a third of Perth’s population – there are four.

Setting up an orchestra – with its insanely hard business model – was tough. She received no government funding for ten years, and had to sell out every concert just to survive. ‘The orchestra that breaks the rules’ plays everything from Nirvana to INXS to Mozart to Chopin, and is intent on ‘taking music to the people’.

“My way of growing the orchestra was to go and speak to as many mayors and CEOs of local governments, and I identified a market of 139 shires in WA, all of whom could use music as a way to connect their community.” ~ Bourby Webster

For more: https://perthsymphony.com and https://www.bourbywebster.com


Startup West acknowledges the Whadjuk Nyoongar people, traditional owners of the lands and waters of Perth, where this podcast was recorded, and pays respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Startup West is recorded at Riff studios in beautiful downtown Perth, Western Australia; produced by Startup News, edited by Carmen Yee Kai Wen and brought to you thanks to support from Spacecubed, Curtin University, RSM, the City of Perth and Tekkon.