Antony Jeffrey qualified as a chartered accountant and worked with Price Waterhouse in Australia and the UK before commencing a career in the arts. In 1975, he was engaged as the first Music Board Director at the Australia Council, the federal funding agency for the arts. In 1978 he became Commercial Manager of The Australian Opera, where over five years he established and developed Australia’s most successful arts sponsorship program.
Between 1984 and 1989 he was the first CEO of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and in 2000, he was asked by the Board of the ACO to guide the company through a period of management and financial difficulties. For five years he played a major role in turning the company around to its current artistic and financial success. Subsequently, from 2006 to 2009, he was General Manager of the Song Company.
In addition to his management roles, for over 25 years he worked as an independent consultant with his own consultancy ABG Australia Pty Ltd in arts executive search, mentoring, strategic planning and short term management, and his many clients included the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Sydney Film Festival, Stalker Theatre Company, the Sydney Youth Orchestra, Australian Ballet and Melbourne Theatre Company.
Over five years in the 1990s, in association with Price Waterhouse he developed and directed two major cultural and trade promotions for the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, first in Indonesia and two years later in India, each comprising multiple events and programs. His work in this area continued for several years with the NSW government’s Australian Technology Showcase, a program to support innovative technologies.
Throughout his career as an arts manager and consultant, a dominating feature has been his work to link business and the arts. Significant arts/business assignments included:
- Management of the Mobil Business in the Arts Awards for many years
- Publication of a seminal handbook about arts sponsorship 101 Good Ideas for assisting the Arts
- A major study and subsequent publication The Enterprise Program into business/arts advocacy and incentive programs, which led to the establishment of Australian Business Support of the Arts (ABSA)
Over the last 20 years, Antony has recorded over 100 interviews with leading artists and arts managers, including a major oral history project for the first 50 years of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and the SBW Foundation. He has chaired or been a board member of many arts organisations including Sydney College of the Arts, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Stalker Theatre Company, Sydney Philharmonia and Bach Akademie Australia.
In recent years his primary focus has been planning and leading many tours of opera and music lovers to the great musical centres of Europe and the US.