Canberra Mandolin Orchestra
The Place for Plucked Strings in the National Capital
 Canberra Mandolin Orchestra - Home

Canberra Mandolin Orchestra Home Page


Home of the finest (and fun-est) plucked orchestral music in the National Capital !


Photo by Michael Szabo


Formed in 2003, the CMO brings together players of mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar and bass. It keeps alive the rich tradition of the mandolin groups that emerged in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. The CMO's repertoire includes original Australian compositions, ritzy tunes from the dawn of the jazz age, light classics, film themes, world folk music and popular tunes. The orchestra meets every Monday evening at the Hellenic Club in Moore St, Civic. New players are always welcome and we provide tuition at the same venue from 6 pm each Monday (see below). We can also provide instrument loans for beginners.



The last FAME Festival was held in the national capital, Canberra, in January 2019 and was a huge success. For more information on the next festival to be held in Adelaide in January 2020 visit


The main activity of FAME Festivals is a week of intensive rehearsing in preparation for the performance of a concert for the public on the Saturday evening before the Festival concludes. Interspersed with rehearsals of the Festival Orchestra are social events and outings, in-house concerts in which the various orchestras or small ad hoc ensembles or individuals perform for the other Festival participants. Jam sessions are known to happen at sporadic intervals



  • Improving your skills on the mandolin, mandola, mandocello, bass or guitar?
  • Playing a wide range of musical styles from folk, ethnic and classical music through to ragtime?
  • Playing and practising with a group of like-minded musicians who enjoy playing together?
  • Performing in concerts at a variety of musical venues?

The Canberra Mandolin Orchestra is keen to encourage new musicians to join its ranks. Why not come along and be part of an enthusiastic, well known and popular group of musicians?


We conduct beginner sessions for prospective and new members at 6.00pm every Monday night at the Hellenic Club in Civic. You'll get expert guidance on playing skills, repertoire, sight reading and more. For more information Ian Bull on 02 6231 5974.


The CMO rehearses at the Hellenic Club in Civic each Monday starting at 7.30pm.



Mandolins pluck the music of 'After the War' millions

The music brought to Australia by more than four million immigrants between 1945 and 1985 will be showcased at an afternoon concert by the Canberra Mandolin Orchestra at the Albert Hall on Saturday, September 28.

Starting at 2 pm, the massed mandolins, mandolas, mandocello, guitars and bass will play folk, popular and light classical music from Britain, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Germany, Russia, Spain, South America and beyond.

Orchestra leader Ian Bull said the concert, dubbed "After the War" was virtually a practice run for an album the orchestra is planning to record early next year.

"We have been very lucky to be awarded a grant from the Capital Arts Patrons Organisation (CAPO) to produce the album featuring the wonderful range of music that washed onto Australia's shores after the Second World War and especially the music of the communities who settled in the Canberra region," he said.

"The concert is also a joint initiative with the Monaro Folk Society (MFS) who will be holding their annual Colonial Ball in the Albert Hall from 7.30 pm on the same day."

Mr Bull said the concert would feature songs, dances and instrumentals that spread from immigrant communities around Australia, such as the multinational workforce of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

The Canberra Mandolin Orchestra was formed in 2003 and brings together players of mandolin, mandola, mandocello, guitar and double bass. It works like a string orchestra except that mandolin family instruments are plucked and not bowed.

The mandolin originated in Italy and was mentioned in Australian playbills as early as the mid 1800s. A "banjo, mandolin and guitar festival" was held in Sydney on 27 August 1896. The first official orchestra was established in Sydney in 1932 and there are now mandolin ensembles in nearly all Australian capital cities.

Tickets for the Canberra Mandolin Orchestra afternoon concert are $20 and $15, available at the door or online at (fees apply) or call 0417 691 404.

We're also on Facebook ! MFS members and anyone who has bought a ticket to the Colonial Ball are offered tickets at the discounted price of $15. Tickets for the Colonial Ball are available on-line at until 28 August.






Next Performances

Saturday, 28th September 2019, 2pm. Join us for an afternoon concert at Albert Hall reflecting the wonderful music of the more than four million immigrants who made Australia home between 1945 and 1985. More details here.


Friday, 18th October 2019, afternoon concert at Goulburn Conservatorium. More information to come.


Saturday 26th October 2019, Monaro Folk Society end of month dance. More information to come.


Every Monday, 7.30pm, Hellenic Club, Moore St, Civic.


Beginner sessions start at 6 pm. New players welcome at any level. Call 6231 5974