The competition is incredibly fierce to make the cut for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and once you do get in it’s no cakewalk from there. There’s the rigorous practice, the intense rehearsal schedule, and the pressure is always on. We catch musicians Michelle Ruffolo and Saul Lewis for five minutes to find out how they unwind.

Michelle Ruffolo
First Violin, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

What does the MSO mean to Melbourne?
I often meet people who ask me what I do, and when they find out, they’re automatically thrilled. It’s wonderful to be an ambassador for that, I always wanted to come back home and play here.

What do you look forward to in spring?
It’s great playing shows at the Town Hall and seeing the people change as they walk past – they open up. I love having a coffee at Brunetti and just taking it all in.

Where do you love to eat?
We do a pilgrimage to Jacques Reymond to celebrate our anniversary every year. Otherwise French fare like Bistro Thierry, and I love the boeuf bourguignon at Bistro Guillaume.

What are some upcoming highlights in the MSO schedule?
I’ve already got tickets for Return of the King for my parents! Also, any Mahler is fun to play for a violinist, and it’s impossible to go past Fantasia in October.

Saul Lewis
Principal Third Horn, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

What does the MSO mean to Melbourne?
I always remember it having a great reputation. I remember coming to a concert here 10 years ago and thinking it was fabulous. I didn’t even dream of being here, I thought it was so out of my league.

How do you unwind away from work?
I love physical activity. I’m a keen golfer, I love running around the Tan, I commute on the bike, anything like that. After work, Sake is a regular haunt of ours, but there are new places to find all the time.

Where do you love to eat?
There are great places to eat and drink around Greville Street. Morris Jones is a favourite, as is FOG, St Edmonds, Palate – it depends on the mood.

What are some upcoming highlights in the MSO schedule?
Dvorak’s New World is going to be fantastic.

mso.com.au