Mark O'Leary - Biography

Mark O’Leary OAM is one of Australia’s most active choral conductors, widely respected for his work with Young Voices of Melbourne which he founded in 1990 following a Churchill Fellowship study tour of outstanding children’s choirs around the world. With YVM Mark has produced thirteen CD recordings, toured all states and territories of Australia and made eleven international tours to Europe, South Africa, North America, Asia, Samoa and New Zealand. Exaudi youth choir became part of the YVM organization in 2013 and since then Mark has conducted the choir on tours to regional Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, Northern Territory, Scotland and Ireland as well as in concerts in and around Melbourne.

Mark is also Principal Guest Conductor of Gondwana Voices, Australia’s national children’s choir. He has worked regularly with Gondwana Voices since its first season in 1997, attending 17 National Choral Schools, as well as making three CDs and five international tours to China, Taiwan, the USA and Europe.

Mark has special interests in Kodaly teaching techniques, the development of excellence in children’s choirs and Australian choral music. He has presented many workshops on choral music education throughout Australia, and is an Honorary Life Member of the Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia which provides courses, workshops and events for Australian music teachers. Mark publishes Australian choral music for young choirs in the Young Voices of Melbourne Choral Series and his arrangements are performed all around the world. Mark is the creator of the Sight Singing School books and website which users in more than 48 countries, and was awarded an OAM for services to choral music in 2018.

Young Voices of Melbourne was founded by Mark O’Leary OAM in 1990, and is now regarded as one of Australia’s finest choral programs for young singers. Its choirs are admired for their passionate performances, engaging repertoire and outstanding Kodály based music education program (Sight Singing School) which is now used in over 45 countries.

Singers in our organization aged 6 to 30 years rehearse weekly in one of six choirs. As well as Young Voices of Melbourne children’s choir, we operate three training choirs for primary age singers, YVMen for school age boys with changed and changing voices and Exaudi, an ensemble for young adult singers.

Young Voices of Melbourne performs regularly in and around Melbourne, and has released 13 CD recordings. The choir has performed for major events such as the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, as well as at popular events such as the National Folk Festival in Canberra, and Festival of Voices in Hobart. It regularly hosts visiting choirs from overseas and interstate, and its voice was widely heard singing the theme song of Chris Lilley’s popular television shows We Can be Heroes, and Summer Heights High.

The choir has a proud history of touring, having undertaken 38 tours to all states and territories of Australia as well as to Europe, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, the USA, Ireland, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Samoa, New Zealand and Japan. More information is available at