Accepting the honour, Mr Besen described the deep personal commitment he and his wife feel toward the Orchestra.
“The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has been part of our lives for as long as we can remember. I proposed to Eva after an ABC Symphony Orchestra concert - as the MSO was then known - and we have been attending concerts together ever since!” he said.
“Eva and I believe that a vibrant and well-supported arts sector is vitally important for the health of our city. We are proud to support the MSO and ensure, through the International Artist Chair, that new generations of music lovers have the opportunity to witness the best international soloists here, with our Orchestra,” said Mr Besen.
Announcing the honour Mr Michael Ullmer, Chair of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, described the Besens as ‘part of the MSO family’.
“Their generous support of our tour of Europe in 2014 and our International Artist Chair has been central to MSO’s growth and international reputation.
“The gift of Life Membership is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to Marc and Eva Besen for their outstanding generosity and their commitment to our city and its Orchestra,” said Mr Ullmer.
Other recipients of Life Memberships of the MSO include Lady Primrose Potter AC and Sir Elton John CBE. Over the years the late Ila Vanrenen, the late John Brockman AOM and the late Honourable Alan Goldberg AO QC have also been honoured.