News Updates

Dr Sarmast's Music School

Dr Sarmast'sMusic School is now available on iView.  If you missed it, do yourself a favour and stream it now:

A message from Dick Letts, Executive Director of the Music Council of Australia and Past President of the International Music Council:

Let me alert you to the most moving and inspiring of documentaries, showing over the next two weeks on ABC TV. This is about the establishment of a music school in Kabul by Dr Ahmed Sarmast, who was based in Monash University and whose family is still at Monash.

Arts Policy on Q and A

10 July 2012

On last night’s Q and A on ABC1 we saw a rare discussion (rare for a major nationally televised program) about arts policy. While Labor is yet to release the National Cultural Policy which has been several years in the making, Malcolm Turnbull stated that the Coalition is working on its own Coalition Policy which is also yet to be seen. We also heard some views about the role of government in supporting the arts, whether there is a left-right political divide in support for the arts (all seemed to agree that there isn't) and about the value of art in our society.

Here are a few excerpts from the discussion, focusing on the sections about Arts Policy. Of course, to do the discussion justice it is better to watch the full episode.

National Arts & Health Policy Forum

In June 2012 a group of around 40 delegates from the arts & health sectors attended an important forum in Canberra to discuss the proposed National Arts & Health Policy. 

Opera Australia and Regional Cons Give Students A New Opportunity

Wanted: Dead keen instrumental students who’d like to work with one of Australia’s leading orchestras and play in the pit of the Sydney Opera House.

That was the irresistible invitation sent to students from Regional Conservatoriums across NSW recently, as part of a new collaborative project between the Regional Cons and Opera Australia.

Students will participate in:

  • Video-linked masterclasses with musicians from the AOBO
  • A 3-day Sydney immersion experience in September 2012 with sessions at the Sydney Opera House and Opera Australia’s Opera Centre in Surry Hills, Sydney
  • Activities in Sydney include meeting AOBO musicians, ensemble rehearsals; mock auditions; solo performances; rehearsing with an Opera Australia conductor; observing rehearsals for Opera Australia’s current season, and playing in the pit at the Sydney Opera House.

35 students were told this week that they have been accepted to take part in this program, which happens for the first time in 2012. These musicians come from Orange, Clarence Valley (Grafton), Young, Macquarie (Dubbo), Wollongong, Central Coast (Gosford), New England (Armidale), Gunnedah, Upper Hunter (Muswellbrook), and Riverina (Wagga Wagga) Conservatoriums.

Andrew Snell, Wollongong Conservatorium of Music CEO and President of the NSW Association of Regional Conservatoriums, said this week “The Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums is absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Opera Australia and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra for this exciting program. Students from regional NSW rarely have the chance to experience playing in a full-size orchestra, let alone playing in the pit of the Sydney Opera House. To get the opportunity to work with OA singers and conductors and AOBO musicians over a period of months is a fantastic educational opportunity which will benefit these students for years to come”

Opera Australia's other Community & Education initiatives include Polyopera, programs for Primary and Secondary schools, and a new program involving community choirs in Western Sydney.

The NSW Regional Conservatoriums are a network of 17 community-based music education institutions delivering individual tuition, ensembles, community programs, schools programs and presenting concerts, workshops and other events.  A number of them are actively involved with the Music in Communities Network. 

Queens Birthday Honours

The Australian Honours List for the Queen's Birthday 2012 is unusually rich in awards to musicians and supporters of their work.

The Music Council of Australia sends warm congratulations to all awardees and thanks you for your contributions to our musical life. The following list includes the music awardees and a number of others who have been important to the arts in Australia.

Richard Letts, Executive Director, Music Council of Australia