Senza Sord NOVEMBER 2014
Staying fresh Johannes Fritzsch The Twilight Zone Nicolette Fraillon The ecosystem of orchestral life Brett Kelly Sir Andrew Davis: returning hero Fisch a prize WASO catch Asher Fisch Orchestras, People, Culture Marco Zuccarini The importance of connections David Robertson
Senza Sord NOVEMBER 2014
Contents Overture Tania Hardy Smith_____________________________________________________ 2 OH&S Sound Practice – update___________________________________________ 3 Orchestra Victoria teams up with The Australian Ballet Tony Gilham and Stephen Robinson________________________________________ 5 FIM (International Federation of Musicians)___________________ 6 ICSOM Chairman Bruce Ridge___________________________________________ 7 CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Simon Collins_______________________________ 10 FEATURES_______________________________________________________________________________ 12 Staying fresh Johannes Fritzsch__________________________________________ 12 The Twilight Zone Nicolette Fraillon
The ecosystem of orchestral life Brett Kelly
Sir Andrew Davis: returning hero_____________________________________22 Fisch a prize WASO catch Asher Fisch____________________________24 Orchestras, People, Culture Marco Zuccarini
The importance of connections David Robertson_________30 Orchestra reports_________________________________________________________________36 Adelaide Symphony Orchestra______________________________________________36 Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra___________________________________38 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra__________________________________________39 Orchestra Victoria ___________________________________________________________________ 41 Queensland Symphony Orchestra________________________________________43 Sydney Symphony Orchestra ________________________________________________45 Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra__________________________________________ 47 West Australian Symphony Orchestra___________________________________48 Industrial Notes_____________________________________________________________________49 Orchestra Enterprise Agreements_________________________________________49 SOMA Federal Executive July 2014 meeting – agenda_______49 Restructuring the Union – Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) Simon Collins________________________________50 Penultimate bar_____________________________________________________________________ 51 Final Note________________________________________________________________________________52 1
Overture This edition of senza sord gives an insight into the thoughts of seven of the conductors who have worked or are working with several of our orchestras. They provide their individual perspective from the rostrum and beyond – as chief conductor and artistic director, as musician and conductor, as conductors who spend time in Australia as well as on the international stage and those who work hard to take an orchestra into the fold of a ballet company. The Sound Practice study is drawing towards its conclusion so included in this issue is an overview and links to papers published by Bronwen Ackermann and associated researchers. Another great outcome is that Ian O’Brien (QSO, French Horn and audiologist-about-orchestra-town) has submitted his PhD titled Protecting the hearing of professional orchestral musicians: An industry-focused investigation. Consisting of 6 projects over 3 years (all reported on as part of the Sound Practice Project), carried out as part of his research, covered hearing conservation activities and attitudes in Australia’s professional orchestras, the contribution of personal practice to orchestral musicians’ sound exposure, investigations into newly developed earplug and acoustic screen technologies and the assessment of a long-running hearing conservation in place at a professional orchestra. Scholarly articles reporting on the findings of all 6 projects have been published or are in-press for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals, so check them out if you’re interested.
developments surrounding the movement of CITES restricted materials such as ivory, pernambuco and ebony, and what the potential effects and solutions may be down the track as addressing the problem gains momentum. Simon Collins brings us up to date with Australian regulations and requirements for travelling with instruments and bows that may contain these materials and what you should do if you are considering travelling outside the country. As we continue to get information about the international movement towards a practical solution, SOMA will consider how we can lobby our government to adopt a similar approach to what CITES describes as ‘frequent cross-border noncommercial movement of instruments’.
As an affiliate of FIM (International Federation of Musicians), SOMA has been keeping abreast and in contact with our colleagues in the UK and Europe with regard to international
As you will all be aware, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma decided recently to dismiss all its musicians and chorus members. We have sent letters of protest to the relevant minis-
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ters and others from Orchestra Victoria and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, but the situation for many orchestras around the world is becoming increasingly dire. In February at the 3rd International Orchestras Conference in Oslo, delegates in attendance adopted the Oslo Call, a statement developed to address the threat confronting many orchestras and professional musicians. In the words of General Secretary, Benoit Machuel, the environment has deteriorated since then, and the situation is extremely serious. You can support our colleagues in these ways: • visit the FIM International Orchestra Week campaign website http://www.stop-cultural-vandalism.org and download material to
post on your online spaces or include as links in your emails • sign the petition http://www.change. org/p/all-political-decision-makers-say-no-to-the-dismantling-of-symphony-and-opera-orchestras-2 • get your friends, family and other colleagues to sign the petition I hope you enjoy this edition of senza sord. As always, any feedback or suggestions gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania Hardy Smith Orchestra Victoria President, SOMA
Sound Practice – update Bronwen J. Ackermann, Dianna T. Kenny, Ian O’Brien and Tim R. Driscoll, 2014, Sound Practice – improving occupational health and safety for professional orchestral musicians in Australia. In Frontiers in Psychology, Vol.5: 1-11
The most recent paper on the Sound Practice study has just been published in Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 5, and presents an overview of the project as it draws to a close. A summary below gives an indication of the health findings that arose from the cross-sectional study of musicians from 8 orchestras across Australia. The full paper is available online and can be found at http://journal.frontiersin.org/ Journal/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00973/abstract 3
Links to papers associated with the study can be found below if players are interested in exploring research outcomes.
SUMMARY The Sound Practice Project is a 5-year study involving baseline evaluation, development, and implementation of musician-specific work health and safety initiatives. A cross-sectional population physical and psychological survey and physical assessment were conducted at the same time, with an auditory health assessment conducted later. The results were used to guide the development of a series of targeted interventions, encompassing physical, psychological, and auditory health components. This paper provides an overview of the project but focuses on the health findings arising from the BACK TO CONTENTS
cross-sectional survey. Three hundred and seventy-seven musicians from the eight profes -sional symphony orchestras in Australia took part in the cross-sectional study (about 70% of eligible musicians). Eighty-four percent (84%) of musicians reported past performancerelated musculoskeletal disorder (PRMD) episodes; 50% were suffering a current PRMD. Of the 63% who returned hearing surveys, 43% believed they had hearing loss, and 64% used earplugs at least intermittently. Noise exposure was found to be high in private practice, although awareness of risk and earplug use in this environment was lower than in orchestral settings. Improved strategic approaches, acoustic screens and recently developed active earplugs were found to provide effective new options for hearing protection. With respect to psychosocial screening, female musicians reported significantly more trait anxiety, music performance anxiety, social anxiety, and other forms of anxiety and depression than male musicians. The youngest musicians were significantly more anxious compared with the oldest musicians. Thirty-three percent (33%) of
musicians may meet criteria for a diagnosis of social phobia; 32% returned a positive depression screen and 22% for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PRMDs and trigger point discomfort levels were strongly associated with increasing severity of psychological issues such as depression and music performance anxiety.
OTHER REFERENCES Ackermann,B., Driscoll,T. and Kenny,D.T., 2012, Musculoskeletal pain and injury in professional orchestral musicians in Australia. In Medical Problems of Performing Artists 27: 183–189. Rickert,D.L.L., Barrett, M.S., and Ackermann, B.J., 2014, Injury and the Orchestral Environment: Part III. The Role of Psychosocial Factors in the Experience of Musicians Undertaking Rehabilitation. In Medical Problems of Performing Artists, Volume 29 Number 3: 125. O’Brien,I., Driscoll,T. and Ackermann, B., 2012, Hearing conservation and noise management practices in professional orchestras. In Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 9: 602–608. O’Brien,I., Driscoll,T., Williams,W. and Ackermann,B., 2014, A clinical trial of active hearing protection for orchestral musicians. In Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 11: 450–459. O’Brien, I., Ackermann, B.J., and Driscoll, T., 2014, Hearing and hearing conservation practices among Australia’s professional orchestral musicians. In Noise and Health, Volume 16, Issue 70: 189-195.
QSO and Piers Lane, Busoni Piano Concerto
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Orchestra Victoria teams up with The Australian Ballet Orchestra Victoria (OV) has seen its ups and downs for a number of years but the future now appears bright. As of July 1st, 2014, OV is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Australian Ballet Company (TAB). Orchestra Victoria will retain its name, and continue as a separate company with its own Board, and dedicated management supported by TAB’s HR, finance and sponsorship / fund raising teams. Importantly, OV’s funding has been increased and continues to be tied to the orchestra and not subsumed in the TAB’s funding. Nicolette Fraillon, as TAB Music Director will be the key TAB Executive responsible for OV. This is a big change for OV, and secures OV for the foreseeable future. As one of Australia’s most successful arts companies TAB will use its significant resources to secure additional sponsorship and performance opportunities for the orchestra. This change of ownership took more than a year to complete. After an inconclusive Review by the funding bodies, premised on no additional funding for the orchestra, it was made clear to the board, management and the musicians of OV, that the government funding bodies would no longer support OV continuing as an independent company. In turn the OV Board was also clear that it would not continue beyond 2014 because of the significant risk of insolvency. Into this mix were also added the dark scenarios of a significant downsizing of the orchestra and /or reduced weeks of employment for the musicians. 5
While this Review scenario was being played out there had been continuing informal discussions in the background between the OV musician reps and TAB management on the possibility of TAB taking management control of the orchestra. From the outset TAB and the musicians were agreed that the size of the orchestra should not be reduced if it was to achieve and maintain the artistic standards required by the ballet and the two opera companies. While in practice OV was running at around 59 full time players, if not less, it was agreed by players and TAB that the minimum size should be at least 62 full time players. The TAB would not however make any commitment until there was certainty of additional funding from governments and a revised EA. With those conditions satisfied and a musicians vote in favour, ownership of Orchestra Victoria was transferred to TAB on 1 July, 2014. There is obviously a great deal of detail in organising something of this nature and was only possible because of the dedication and enormous commitment of time by the musicians on our Committees and the continuing support of the orchestra. Thanks also to Howard Manley for his invaluable help with the many negotiations that has led to this new chapter for OV. So onwards and upwards for Orchestra Victoria. Tony Gilham and Stephen Robinson BACK TO CONTENTS
FIM (International Federation of Musicians) 3rd International Conference Oslo, Norway, 24–26 February 2014
Hosted by Norwegian union MFO, the 3rd International Conference addressed three main themes: • Modern orchestra management • Health and welfare • The role of trade unions SOMA was represented by delegates Howard Manley (panel participant), Simon Collins, Cameron Brook and Tania Hardy Smith (session moderator). As usual, the gathering of orchestral musicians from all over the world reaffirmed how important it is to maintain and nurture our connections with others who work in our profession. This year, the joint statement from all delegates at the conference addressed our concerns at the difficulties faced by many of our colleagues.
as other sectors of the economy. But destroying orchestras does not just impact musicians’ jobs. It also impedes, in territories where these orchestras pursue and develop their activities, the citizens’ ability to access great works and repertoire that cannot be provided by the commercial sector. Support for symphony and opera music, which are a precious and fragile part of our cultural heritage, is a prime responsibility of national, regional and local governments. The FIM International Orchestra Conference calls on political decision makers to honour this responsibility, by providing orchestras with the means that are necessary to pursue their missions and thus contribute to, and enhance artistic, social and economic life.”
THE OSLO CALL “Representatives from musicians’ unions in more than 30 countries, meeting in Oslo on February 26, 2014, express their deepest concern about the situation of symphony and opera orchestras around the world. In Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, the United States, a number of orchestras have been closed down, sometimes overnight. In many other countries, they are being threatened with reductions in funding and budgetary cuts. In the context of the global recession, it is self-evident that orchestras suffer as well 6
Howard Manley chats to Liz Johnston, AFM-OCSM, Canada. Mayoral Reception, City Hall, Oslo
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ICSOM Chairman, Bruce Ridge’s Remarks to 3rd FIM International Conference in Oslo, Norway, 24 February 2014 Fourteen days ago, President Obama nominated a new chairperson for the National Endowment for the Arts. The musicians of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM), welcome the nomination of Jane Chu, as we lobbied vigorously for the President to take this action. The President waited 13 regrettable months though before he even made a nomination. The position stood vacant for all of that time; even as some members of Congress called for massive cuts in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in an attempt to weaken the agency. The NEA was established in 1965 and is dedicated to bringing the arts to all Americans. But since its founding, the NEA has been a constant target for political attacks. There is a misperception that the U.S. Government spends a great deal on arts funding, but the reality is that only 0.066% of the Federal budget is invested in the arts. And for that feeble investment, there is a considerable return. Each dollar the government invests in the arts returns over $7 dollars to the community. American orchestras are non-profit, tax exempt organizations. In 1966, just a year after the creation of the NEA, another organization, the National Football League (NFL), was also granted non-profit status by the U.S. Government. American Football is very popular, and the NFL generates almost $10 billion in annual revenue and pays its commissioner a yearly salary over $44 million. A 30-second advertisement during this year’s Super Bowl cost $4 million. But as a non-profit organization, the NFL pays no taxes. This is not meant as an attack on the NFL. Like many Americans, I was raised 7
in an environment where football was part of every Sunday afternoon, but the incongruity between a non-profit that earns almost $10 billion a year and an arts organization that struggles to survive must be noted as simply absurd and indicative of how government undervalues the arts. Politicians in our country bemoan the descending ranking of our education system, yet multiple studies reveal the value of the arts in enhancing our children’s future. Despite evidence indicating the need to invest in the arts, our federal and local governments continue to cut the arts in schools. But let’s continue the comparison of non-profits by looking at the budgets for our ICSOM orchestras. The $44 million annual salary of the football commissioner alone surpasses the annual individual budgets of 40 ICSOM member orchestras. In fact, just two minutes of commercial airtime during the Super Bowl broadcast surpasses the budgets of 12 of our ICSOM orchestras. In America, orchestras have faced a time of difficulty as we emerge from the recession. The troubles have been widely reported, and even more widely misreported. There have been some terrible situations, with an unprecedented lockout in Minnesota, and the bankruptcy of the New York City Opera among others. But the true story to be told is how resilient our orchestras have been, with many orchestras achieving record fundraising and increased attendance. This is true in Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, Buffalo and many other cities. Unfortunately, the media loves a negative story and the many successes have been drowned out by the relatively few failures. This false negativity hurts us all, and damages our ability to change the minds of politicians who are too eager to accept stereotypical BACK TO CONTENTS
statements such as â€œclassical music is dead.â€? Some journalists have been writing that same story for over 60 years. The good news I bring you today is that the bad news that permeates so many discussions of the future is largely false. Unfortunately, though, those false messages can be self-fulfilling and too easily believed by political leaders. We must not be dissuaded by these negative self-promoting voices. We have a message of hope for the world and we must find ways to be heard. This will require political astuteness and unity among all musicians. We must harvest the power of social networking to advocate any cause that musicians in any country might face. We must recognize that our true opponent is frustration; and our true enemy is apathy. Those who spread negative messages claim that our audiences are aging beyond retrieval, but The Cleveland Orchestra has doubled the number of students attending its concerts, and I continue to see an infusion of youth in concert halls all over the world. To claim that aging audiences create an insurmountable problem, one must ignore that, in 1940, life expectancy was 62 years. Today it is 79 years. If we accept that people generally tend to turn towards attending symphonic concerts after they have reached a point of greater leisure in their lives, then the fact that we have our target audience for an additional 17 years of life is not a problem, it is an opportunity. A positive note from the recent NFL Super Bowl was the pre-game performance of Renee Fleming. Ms. Fleming was the first opera singer to be selected for this event, and millions of people were exposed to her luminous voice, many for the first time. Musicians should launch a campaign to encourage major sporting events in all countries to feature more opera singers, and more classical instrumentalists. We might 8
not succeed everywhere, but the campaign would garner much needed positive attention. Governments will be influenced only by the activism of the people they govern, so we must together raise our voices in a media savvy manner, and advocate as aggressively for our orchestras, our music schools, and our art form as those with billions at their disposal will advocate maintaining the non-profit status of the NFL. In a world that occasionally slumps with the weight of its burdens, we have a universally inspiring message. Wherever a negative image of the arts is produced, by politicians, journalists, or anyone, musicians across the world must be prepared to respond with our positive message of hope. In times of negativity, we will not be dissuaded from what we hold true. We must rage against the dying of the light. We must be our own advocates, strengthened with the knowledge that the best of humanity is on our side. Bruce Ridge Chairman, ICSOM
Bruce Ridge and Tania Hardy Smith â€“ FIM conference, City Hall, Oslo
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History and current situation within Rome Opera Theatre Following a two and a half hour long meeting, the Board of Directors of the Rome Opera House, chaired by the City Mayor, decided on 2 October 2014 to dismiss the institution’s 182 orchestra musicians and choir members, at the same time laying the blame on union representatives, guilty in their eyes of not having subscribed to the management’s and city’s cost-cutting plan. Although the plan had actually been accepted by the majority of staff, management justifies its decision by the fact that a certain number of musicians opposed it, insinuating in addition – without the slightest proof – that the hasty departure of conductor Ricardo Muti was apparently attributable to the musicians who had dared come out on strike to denounce the deterioration in their working conditions. The decision taken by the Opera House and the Rome City Hall with the support of the Minister of Culture, consists in shedding all artistic jobs and subcontracting them to a cooperative which the artists would be encouraged to create. According to Italian trade unions, this model is thought to interest seven other opera houses in the country. Outsourcing musicians’ jobs would not only have the virtue of relieving the administration of all social constraints linked to their employment contracts, but also place these musicians in competition with other orchestras, permanent or not, made up of salaried or self-employed musicians, from Italy or other parts of the world. When we know that the average salary of musicians from certain eastern European Union orchestras scarcely reaches €200 a month, what a prospect of savings on the back of musicians! The International Federation of Musicians and its sister federations (International Federation 9
of Actors and UNI MEI) represent the professional interests of workers in the performing arts at a global level. The three federations oppose this measure in the strongest terms. Beyond human dramas that such a change would inevitably entail, what is at stake is simply the sustainability of a musical institution of international renown. Opera and symphony music constitute a common artistic heritage that is both precious and fragile, which several generations of artists have contributed to build up and which we must be able to hand down to our children. Transforming great opera houses into backwater theatres whose only vocation would be to host fleeting ensembles at cut-price rates would constitute a serious cultural regression. We cannot accept that the Rome Opera House becomes the prototype of a consumerist vision of the performing arts nor take the risk of seeing this pernicious concept spread throughout Europe and beyond. On 13 October FIM, FIA and UNI-MEI published an open letter, to be diffused as widely as possible. For their part, musicians of the Rome Opera House have opened an online petition which, on 14 October had already collected 19,000 signatures. Finally, from 17 to 23 November 2014, FIM is organising an International Orchestra Week during which various awareness-raising actions will be taking place alongside concerts and performances. To say no to cultural vandalism, let’s support these initiatives! Benoit Machuel General Secretary, FIM Postscript: The latest heartening news from Loris Grossi in the Rome Opera Orchestra is that the Superintendent will be asking the Board to withdraw the decision to layoff 182 musicians. They have decided to abandon their goal of outsourcing the orchestra and chorus and instead resume negotiations to find a solution to the economic problems that they are facing. Loris has credited in large part the pressure applied by FIM-affiliated player bodies around the world with helping to achieve this outcome.
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CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. In the last weeks before our recent tour to Europe, MSO musicians were faced with a sudden flurry over ivory, when the cargo agent required documentation for CITES. This was our first experience in Australia of the potential impact this convention can have on travelling musicians. We have all heard some scary stories from the US and even in Europe. CITES is an international agreement with the aim that the international trade in products made from certain animal and plant species does not threaten their extinction. The convention came into force in 1975 and now endeavours to protect more than 30,000 species. Species are specified in three categories: • Appendix I Species threatened with extinction, all commercial trade forbidden • Appendix II Species at risk without trade controls • Appendix III Species for which a country has requested international cooperation to ensure the control of trade. The convention facilitates cooperation using an agreed system of permits and certificates. In particular, the convention proposes an instrument passport which once issued by a participating country would suffice to identify and certify instruments for travelling musicians. Australia is a signatory but has determined that it will not implement this system. Musicians are therefore required to apply for the relevant import and export permits. There are of course import and export regulations 10
for all countries party to the convention as well. This represents a great deal of paperwork – which needs to be repeated on each occasion of travel! Further information and the necessary forms for the Australian exit and re-entry can be sourced from the Wildlife Trade Regulation Service, Department of the Environment. It would seem to date that most countries have done little to implement border restrictions. Problems in the US have arisen partly over the question of trade itself. The US has interpreted the sale of an item made prior to the convention and containing CITES species as a trade... and hence illegal. This is not at all consistent with the intention of CITES which is to restrict or eliminate further harvesting.
CITES is an international agreement with the aim that the international trade in products made from certain animal and plant species does not threaten their extinction. Current entry requirements into the US prohibit the entry of items unless you have evidence of ownership prior to February 25th 2014. Until a recent amendment this date was 1976! Tortoiseshell and ivory are listed as Appendix I, ebony and pernambuco are both listed in Appendix II. So virtually all violin family bows come under scrutiny along with older bassoons for ivory content. BACK TO CONTENTS
While we are yet to see action at Australian airports, it is probably only a matter of time. There is an increasing risk when we come through “Nothing to Declare”. With respect to ivory, it is important to understand that even an experienced luthier can not determine the difference between ivory and mammoth bone by inspection. Border inspectors at airports can not tell the difference between ivory and plastic! Proper documentation of your instruments is now essential. Musicians need to keep evidence of the purchase of their instruments in order to prove that they own the item, and in the case of the US when they acquired the item. Items which contain CITES species need to have an expert certificate identifying the listed parts – and certifying that the item was made prior to the species CITES listing. Common species and their listing dates are: • Ivory CITES Appendix I 26/02/1976 • Tortoiseshell CITES Appendix I 06/06/1981 • Pernambuco wood CITES Appendix II 13/09/2007 • Ebony CITES Appendix II 12/06/2013 When buying modern and contemporary instruments, demand certification from the maker that there are no CITES species used. Remember that border inspectors are not experts – if it looks like ivory it is ivory and they confiscate. When original ivory tips are replaced by your luthier, ask for a letter on letterhead confirming that the material is mammoth bone and that it has been used to replace the original ivory.
issued by the country of origin after appropriate certification and expertise has been made. Much lobbying and negotiation is underway in both the US and in Europe to bring about a workable system for travelling musicians. As an affiliate of the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), SOMA has been observing progress to date in the hope that a sensible system will result – and that Australia will fall in step. For more information and appropriate forms for entry and exit from Australia contact the Department of the Environment (www.environment.gov.au). For countries you intend to visit you will need to consult with the appropriate equivalents. Some other useful references: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/ wildlife-trade/cites http://checklist.cites.org/#/en http://www.fws.gov/international/pdf/factsheet-musical-instruments-2014.pdf http://www.fws.gov/international/permits/ by-activity/musical-instruments.html http://americanorchestras.org/advocacy-government/travel-with-instruments/ endangered-species-material/protected-species-travel-tips.html Simon Collins
The concept of an instrument passport incorporates all of this documentation along with identification photographs. It seems an obvious solution that such a document be 11
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Johannes Fritzsch Chief Conductor Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Staying fresh A little more than 22 years ago – it was July 1992, I arrived in Australia for the first time. I journeyed from my strange childhood homeland, East Germany. The recently fallen wall was clearly in my thoughts; it was surreal and dreamlike. This was my first visit to ‘the West’, and my first engagement in an English speaking country. I had never before seen palm trees, much less the mesmerising Pacific Ocean. As I approached the Sydney Opera House the morning after my arrival I was overwhelmed. I had been invited to conduct the new production of Hansel and Gretel for Opera Australia. I remember the anomalous sensation: this opera is deep-rooted in my culture and in my heart, and yet the place was so far away from my home and foreign to me. The Hansel and Gretel production was the beginning of a happy and rewarding collaboration with Opera Australia and the AOBO which continued in 1999 with the 12
new production of Wozzeck, followed by numerous performances of many operas in Sydney and in Melbourne. From the first rehearsal I was impressed by the quickness of the orchestra in learning and rehearsing the new repertoire. This is a special feature of Australian orchestras; they work quickly and efficiently. The level of adaptability also struck me: even when rehearsing very
As I approached the Sydney Opera House the morning after my arrival I was overwhelmed. familiar repertoire I never heard and Australian orchestra argue “…but this is the way we’ve always played it”. This attitude, perhaps a consequence of long-held traditions, has been known to slow down rehearsal process in some European orchestras, and can impede the flexibility of ensemble. BACK TO CONTENTS
The fresh and unconventional nature of Australian music making impresses me and gives me pleasure. This enduring freshness inspired me again and again during my eight years of intensive collaboration with the QSO. It is a characteristic that I welcomed as a part of my own work ethic, and I believe it travelled with me, back to Germany and Austria. There, when asked what I found special about Australian orchestras, my answer was always: in addition to a very high technical standard there is a flexibility and openness in approaching not only contemporary works but also those of bygone eras.
The role of the conductor is that which has evolved most over the past century. Still the primus inter pares – first among equals – the conductor navigates the ship, the age of the tyrant, however, is over. I had the pleasure to work with all of the major orchestras in Australia. I believe that, during the past fifteen years, the QSO has undergone the most significant transformation. After the amalgamation of the two Brisbane-based orchestras, a process that is always painful and complex, a new and vibrant ensemble has emerged: young in spirit, confident, excellently cast in all major positions; there have been 25 newly appointed musicians since 2008, which is more than a quarter of the orchestra. The orchestra is flexible and experienced in all genres. In short, it is an honour to be a member of that ensemble. Musicians in a modern orchestra work together, especially in cooperation with a conductor, in a way that replicates the ideal democratic society; many specialised skills 13
are combined effectively to achieve a highly complex outcome. Each member of a professional orchestra has developed expertise, and a degree of autonomy, over his or her individual role. Tolerance is essential, along with the ability to perform independently at a very high level, while maintaining a shrewd awareness of whole organism. The role of the conductor is that which has evolved most over the past century. Still the primus inter pares – first among equals – the BACK TO CONTENTS
conductor navigates the ship, the age of the tyrant, however, is over. It should be the role of a facilitator. Musicians and conductors perform at their best in an environment of mutual respect and inspiration. The world of politics might well have something to learn from the modern orchestral model. In Australia, as around the world, debate continues over the high costs of the arts, and orchestras in particular. While the arts should not be immune to financial accountability, orchestras cannot survive entirely without public funding. Symphony concerts, opera, theatre, galleries and libraries, community choirs and shows are the nourishment of a humane, empathetic and just society. For something so priceless, the actual cost is very reasonable.
Johannes Fritzsch is currently Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane, a position he held since 2008. From 2006 – 2013 he was Chief Conductor of the Oper Graz, Grazer Philharmonisches Orchester (Austria). Prior to his appointment in Graz, Johannes held the position of Generalmusikdirektor of the Staatsoper Nürnberg. From 1993 until 1999, he was Generalmusikdirektor of the Städtische Bühnen and the Philharmonic Orchestra in Freiburg, enjoying widespread acclaim.
Schwerin, Berliner Sinfonie Orchester, Staatskapelle Dresden, Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock, Staatsorchester Halle, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Philharmonique Strassbourg, the Orchestre National de Montpellier, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and in Australia with the SSO, MSO, TSO, QSO, WASO and OV. Opera Companies with which he has worked include: Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden, Opernhaus Köln, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Bastille Paris, the Royal Opera Stockholm, Malmö Operan and Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne (including Hansel and Gretel, Wozzeck, Magic Flute, Tales of Hofmann, Lohengrin, Don Giovanni, Carmen, Tosca, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier, Salome). Over the past ten years Johannes has given many Master classes for the German conductor training and development organisation, Dirigentenforum des Deutschen Musikrates. Similarly, he has been active and enthusiastic in his involvement in Australia’s Symphony International conductor development program. Johannes and his wife, Australian violinist Susan Collins, have recently moved to Hobart with their three young daughters.
Johannes was born in Meissen, near Dresden, Germany, where he completed his musical education. He has conducted many great orchestras, both within Germany and internationally. These include: Hamburger Sinfoniker, Düsseldorfer Sinfoniker, Philharmonie Essen, NationaltheaterOrchester Mannheim, Staatskapelle 14
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Nicolette Fraillon Music Director and Chief Conductor The Australian Ballet
The Twilight Zone When I joined The Australian Ballet in 2003, I thought my primary occupation would entail the waving of arms. Now whilst I have done quite a lot of that for the Company ( approx. 150 performances and 100 rehearsals each year) somewhat surprisingly, to me anyway, I seem to have spent equal amounts of time waist deep in spreadsheets – Excel, my unexpected constant companion. In my 12 years as Music Director of The Australian Ballet, there have been 4 orchestral reviews in which TAB has participated: the Strong Review 2004/2005, immediately followed by the pit orchestra review; the Anzarts review 2010/11, and, most recently, a review of Orchestra Victoria in 2013. In addition, aside from the obligatory annual cost analysise, in 2008/2009 TAB reviewed, in great detail, the history of and growth in our Company’s expenditure on orchestras. Changes postNugent (oh, yes, that other review) had led to quite substantial cost increases for TAB. I am not complaining. Being caught in a seemingly eternal review vortex wasn’t all bad: I came to comprehend evocative new 15
terms like ‘Orchestral Services’, an artistic concept which had mysteriously eluded me through my years of study in Australia and Europe. (I admit I still have trouble with the combination of the two words orchestral and services in an artistic context, as my mind conjures images of ironing violins, vacuuming the timpani, and ‘spray and wiping’ the brass section). I also became more intimate than I thought possible, with awesome world of Excel analysis – “how much richer”, I asked myself, “are my Swan Lake interpretations for the countless hours spent reproducing data in whichever new form the next reviewer required”? “Well”, I am forced to answer myself (conductors spend a lot of time alone), “without my pal Excel, perhaps there would now be no opportunities for Tchaikovsky interpretations using orchestral services of any kind”. Seriously. All the reviews were searching for elusive magic formulae which would somehow allow us all to continue to operate, despite ever more challenging and troubled financial BACK TO CONTENTS
circumstances. “Operate?” Thrive? Prosper? Survive? Did someone find such a formula, Excel or other? Ballet without music? I know of two dance pieces to silence- neither are great works of art. When The Australian Ballet was founded in 1962, of the five original staff positions, one was that of Music Director. Historical documents about the company, and writings of the first Artistic Director, Dame Peggy van Praagh, demonstrate that quality orchestral music was viewed as being integral to the success of the newly founded national company. Over 52 years, The Australian Ballet has grown into one of the world’s 10 best companies, one which now forms an essential part of our nations cultural landscape. Without Australia’s excellent orchestras, and the two specialist pit orchestras in particular, our growth and success would have been impossible.
Ballet without music? I know of two dance pieces to silence – neither are great works of art. Last year, in a survey questioning TAB’s audiences why they attend our performance, predictably the most common reason (at over 90%) was to see the dancers. Somewhat surprising to some, though not to me, was the reason which came in second: to hear live music (only a few % behind the dancers). Whilst audiences will still attend ballet performances to recorded music, they note how compromised the experience is. Equally importantly, the dancers themselves know that only live music pushes them to explore the greatest of heights- artistically and physically. Classical ballet is an art form in which live music is not a mere accompaniment but an equal partner: 16
a partner which knows when to step back, when to lead, when to adapt to individual idiosyncracies and difficult situations, and when to remain steadfast, providing structure in the ever-evolving relationship. In addition, the musicians in the pit create a human as well as aural bridge between stage an auditorium. The vibrancy created by live orchestra in a pit is palpable to all. The skill set required of musicians working with ballet companies is enormous. Of course, the musical skills necessary to partner others are not unique to dance as an art form. Symphony orchestras accompany instrumental and vocal soloists all the time, operas are partnerships from beginning to end. These are, however, aural partnerships and based upon the most essential and basic of musical/orchestral skills, those of listening to one another, adapting, mediating, working as an ensemble. These latter are obviously to essential to performances of classical ballet, as are technique of the highest calibre and stamina (Act 1 alone of Swan Lake is 50 mins and then there are another 3 acts to follow!). In addition, however, ballet raises several discipline specific challenges for musicians: • the partnering of aurally and visually (to the orchestra) invisible soloists and ensembles; • multiple performances of the same work in intense bursts (a Sydney ballet run is usually 6 rehearsals and 19-21 performances over three weeks). • Working with different casts on stage at each performance with requisite and oft considerable musical variations but with little to no chance to have rehearsed these This ‘blind’ partnering, the requisite flexibility and the knowledge of repertoire to really comprehend and deliver all possible variations, take years to develop but are essential to be able to give performances of the highest standard. BACK TO CONTENTS
Whilst audiences will still attend ballet performances to recorded music, they note how compromised the experience is. But, with the business model appearing unsustainable, other models needed to be explored in depth. Another review led by The Australia Council led us all back into the twilight world of discussions, numbers and more numbers. My mate Excel was taxed to his fullest capacity. But he came through and our 17
So, I return now to my opening paragraph and the various orchestral reviews. Orchestras are challenging in terms of their business models. Pit orchestras, have clearly defined work patterns, defined by other organisations for them. They have less time and flexibility in their schedules than symphony orchestras, and have few profiling opportunities specifically for themselves. They face particular challenges in terms of raising funds to support themselves, not impossible ones, but quite specific ones. After recognising the value of the specialist pit orchestras to the national companies, and to the nation, each successive review panel had been faced by the same essential challenges: the need to balance books with the need to look beyond the absolutism of figures and leave viable and productive artistic parameters in place. Enter 2013. Faced with pronounced financial difficulties at the end of 2012, Orchestra Victoria was headed for trouble, yet again. The irony was that for years, against all odds, Orchestra Victoria had been going from artistic strength to artistic strength. Despite problematic business models, and ongoing management issues, the musicians of Orchestra Victoria had played on, brilliantly.
ongoing illicit affair was worth it. Working with really excellent folk from the Australia Council, and Arts Victoria, from our Boards, and leaning on the knowledge and expertise of the players of Orchestra Victoria, following much analysis, discussion, expertise, soul searching, some real goodwill from all parties (and extra support from governments) we landed at July 1st this year, and Orchestra Victoria became a wholly owned subsidiary of The Australian Ballet. It was a very difficult 18 months. So, The Australian Ballet, with important assistance from federal and state governments in place, is now responsible for Orchestra Victoria. Can I just say, in big Kev thundering tone “I’m excited” though this is still somewhat tempered by residual sadness. Orchestra Victoria, with its varied nomenclature, has a long and proud history – almost as long as that of TAB. It would have been great to have seen the orchestra prosper on its own. However, given that was deemed impossible, Orchestra Victoria now continues, and as a part of a larger strong, vital and -under David McAllister, Libby Christie and BACK TO CONTENTS
our TAB Board- pretty visionary organization. That we at The Australian Ballet, have had a role in the preservation of Orchestra Victoria IS exciting and that we can provide stability and a great basis for growth is without question. Orchestra Victoria will continue as performance partner of the national companies, Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet as well as in it’s vital state role, partnering the Victorian Opera, the Production Company and Recital Centre and undertaking important educational and other work across regional Victoria. TAB will still have the honour of working with our other fabulous partner orchestras, the AOBO, ASO, QSO, TSO and, next year, WASO again – all wonderful and expert pit partners but how special it will be to assist Orchestra Victoria to more prosperous times. Not sure we have a magic formula but we have a good solid one. And just when I thought there might even be a year of respite from reviews, in which to actually focus on the art forms I am supposed to practise, I hear an opera review a singing…
Nicolette Fraillon conducted her first concert at 16 with the Victorian Junior Symphony Orchestra. She graduated on viola from Melbourne University in 1982, and from 1984 to 1987 furthered her instrumental studies at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna and 1987 to 1988 in Hannover. During her time in Germany and Austria, Nicolette toured with many orchestras including the Salzburger Chamber Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra of Bassano; and was a member of the Haydn Quartet, based at the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt. In 1990 Nicolette moved to the Netherlands where she became Assistant Musical Director for the 1991-92 season of Les Misérables in Amsterdam and The Hague. In 1992 she was admitted to the Netherlands Broadcasting 18
Association’s International Conductors’ Masterclass, resulting in a performance with the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. This led to an invitation to conduct for the Nederlands Dans Theater. She was then invited to become Music Director and Chief Conductor of the National Ballet of the Netherlands; working with such renowned choreographers as Hans van Manen, Toer van Schayk, Rudi van Dantzig and Krzystof Pastor; and conducting numerous world premieres. During the following five years she worked with the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Noord Nederlands Orchestra, the Gelders Orchestra in Arnhem, the Limburg Symphony Orchestra, the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, the Kanazawa Chamber Orchestra (Japan) and the Finnish Ballet (Helsinki). In 1998 she took up the position of Director at the School of Music, Australian National University, and continued her conducting work with the West Australian Ballet, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. She debuted with The Australian Ballet in 2002, conducting Spartacus, and was then invited by David McAllister to become Music Director and Chief Conductor, beginning in January 2003. Since joining the company, Nicolette has conducted all programmes for The Australian Ballet, including six overseas tours, and has been a guest conductor for the San Francisco Ballet. Following The Australian Ballet’s 2005 tour to the UK, Nicolette was in 2006 invited back to conduct The Sleeping Beauty with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. In 2007 Nicolette guested with the New York City Ballet. In 2008 she returned to the Birmingham Royal Ballet for a Nutcracker season, then finished the year with a New Years Gala in Skopje with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra. BACK TO CONTENTS
Brett Kelly Trombonist, MSO and Conductor
the ecosystem of orchestral life Interviewed by Tania Hardy Smith
You are Principal Trombone in the MSO – what made you decide to take up conducting? At the time I was ‘champing at the bit’ to get more involved in the whole ecosystem of orchestral life – musical, organisational, programming, developing audiences – even budgets, funding applications and sponsorship – yep, I was sick! But the tipping point came when I picked up a small one volume set of the complete Mozart symphonies at a second-hand music shop near the MSO’s Waverley studio. Printed on super thin, almost translucent paper, the look and feel of those pages was magical. Instantly I wanted to be part of bringing them to life, and for a trombonist, that meant conducting. 19
What are the differences in perspective between being a conductor and being a musician – which do you prefer? These twin perspectives have become fairly inseparable now, but I suppose my prime responsibility as a player is the performance of my own part. Working with colleagues in search of good ensemble, blend and balance while also responding to the conductor’s general intentions and specific instructions. For me, like orchestral trombonists around the world, there’s often a little too much time to think, so it’s also important to guard against this self focus becoming unhealthy. In contrast, the conductor’s perspective, while still dealing with details, is much more about the big picture. From the kernel of a concert plan, right through to the final rumble of applause, the conductor influences the quality of the performance and the satisfaction level of all involved. To use a building analogy, the conductor is like a supervising architect who creates the framework within which all the individual experts can make BACK TO CONTENTS
their most powerful contribution. Sounds so easy – clearly not – but I enjoy the challenge of trying! There is a certain historical and functional hierarchy in the relationship between the conductor and players in an orchestra, but we all feel more on one level as people and musicians. Do negotiating these dynamics occupy your thoughts much, particularly when you are conducting your colleagues in the MSO? The relationship between musicians and conductor is never problematic when everyone understands and embraces the unique responsibilities of their position. It’s stating the obvious, but the conductor is nothing without the musicians, instantly becoming a third rate Marcel Marceau if the orchestra doesn’t actually play.
From the kernel of a concert plan, right through to the final rumble of applause, the conductor influences the quality of the performance and the satisfaction level of all involved. Does this mean the conductor’s role isn’t critical? Of course not, because they alone are in a position, both physically and organisationally, to facilitate the most focussed use of orchestral resources. Players understand that to quickly achieve a good result they need to ‘sign-on’ to a consistent approach from the conductor. The more comfortable people are in their respective roles, the more relaxed everyone feels and then the partitions between roles quickly becoming much less rigid. Of course, even when I’m conducting my colleagues, they still need me to fill the role 20
of conductor: to be prepared, respectful and, when required, decisive. I always try to maintain a balanced perspective, if there’s an ensemble difficulty when I’m conducting the first person I question is myself. By accepting that you’re probably part of the problem, you immediately become part of the solution. When playing I try to really embrace the conductor’s ideas, especially if they differ from my ‘default setting’. It’s good to remind yourself a conductor is engaged to conduct their way, not yours! What do you prefer about being one or the other? One of the joys of orchestral performance is connecting with colleagues right across the stage as if we were an oversized chamber group. The more linked we feel, and the more responsibility we collectively take for ensemble, the more scope this gives the conductor to contribute in ways beyond mere time-beating. Good for everyone! When it comes to conducting, whatever motivations I had in the beginning, they were quickly forgotten once I worked with masterpieces like Mozart’s Jupiter and Beethoven’s Eroica. To stand in the middle of wonderful musicians, in the extraordinary surge of musical energy these great works release, is an experience more vivid than any concertgoer will ever have. It’s a privilege you don’t give up in a hurry! How do you feel we can keep the orchestra relevant for its time? The most compelling argument for orchestras is their immeasurably powerful impact as a catalyst of musical and social activity. Like a pebble in a pond, the ripples created by an orchestra become a tsunami as they flow through the community. And not just the orchestra as a whole, but each member within it creates their own unique impact. BACK TO CONTENTS
Even in the largest metropolis an orchestra can, and often does, touch the lives of every person. As twenty first century orchestral musicians we’ll no doubt continue to stretch ourselves seeking new ways to engage, stimulate and entertain the broadest base, but the one thing we should never entertain are doubts about the unique importance of our musical world. The orchestral phenomena is one of the most remarkable achievements of humanity – it’s a mad, wondrous fantasy that actually exists – a miracle to celebrate without reserve. Tell us a bit about Andrew Davis and the MSO. There’s a lot to tell really, but to keep it brief I would say Sir Andrew has the rare ability of getting exactly what he wants from the orchestra while making each player feel quite free. He achieves terrific momentum and energy, but also the time and space to not just play the notes, but musically inhabit them. This is not just for orchestral soloists – many section players tell me they feel able to perform their parts with a nourishing sense of musical satisfaction.
Even in the largest metropolis an orchestra can, and often does, touch the lives of every person. How was the European tour? Performing in some of the world’s most iconic halls would be a thrill for any orchestra, but to travel so far and present five concerts at the peak of our potential was really gratifying. Especially in the Royal Albert Hall, in front of 6,500 Promenaders and with a live BBC broadcast, the orchestra served up a 21
wonderful concert. Symphonie Fantastique in this program was one of the finest single performances I can remember from the MSO. In such an intense environment it was a collective effort needing not just ability, but character, poise and a pinch of grit! Huge thanks to Sir Andrew and the whole MSO organisation for an inspiring night.
Brett is Principal Trombonist of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and in recent years his conducting engagements have included the Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmanian, Queensland and West Australian Symphony Orchestras, The Auckland Philharmonia, the Southern Sinfonia (Dunedin, NZ), the Victorian Opera and ChamberMade Opera. Between 1989 & 2004 he was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of The Academy of Melbourne, a chamber orchestra drawn from among his colleagues in the MSO and widely regarded as one of Australia’s outstanding musical ensembles. Brett has conducted many CD recordings for NAXOS, Tall Poppies and ABC Classics, with his recording of the Rodrigo Concertos featuring Slava and Leonard Grigoryan being nominated for a 2006 Aria Award. For The Hive by Nicolas Vines (Chambermade Opera – 2006) he received a Green Room Award nomination as Best Conductor of an Opera in Melbourne. Brett has also conducted the orchestral scores of over forty feature films, including Russell Crowe’s soon to be released The Water Diviner, Healing, The Railway Man Felony, Cloudstreet, Beneath Hill 60 (2010), Knowing (2009) and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008).
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Andrew Davis Chief Conductor Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Sir Andrew Davis:
THE returning g n i n r u t e r hero Sunday Telegraph, August 17 2014 By John Allison
This is an excerpt of the article by John Allison. To read the full review visit http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/ proms/11037251/Sir-Andrew-Davis-Thereturning-hero.html
No orchestra making its Proms debut could wish for a better guide to that institution’s rituals than Sir Andrew Davis, one of the most familiar faces in recent Proms history and a particular favourite of Last Night audiences. Happily for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Davis was appointed its chief conductor last year and has lost no time in leading it on this month’s short European tour, beginning at the Proms and also including the Edinburgh Festival. The MSO is a distinguished orchestra – Australia’s oldest, founded in 1906 – and Melbourne is a wonderful city, but what drew Davis there? “I went there to conduct first in 2009, and absolutely fell in love,” he says. “Our first programme included Elgar’s
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Sir Andrew Davis conducts this year’s MSO Proms Concert.
Falstaff, a very demanding piece which they didn’t know, but they played it superbly. So I went back, and they started to twist my arm. I adore the city, and the people – it’s a very exciting place, and they are a great audience.” Davis sees his new post as a logical development in his lengthy career. “I’m a believer in fate. And, in fact, I’ve held very few posts, but just held them for a long time – the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 13 years, Glyndebourne for 12, the BBC Symphony Orchestra for 11. Now I’ve extended my contract in Chicago, which will take me up to 21 years there. So although I’ve been standing in front of orchestras for some 42 seasons, Melbourne is still only my third 23
I adore the city, and the people – it’s a very exciting place, and they are a great audience. orchestral post. This sense of continuity is important to me.” How would Davis describe the Melbourne sound? “They have terrific strings, the basis for any orchestra, and some really wonderful solo players. They perform with great virtuosity, but what really sets them apart is their love of what they do. Not all orchestras manage this. There’s a terrific work ethic there, one of the reasons I’m so crazy about them.” BACK TO CONTENTS
Asher Fisch Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Fisch a prize WASO catch The West Australian, September 11 2013 By Stephen Bevis
When Asher Fisch accepted the post of WA Symphony Orchestra principal conductor and artistic adviser last year, he called his decision a no-brainer. For the genial 55-year-old Israeli conductor with a formidable symphonic and operatic track record, the individual helmsman productively complements the collective personality of the orchestra. Having worked with the WASO a handful of times in recent years, Fisch believes the players can scale even greater heights than they have under incumbent Paul Daniel, whose five-year stint concludes at the end of the year. “It is the perfect mixture of the best of German, British and American orchestras,” he says. 24
“From my first encounter with WASO I was taken with its wonderful mixture of British professionalism, American efficiency and work ethic and German precision and sound culture. “The playing level is very high but they are not snobbish like the British orchestras, they are not dry and businesslike like the American orchestras, and when they play warm and engaged like a German orchestra, it is never overboard or too heavy.” A clear profile and playing style is the only thing missing from the orchestra, although its strengths lie with his own preferences for the central European, Romantic to 20th century repertoire and its versatility from being a working pit orchestra for the WA Opera, he says. For the 2014 season, launched yesterday, Fisch will conduct works by Brahms, Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Strauss and broaden the program with the disparate contributions of guest conductors. BACK TO CONTENTS
Asher Fisch, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven dominates the season with a two-weekend festival devoted to all nine of his symphonies in August, preceded by a WASO Beethoven concert in Albany. The Beethoven Festival is one of the most significant orchestral events in Perth since the mid-1980s when the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra presented all the symphonies of Sibelius. The Beethoven bonanza, not linked to any anniversary, includes specialist talks, chamber works played by UWA music students and child-friendly “jam” sessions. The festival is a response to two imperatives: an increasing appetite by audiences around the world for special-event programming such as festivals and Fisch’s desire to make a meaningful impact on WASO’s playing style as soon as possible. Over his three-year term, Fisch will be in Perth for just nine weeks a year and says that working intensely with his musicians on 25
all nine Beethoven masterworks in one short burst will be the surest way to embed his playing style. “Instead of doing two symphonies a year, doing them all together gives me the opportunity to really move the orchestra ahead, I believe.” The Beethoven Festival is his first attempt to start to reshape programming to cater for changing audience trends, he says. Bluntly put, the symphonic concert world is in trouble. “Everybody is losing audiences and it is everywhere from Chicago to Paris to Berlin, even.”
From my first encounter with WASO I was taken with its wonderful mixture of British professionalism, American efficiency and work ethic and German precision and sound culture. BACK TO CONTENTS
At the same time as concert subscription series attendances are declining due to changing lifestyles and less general interest in classical music (WASO remains a notable exception), festivals are becoming more appealing. Fisch is in Perth for a fortnight for the 2014 season launch sandwiched between two weekends of performances. Like Daniel, a former music director at English National Opera, he has a strong background in opera. He recently wrapped up a season conducting Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Seattle Opera, where he remains principal guest conductor. His former posts include music director of the New Israeli Opera and the Vienna Volksoper.
“There was no question I would not play an instrument,” says the musician who moved through recorder, mandolin, accordion and settled on the piano, on which he will perform in next year’s WASO program. Fisch has conducted many other great orchestras and opera companies, including New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Chicago, New York and Los Angeles symphony orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic and London Philharmonic. He cites one career highlight as conducting the Helpman Award-winning Ring Cycle in Adelaide in 2004. He reflects warmly on the standard of playing by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, supplemented 26
by players from the WASO, Sydney and Melbourne. Next month, he will appear at the Melbourne Festival to conduct an all-Wagner program with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Born in Jerusalem in 1958, Fisch developed a love for music from his parents, who were part of the German-Jewish emigre Yekke enclave who attended classical music concerts with fastidious regularity. “There was no question I would not play an instrument,” says the musician who moved through recorder, mandolin, accordion and settled on the piano, on which he will perform in next year’s WASO program. “I was a good pianist but I was never good enough to pursue a career as a soloist. I could have been good if I had been more industrious but I was too lazy. I was interested in too many other things in music and outside that I didn’t want to spend eight hours a day in practice. That was when conducting presented itself as the best of all worlds.” Drafted into the Israeli Army as an 18-year-old in 1976, he applied for an armed forces radio job as music editor but his extensive knowledge of current affairs landed him a position as a broadcast journalist, covering major events including the 1977 visit to Israel by Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat. He could have continued with journalism after four years in the army but took the leap of faith into conducting. Fisch discovered a love for Wagner’s music while working as the assistant to legendary conductor Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin State Opera, and is proud to be one of the many former Barenboim proteges, including Antonio Pappano, Simone Young, Sebastian Weigle and Philippe Jordan. BACK TO CONTENTS
Maintaining his status as an accomplished pianist (he has a 2012 CD of Wagner piano transcriptions to his name on the Melba label) certainly adds to his respect among players. In his first 2014 appearance in March, he will conduct from the keyboard in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D minor. “Orchestral musicians will only trust a conductor so far,” he says. “After all, you are only cutting air. But when you start to play the first note, then you can talk on the same level.” The rest of the 2014 season maintains the diet of standard repertoire, a new-music focus through the Latitude concerts, a chamber series, pops special events, children’s programs and the free Symphony in the City. The WASO and WA Opera also will venture out to Northam for a community concert to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the farmers’ co-op that became Wesfarmers.
Bryant will cook up a storm on stage as the WASO plays at Riverside Theatre. At the same venue, WASO will continue its Lord of The Rings live score series with The Two Towers. Cellist Alban Gerhardt will return in October to play Elgar’s Cello Concerto in a program including Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony directed by Simone Young. Also in October, we can listen to the world premiere of Perthborn Carl Vine’s Concerto for Orchestra. Choral enthusiasts haven’t been forgotten with performances of Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Handel’s Messiah. The Rusty Orchestra, will give amateur musicians the chance to sit in with the WASO rehearsing major classics.
© The West Australian
Leading guest artists include pianists Stephen Hough, Piers Lane and the astonishing Lukas Vondracek. Foodies Maggie Beer and Simon 27
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Marco Zuccarini Marco Zuccarini, Visiting Guest Conductor.
Orchestras, People, Culture An Orchestra is not only a living instrument, but an example of a community with rules, human relations, emotions, tensions. But this community is a part of a bigger one. It is part of the life of each city and country in the world. The question is why an orchestra is important for its own city? Would it be possible living without an orchestra? The answer for a musician is too easy – NOOOO!!! But I am really convinced it is the same answer from the people – not only from our usual audiences but also from the ‘common man’. My last concert in Australia was last year with QSO in Brisbane for the Brisbane Festival. In front of 7000 people, it was again demonstrated to me how important is this encounter between the music and the people and 28
how important it is, on some occasions, to speak with them to let them know that this wonderful and magnificent treasure that is music is for everybody. It is the property of humanity like La Giaconda by Leonardo and all the masterpieces of arts, literature and culture. Of course, in Italy, like Australia, firstly the political environment has to understand how important music is for the complete growth of a society, how fundamental it is. Unfortunately this is not easy – sometimes culture and music are good subjects in a political campaign but nothing else. I think we musicians and all the members of the staff in the organization of the orchestras probably have to think of new ways to be closer to the people, to involve people in their activities and programs. The situation in Italy after several years of deep cuts, in particular to the budget of culture and music, is that the new government is replacing BACK TO CONTENTS
some of the previous funds for music, theatre and orchestras. There are however, great difficulties in some regional orchestras and important opera houses – I think we have to spend quite a lot of time in finding a solution to this situation, in any case with a new project. But there is some good news. In Rome, for example, several years ago the Academia of Santa Cecilia created 3 youth orchestras with students from 5 to 21 years old. What was astonishing was the enthusiasm of the families for this activity, which was a big surprise for everybody. The same was seen in Milan, Florence and Naples. Probably we have to learn how to more effectively use new networks to attract people to our concerts and it will be important to offer a different profile of programs, not only the traditional format of a concert season. It will be important to create public pressure on the politicians to encourage them to consider culture an important part of the growth of our economy. We must denounce the internal indifference of our society, and in the meantime invent and spend all of our energy and imagination to capture the attention of the people, to let them to discover how wonderful and precious is this unbelievable worlds of music, and from the classical world in particular. In this period of deep crisis in our times, not only economic but moral and philosophical, we have to be able to maintain and develop our enthusiasm, and our creativity to invent new opportunities for an orchestra to be better involved in our communities without losing the highest professional standards. We must defend this great beauty that is culture, and for us, our love, the music.
Marco Zuccarini graduated from the Conservatorium Guiseppe Verdi majoring in piano and clarinet, then went on to post-graduate studies at the Accademia de Santa Cecilia. Following this he worked intensively as a chamber musician, but in 1989 decided to concentrate on a career in conducting. In 1990 he founded the Orchestra de Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza, and has been actively involved in the performance of contemporary Italian music. His most recent commercial release has been the world premiere DVD recording of Paisiello’s opera, La Serva Padrona. He has directed such internationally acclaimed soloists as José Carreras, Salvatore Accardo, Katia Ricciarelli, Cecilia Gasdia, Milva, Astor Piazzola and Benedetto Lupo. Throughout this period his busy international career included engagements which included the Orchestra of Cannes, the Ljubljana Philharmonic, the State Symphony Orchestra in Santiago, Chile, the Philharmonia Enescu in Romania and the Accademia della Scala in Milan. In 1998 Marco made his first visit to Australia to conduct the Bishop Orchestra for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Australian Youth Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony orchestra in performances as part of the Festival of Perth. This began an ongoing association with Australia which has included conducting all of Australia’s major symphony orchestras, and for Opera Australia in their 2003 production of Madama Butterfly. Marco has also become a regular visitor to New Zealand, making his debut in 2002 with the Auckland Philharmonia and in 2010 with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
“You were not created to live like beasts, but to follow virtue and knowledge” wrote Dante Alighieri. 29
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David Robertson Chief Conductor and Artistic Adviser, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
The importance of connections This is an edited version of an interview broadcast on Radio National’s The Music Show, with Andrew Ford, Saturday August 23 2014. Reproduced with kind permission from the ABC and David Robertson.
Andrew Ford: David Robertson, welcome back to The Music Show, it’s nice to see you. David Robertson: It’s very nice to be here Andrew. AF: Let’s talk about John Adams first. We’ve just heard a little bit of City Noir and he’s one of the living composers with whom you’re particularly associated. We talked to him last year when that piece and the saxophone concerto were being played here. Can you sum up what it is about Adams that is special among today’s composers? DR: I think it’s the incredible knowledge of the whole classical repertoire, so you can 30
discuss with him about any piece of the past. That aspect of this complete knowledge of the tradition informs the fact that when he composes he’s also very aware of the present day vernacular aspects of music. He can discourse about the Beach Boys or about things that were done by Led Zeppelin or The Grateful Dead or about jazz performers. He has, especially through his children, discovered the kind of music that is connected up to much more current events. He and I spoke about the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau – his son Sam was actually the person who introduced him – or to Aphex Twin, in terms of electronica, so there is dialogue, as contemporary composers must, with our own time. He’s able to blend this understanding and listening to the present with an understanding of how music of the past was put together. So when he is writing for a traditional organisation such as a symphony orchestra he’s able to bring these together in a way that both feels natural and part of the tradition and yet fresh. BACK TO CONTENTS
AF: You talk about the symphony orchestra as a traditional organisation and that leads me to the much wider area of how you keep this traditional organisation healthy. If you’re looking around the world at the moment there are a lot of versions of this traditional organisation which are not healthy, which are falling apart for lack of funds, shutting out their players or whatever, and there are a lot of versions of this organisation that are, as it were, in aspic, and haven’t really changed much recently. Neither of those seems terribly good models. What is your take on this? DR: It’s really important to separate out the problems that are structural and organisational – having to do with how you amass the necessary resources to keep a group of world class professionals, having the work, the living standard and the environment they need to produce world class performances, and separate that out from the notion of what an orchestra can do. And I think once you do that you suddenly realise that much of the difficulty comes from the fact that traditionally 31
over the earlier part of the twentieth century, many people, musicians included, were not really given proper recompense for their work and their labour. So there is this whole question of what is required, and of course it’s a meritocracy. So you do pay people who have greater abilities at a higher level. So this means that the very best orchestras require the very best players, and that doesn’t come cheaply. So how are you going to support this, whether it’s through entirely private funds or whether it’s through the subscription base or whether it’s through a combination of various different things – endowment, savings and so forth. Once you’ve figured this out then the second problem is the one which is often conflated with the first – how do you keep a symphony orchestra relevant to its time? And this is not any different than the kinds of questions that are asked by theatre companies or art museums or dance companies or any group that is labour-intensive in maintaining a rich history of music. And in that sense I think BACK TO CONTENTS
you need to understand that you have lots of publics you’re playing to, not just simply one, and your programming needs to try to embrace as many forms as your organisation really can be involved with. Whether that’s music from great composers of the past who we feel are part of the canon – the musical equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo’s great works – or whether they are recent additions such as music for certain films, which is so important to those films which without that music you could never imagine the film having the type of impact that it does.
For me as a conductor what I find fascinating are the connections between different things. I mean a classic example is Bernard Hermann’s scores for Hitchcock films where that shower scene is terrifying. But what makes it terrifying is the sound of the strings all doing those glissandos from incredibly high pitches. So these are the things that when you’re looking at the programming for something like a symphony orchestra you can cast your net extremely widely, because when you extend the metaphor, having 100 individuals on stage, each one of those individuals has their own tastes and talents and backgrounds that they bring to the party and therefore by extension there are all sorts of different repertoires that that organisation should be able to present to its public in a way that is really enlightening and inspiring. AF: I don’t think it’s entirely surprising to hear an artistic director talk like that, but in a way it’s quite surprising to hear a chief conductor talk like that who actually does all those 32
things you just mentioned. We heard you conducting Adams, and another composer you are closely associated with is Pierre Boulez. There aren’t that many conductors around who knew both those composers, let alone the film scores of John Williams and Beethoven cycles and Schumann cycles and so on, but I don’t know there’s anything you draw the line at – perhaps there isn’t. DR: You know, there are. If there’s a certain music you don’t have a feeling for or you don’t necessarily have the technical wherewithal to know how to perform it properly. For example in instrumental music I would love to do more Monteverdi, but it’s a level where there are various different traditions, where there’s a kind of base knowledge that I do not possess as a performer. I basically go back as far as the early 1700s. I’ll venture into 1680 but before that I just start feeling like I’m on very thin ice in terms of what to tell the players, and really be doing justice to the scores. For me as a conductor what I find fascinating are the connections between different things. The connections between Johann Sebastian Bach and Olivier Messiaen, is the connection between say Pierre Boulez and reggae and you might think that’s funny. He was on tour with Renee Barreau Theatre Company in the Caribbean and first heard steel drums which came back in his music in the Notations for orchestra and Sur Incises in a way that’s absolutely brilliant. I wasn’t surprised when found one of the major signatures of Pierre Boulez’ musical vocabulary are these little flurries of notes before something. That these little groups of notes actually occurred to him after being with the theatre company as their music director in the 40s and early 50s. I can see these kinds of cross fertilizations and for me this is where the history of music comes from. This is where I find all of these connections of the musical DNA of the world BACK TO CONTENTS
are more interesting in their correspondences than in their differences. AF: By the links that David Robertson made between the music of Pierre Boulez and Caribbean steel drums and Scottish bagpipes, education is a very important part of his work. Maybe we should talk about that now because here at the Sydney Symphony there is a long-standing education program and in St. Louis where you have been most recently there’s another different kind of education program – more of an outreach program with players going into schools. Maybe you could talk about the role of education in an orchestra’s weekly life. DR: I think it has to be worked out according to the culture of each individual orchestra – 33
the workload of things that they’re doing and the interest the individual musicians have in participating. In any group like this you’ll have some musicians who are absolutely passionate for example about working with young children and you’ll have others where they see young children and they break out in hives. And this is perfectly normal and understandable and I don’t think one should ever try and force people into something they don’t want, yet at the same time I think that any time a musician picks up their instrument they are involved in education. They are working at this transmission of culture which is very much part of education. They’re talking with their instrument, and so much of what we have in classical music is based on this understanding of the context, where things come from. There’s this initial reaction to music that is universal among humans and is very strong. But one of the things classical music brings to the table in general is this notion that you can extend the music beyond simply an accompaniment of movement and take it to some place where the music has the ability to mimic and work like thought does. I remember being very upset when a number of years ago there were various different people talking about the role of music in terms of Darwinian evolution, and that it’s not an important part and that it doesn’t have any role to play and it’s purely an ornament. My basic argument is nature doesn’t work like that. If nature doesn’t have a need for something it just doesn’t use it. It just lets it atrophy. And you can see where especially at the formative stage with young children, they respond to musical tone in a fascinating way as every mother understands who has tried to quiet her infant. At the same time we’ve now seen in neurological studies how so much of the brain is occupied not only with the semantic idea BACK TO CONTENTS
of what is being said, but how the brain is listening to the actual melody of the speech and the intonation to gain all sorts of other information that cannot be entirely communicated by the words. And if you don’t think that part’s important just try being ironic in an email and seeing how many people turn they’re back on you the next morning when they’ve read it! So I think when it comes to an orchestra’s side in education it’s important to remember that everyone who comes into contact with that orchestra is at some stage in their educational process and I think the mistake is to think of education as a goal oriented activity. That you reach this certain point and you get this degree or piece of paper and therefore now you know things, you’ve got yourself learning and that’s the end of it. Whereas I much prefer what the composer Robert Schumann said which is ‘Es ist das lernens kein ende’ or there isn’t really an end to learning – it goes on the entire time. This is what’s so inspiring for a conductor – every time you work with an orchestra each one of those musicians plays, and not only are you playing music that you all know but they are bringing their own viewpoint to the piece and that teaches you things about the piece that you might not have heard or seen before and then that extends to each audience member. AF: I suppose in a way the goal for a symphony orchestra’s education program is that these children grow up to be the sort of people who might subscribe to the symphony orchestra. That’s sort of the point of it isn’t it! DR: I think that in the end what you’d like is for people to have the opportunity to really choose based on an informed experience, and so I find with classical music that each person comes to it at a different time. There are some who come to it quite early but you will find people who, for whatever reason, all 34
There are times when inside ourselves the actual verbal rational type of reasoning no longer holds and I think at a deep level this is where music, really great music, profound music that has stood the test of time – somehow comes in and repairs things . . . of a sudden in their 40s or 50s discover a piece or discover a certain type of genre and they become enamoured of this and they see that it has things in it. I feel very sad about the recent events with Robin Williams, but it reminded me of Ludwig Wittgenstein in a period after the second world war which was extraordinarily dark for those who watched their countries being ripped apart and the incredible bloodletting and the tremendous guilt that one felt. Shouldn’t I have been able to stop this kind of genocide? what was happening in Dachau and Auschwitz? and so forth. And so all of these things combine – right at the point where he thought alright, it’s time to take my own life, the slow movement of one of Brahms’ string quartets, he said, brought him back. There are times when inside ourselves the actual verbal rational type of reasoning no longer holds. I think at a deep level this is where music, really great music, profound music that has stood the test of time – somehow comes in and repairs things... At the same time part of reason we’re here is because we may be needed by someone enormously at any moment, in the same way that someone may at some point need to walk into the Gallery of New South Wales and look at a picture and drink from what that artist has been able to distil on to that canvas in a way that nothing else does. BACK TO CONTENTS
AF: Your description of listening to Glen Gould’s second recording of the Goldberg variations and Murray Perahia’s playing of late Mozart concertos – do you think partly, the music, it’s been used like that before for centuries? That there is this kind of tradition of listening to that music and other people drawing on it for those same purposes. Is it something beyond the dots on the page and the interpretation of the music in sound? DR: I think this kind of sense and the use of periodic rhythms, of repeating patterns and so forth, comes together to work on us at a very very deep level. I was fascinated when my children were in the womb to read that the ear is really the first organ that forms – it’s there already at about fourteen weeks and so all of the things that are necessary to hear are right there from the start. We live in a society where once people get to kindergarten, say 5-6 years old when they start school, all of a sudden everything switches to visual. We learn to read, we learn to write, we learn to do all of these things with our eyes and the whole wonderful story time that happens before that, the whole aural tradition, we suddenly think of it as second or third class in terms of our experience. Music reminds us that there is this very very deep connection that living beings have to sound and that it can get us back to the sources of the real hard questions of what existence is about. AF: David Robertson, thank you very much indeed for talking to me on The Music Show. DR: Great pleasure Andrew.
American conductor David Robertson began his five-year tenure as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2014. Born in Santa Monica, California and educated at the Royal 35
Academy of Music in London, David studied French horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He made his Australian debut with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2003 and soon became a regular visitor to the orchestra, with projects such as The Colour of Time, a conceptual multimedia concert, the Australian premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony and concert performances of The Flying Dutchman with video projections. Having been Music Director of the St Louis Symphony since 2005, other titled posts have included Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon and resident conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. A recognised expert in 20th- and 21st-century music, he has also been Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris and his discography includes music by such composers as Adams, Bartók, Boulez, Carter, Ginastera, Milhaud and Reich. David is a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses around the world, appearing in the 2012-13 season with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and at the Metropolitan Opera, and in Europe with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic and Ensemble Intercontemporain. He is a champion of young musicians, and has devoted time to working with students and young artists throughout his career. In addition to creating and leading outreach programs with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Orchestre National de Lyon, he has worked with students at Carnegie Hall’s Academy, the Paris Conservatoire, the Juilliard School, Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festival.
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Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Lachlan Bramble, violin ASO continues on its merry way post Strategic Review which occurred in late 2013. Players found the experience positive and made good use of the opportunities for contact with the reviewers. The review was commissioned by our Board with the support of the Australia Council and as such, the official findings have been kept under lock and key. I can however report a number of positive changes in the Review’s wake including: the creation of a new, fulltime Learning and Community Engagement Coordinator position, extra muscle for the marketing department, and adjustments to the ASO Board’s constitution to allow
employees to also be company directors. Congratulations to our Principal Flautist Geoffrey Collins who has recently been appointed to the ASO Board.
Lachlan and Juris – Lachlan Bramble (Associate
Bassoon player Jackie Hansen at ‘Open Haus’
Principal violin)and Juris Ezergailis (Principal Viola)
community event, Beethoven Festival
Enterprise bargaining is underway despite the tough budgetary climate. ASO has posted significant deficits in 2012 and 2013 and is expecting another in 2014. We have made progress however in giving our Audition and Trial Procedure a sparkling new coat of paint. The SOMA Committee have also been busy rebuilding our Performance Management clauses which will include a new Performance Feedback Process. In addition to better
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fulfilling the requirements of our funding agreements post-Strong, the process aims to use group feedback sessions to help break down the taboo of openly discussing artistic standards. The aim is to create a ‘positive culture of constructive interaction’. Beyond the HR bling, we are hopeful that these changes will have an affirmative effect on job satisfaction, morale and indeed, performance standards. Many new faces have joined the ASO management team since last Senza Sord. Vince Cicarello is our new Managing Director and brings experience from careers in Arts Management (including QSO’s Orchestra Manager) and journalism. Paola Niscioli joins us from the Adelaide Festival Centre as General Manager, Marketing & Development and Louise Williams, our new Manager –
People and Culture comes direct from the Liverpool Philharmonic. On that subject, Paul Blackman has retired from the ASO after many decades of service, firstly as our contrabassoonist and then as Manager of Human Resources. Paul was also a long serving SOMA National President and will be fondly remembered, not the least as an obdurate opening batsman. Janis Laurs (Principal Cello) has also recently ‘hung up the tails’ but will no doubt continue a feverish schedule of teaching, performing and running cello festivals. Musical marriages abound at ASO with Cameron Malouf (trombone) wedding Hani Molles (guest French horn) and Alison Heike (violin) tying the knot with Mark Gaydon (bassoon) in March. Festivals played an important part of our activities on the concert platform this year starting with a perhaps not-so-healthy dose of Xenakis and Zorn in the Adelaide Festival and then a star studded line up of cellists for the Adelaide International Cello Festival. ASO also joined with the State Opera of South Australia for their world-first Philip Glass Trilogy. Shares in remedial massage parlours sky rocketed. In September we welcomed Nicholas McGegan to conduct a mini Beethoven Festival which included an Open Haus collaboration with enthusiastic community musicians. Beethoven 5 never sounded so boisterous!
Mark Gaydon (principal bassoon) and Alison Heike (violin), Chapel Hill Winery
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Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra Mark Bruwel, oboe The AOBO finds itself at a challenging stage in its life. Enterprise Bargaining has just started with a wage freeze being slapped on the table like a dead fish. Yet again we are told that that Opera Australia faces another period of difficult financial times. A number of redundancies have also occurred in administration and production. The King and I is doing well at the box office but main stage opera struggles. There is no sign of the Chief Conductor position being filled and talk of the Opera Theatre being closed for 6 months in 2017 with no financial support from the State Government rumbles around the corridors.
Following video-linked masterclasses with AOBO musicians, Guillaume Tourniaire rehearses students for AOBO and Opera Australia’s Regional Cons Project.
Positions are also becoming vacant faster than they can be filled, mainly due to retirements and change of life circumstances. And our Met Orchestra concertmaster on trial, Laura Hamilton, made the difficult decision to terminate her trial early due to family reasons. Pretty gloomy really. But, there have been a couple of bright moments. We did two concerts with superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann, however, whilst he was good, the Orchestra was better. Especially Pete Jenkin’s playing in some numbers from Verdi’s Forza del Destino – breathtakingly beautiful. A couple of orchestra initiatives flourished recently too. The Regional Cons project, where students from around the state had Skype-like lessons with players before coming together at the Opera Centre to rehearse and then perform in the pit, was a huge success. See photo below with the wonderful Guillaume Tourniaire kindly agreeing to conduct. But, without a doubt, the highlight of the year was the premiere performance of the Orchestra’s newly formed Big Band. Co-ordinated by Brett Favell, 13 orchestra members and two from management played two sets at the Opera’s Gala Ball and were then auctioned off raising $10,000! It was fantastic to hear some seriously good playing from people like Matt Ockenden (bassoon) on piano, Allan Watson (percussion) on kit, Andy Meisel on a very groovy bass, Doug Eyre (bassoon) on Bari Sax and Virge Commerford (viola) singing the sexiest version of Fever you’ll ever hear. So while things around us are bleak, it’s the initiatives and performances from the players that are keeping us going. BACK TO CONTENTS
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Kirsty Bremner, violin It was a relief to shed the microphones that seem to accompany the first few weeks of every year. We performed the film scores to Dr Who and The Return of the King and despite the latter being something of a physical endurance test both were very profitable earners for the orchestra. A concert featuring the music of film composer and conductor Tan Dun aimed at engaging the Asian community was very successful. With microphones still attached we began the Sidney Myer Music Bowl free outdoor concerts. Sadly there were only three instead of the usual four due to a cut in funding. It is
hoped that sufficient money can be found to restore a fourth concert for future years. Good to welcome back our Principal Guest Conductor Diego Matheuz with whom we played to full houses and ticket sales have risen considerably thanks to our indefatigable marketing department. After 37 years service our bass trombonist Eric Klay discovered a liking for opera and left us to work with Orchestra Victoria. For his leaving do, Eric requested a cricket match between the two orchestras. Despite some
MSO on tour â€“ Schloss Ulrichschussen in North East Germany. Photo courtesy of Matt Irwin
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shameless sledging by trumpeter Bill Evans, I’m sorry to say the MSO lost. His efforts appear to have served us better a few months earlier in the soccer match between OV and MSO and in another match between MSO and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
that the Melbourne Festival hasn’t sought to promote the Orchestra in its own right. I can’t imagine that happening at the Edinburgh Festival where both of the Scottish symphony orchestras play more than one concert of orchestral repertoire every year.
Lerida Delbridge (violin) and Rachel Silver (horn) have left us for the SSO; we wish them all the best. Sadly Vicki Phillipson has decided to retire and will be hugely missed. Her gloriously silver sound made her truly a jewel in the MSO crown.
Obviously the highlight of our year has been the European tour. It was a whirlwind trip with no time to catch one’s breath but was worth it because of publicity it generated. It was a treat to perform in so many outstanding halls with our wonderful Chief Conductor Sir Andrew Davis. It’s thrilling to have the chance to strut your stuff to new audiences and gratifying when it’s well received. International touring is a healthy enterprise for orchestras to undertake, especially when you’re so far away from it all as we are in Australia. Roll on the next overseas trip!
We are delighted that Jack Schiller (principal bassoon), Yinuo Mu (principal harp), Rachel Tobin (associate principal cello) and Ann Blackburn (tutti oboe) have successfully completed their trial periods. Abbey Edlin and Jenna Breen are currently trialling a tutti horn position. Also on trial in the second violins are Francesca Hiew and Freya Franzen and Mike Szabo on bass trombone. Our Assistant Conductor Ben Northey and his wife have had a baby boy named Leo and around the same time Matthew Tomkins and Phillippa West from the second violins produced their son Benjamin. Bravi tutti! Education continues to be high in the MSO’s priorities. We had another very successful and well- attended Education Week in May. A committee is to be formed which will deal solely with education initiatives and will comprise players, management and members of the Board. A desire of some players to establish a pre-professional training programme for students has come to light and preliminary discussions have been held. We are in the midst of the Melbourne International Arts Festival. The MSO has played with disc jockey Jeff Mills and will play another concert backing Cypriot pop star Michalis Hatzigiannis. I think it’s a pity 40
Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique explained.
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Orchestra Victoria Tania Hardy Smith, cello While negotiations between Orchestra Victoria and The Australian Ballet were in their last phase in June, the orchestra was heading into an almost unprecedentedly busy period, fulfilling all the obligations put in place before the transition. Wedged between a very classical Triple Bill program followed by a Double Bill that included music from The White Stripes, we did the program Bodytorque which gives new choreographers a chance to have a work performed. Following the mid year break, the Production Company presented Guys and Dolls which was a lot of fun with the orchestra suspended on a platform above the stage. The Orchestra Victoria’s MOVE educational program visited several regional areas, building anticipation for the final concert in the Melbourne Town Hall, which provided lots of talented young musicians the chance
to perform in an orchestra and their mentors in the CBD. Apparently a great success. On the back of Guys and Dolls, we moved onwards with the Mostly Mozart series at the Recital Centre and a concert at the National Gallery, the MOVE program in Sale and Morning Melodies in Hamer Hall, all within a week of each other, encouraging fixed grins through clenched teeth on the faces of our small management team. We welcomed Amelia Davies and Margaret Lloyd to the team during this time, headed by Julie Amos, and it’s been great to see Issy Morse’s son Bennett become a regular face. They’ve hit the ground running – trial by fire was the perceived semi-continuous state of operation! Then Victorian Opera and Opera Australia launched their 2015 seasons within the space of two days before Showboat opened. Jonas
Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia – the end of the
Ring Cycle harps at Orchestra Victoria rehearsal
dress rehearsal of Götterdämmerung.
studio. From L-R: Jacinta Dennett, Jessica Fottinos,
Der Ring des Nibelungen, November 2013
Delyth Stafford, Yinuo Mu and Mary Anderson.
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Kaufmann at Hamer Hall and a staged performance of Norma with Victorian Opera lead us into the next ballet season of La Bayadère and Nutcracker, which could probably go on endless rotation and have full houses every night. We travelled next to Hamilton and Bendigo, performing different programs, then back for the Victorian Opera’s Big Sing which joined local community choral forces and young VO singers in many favourite arias and choruses. A small group travels to Sale next week for a concert then we all have a bit of a breather before Herald Sun Aria and the opera season kicks in. It’s really busy but also very gratifying to have so many projects to be involved in. There have been a few teething problems and some grumpy moments, but hopefully as we move to the end of the year everyone is trying to bring a bit more cohesion to our partnership. There are certainly a lot of meetings going on to increase understanding, so hopefully this bodes well for the immediate future. It’s been very interesting to observe the impact and effect of a larger, successful arts organisation such as the Ballet on the Orchestra – small details like new paint, working basins in the Ladies, room reconfiguration at Albert Park – we 42
now have a large lunch/reccy room with two working computers for our use! – practice rooms, etc, etc. And I think we all think it’s a great relief to still be here… In the last 2 years we’ve welcomed little Riley (Erica Kennedy, violin), Emil (Melissa Chominsky, cello), Anne (regular cello section visitor Paul Zabrowarny), Louis (Pippy Gardner, cello) -) and grandson Eli (Tania Hardy Smith, cello – yes, there’s something in the water…),Theodore (Paul Champion, clarinet), Imogen (Richard Sholl, clarinet), Elliot (Jasen Moulton, horn), Caspar (Rachel Hunt, violin), Sienna (Nadine Delbridge, viola) and Charlie (Yi Wang, Associate Concertmaster/violin). We’ve had four retirements – Rob Smithies, Gerry Evers (bass trombone and union rep extraordinaire), Paul Sablinskis (percussion) and most recently with a fabulous postconcert party, Michael Smith (piccolo). And finally, many of us farewelled our colleague, violinist Lesley Qualtrough at a very moving commemoration at Hawthorn Town Hall at the end of June. The capacity we have as musicians to gather together and play for our friends when they pass away is something very precious – it was a sad and wonderful event. Merry Christmas to everyone. BACK TO CONTENTS
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Richard Madden, trumpet The year started off with a Dr. Who special that went down a treat, followed by a successful concert with Simone Young and Shlomo Mintz. While still glowing in the aftermath we ended up getting a new musical director in Mintz – yes the violin player with a lot of connections! Due to this, next year’s programme is looking very good. Concerts this year have continued with trialing future chief conductors interspersed with the pit seasons of The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Opera Queensland. Some of these programs were pretty good, namely American Ballet Theatre with music to Fancy Free by Bernstein and the Brisbane Festival/ Opera Queensland production of The Perfect American by Philip Glass.
Our community outreach programs have included taking a wind quintet, a brass quintet and a string quintet to schools in Cairns to perform and give workshops. The tour also included a visit to Yarrabah Aboriginal community outside Cairns, to help their newly reformed band get some traction. Opera Queensland also did a tour of La Boheme round the state, picking up a chorus in each town – this was a great success not only in spirit but also a winner in ticket sales. QSO Horns represented the orchestra resplendently in August at the International Horn Society Symposium in London. Many fine soloists from the orchestra have performed this year – Sarah Wilson (Principal trumpet), Warwick Adeney (Concertmaster)
In rehearsal – The Perfect American by Philip Glass, a collaboration between Brisbane Festival and Opera
Richard Madden, Huw Jones and Michael Sterzinger
with Yarrabah local concert band members.
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and David Lale (Principal Cello) played the Brahms double wobble, Glenn Christensen (Principal 1st violin, now gone) and David Mitchell (associate principal bassoon). Piers Lane received a standing ovation for a spiffing performance of the Busoni Piano Concerto (the Phantasmagorical). Through all this, QSO management have steered our financial ship in the right direction, so all seems good.
QSO players on a mine tour in Mt Isa during a successful ‘Project Puccini’ visit by Opera Queensland
Good news – Thomas Allely and Lisa have welcomed baby Ian. Bad news – Pauline Smith (violin), Janine Grantham (flute), Glenn Christensen (violin) and John Gould (trumpet) have resigned and Simon Cobcroft (cello) is currently on trial as Principal Cello in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
with La Boheme and local chorus.
And before Chief Conductor Johannes Fritzsch becomes Conductor Laureate, we’re looking forward to our final concert and Mahler 3.
QSO Horns in front of Albert Hall, London. Attending the Symposium of the International Horn Society were, L-R: Viv Collier-Vickers, Ian O’Brien, Lauren Manuel, Peter Luff, Mal Stewart.
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Sydney Symphony Orchestra Geoff O’Reilly, French horn 2014 marked the start of our Chief Conductor and Artistic Director David Robertson’s five year adventure with us. After many years with Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy the orchestra is ready to take on our new leader and relish his thoughts and ideas. Our time with Mr. Ashkenazy was some of the most memorable musical times that I can remember in my 20 years with the orchestra. Our orchestra was blessed to have Maestro Ashkenazy as part of our musical lives for so many years and we look forward to his return.
For those who don’t know our new Chief Conductor well yet, he’s American-born and his other orchestra is St Louis Symphony. David is married to pianist Orli Shaham and has twin boys. In his youth, David was a student of the fine art of French horn – a man of class it seems! Our highlights with David this year have included: • recording of Holst The Planets • concerts of Beethoven 7, Strauss Electra and the music of John Williams played with love and care • the entire Beethoven piano concertos with Emanuel Ax
Ashkenazy’s last rehearsal (image courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
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devised by the musicians and staff to focus on our individual health and lifestyle choices. The idea is that it will contribute to the overall health and safety in our workplace. For those wanting more information on this, please go to the SSO website – it’s quite fabulous and I know the SSO musicians are very active in the activities provided. We appreciate the support we have been given from our management.
David Campbell and Kees Boersma (image courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
• and finally a successful tour to China featuring Ein Heldenleben and a piano concerto with the young and famous Chinese pianist Hoachen Zhang So, to our tour in China in June. Very hot, as were the concert halls but fabulous buildings. Over 14 days we travelled to Shanghai (party central, cocktails on the Bund), Beijing (old school cocktails in the Hutongs), Xian (pretty much the whole orchestra needed Imodium), Hangzhou, Shenzhen (pedicure centre of China), and Guangzhou (education centre, never seen so many students with Alexander 103 French horns). We’re looking forward to our 2015 return. Oh, and there was the piano that collapsed through the stage in Jinan but due to censorship I can’t go any further. 2014 has also seen the introduction of our Health and Well Being Program which was 46
Some fun things. Bravo to all our active sporting musicians that raised money for various charities, running the Sydney to surf. There is the Go-Karting club who meet every few months, special mention to Alex Norton who continues to just slide with ease around every course and win. Then there was the Scooter TT, this year’s course was a very demanding 195km from Sydney to the Blue Mountains and return, elevation was 990 metres so a little oxygen was required. We just love these days, well I do anyway. Also as I write, I think our trombonist Nick Byrne is embarking on a Postie Bike TT this weekend in the north of Sydney. It’s intense stuff at the SSO. On a serious note, a special mention to our new and not-so-new members of the orchestra. Rosemary Curtin – Viola, Marianne Broadfoot(Maz) – Associate Principal 2nd Violin and Umberto Clerici – Co-Principal Cello. Thanks also to Euan Harvey for his great work as VP over the last few years and as a SOMA rep. Finally, we welcome the great Kees Boersma as our new President to our players association, what a great addition to our committee ranks he is. Merry Christmas everyone. BACK TO CONTENTS
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Matt Goddard, timpani The final weeks of 2013 were busy with our Chief Conductor Marko Letonja recording Mozart arias with the wonderful Emma Matthews, and our final two Masters concerts, before winding the year up with the launch and live broadcast of music from the hugely successful CD of new Australian works that we recorded earlier in the year with Ben Northey for the Hush Foundation.
apart from putting up umbrellas and donning raincoats and we made it to interval before we had to finally call it a night. Outside of our subscription series we’ve had a stunning performance with Julia Leznehva for Hobart Baroque which won a Helpmann Award for Best Classical Music Performance, further work with MONA, both as part of the Dark MOFO festival around the Winter Solstice and our collobaration for the Synaesthesia + festival held over a weekend in the subterranean confines of the museum itself. ‘Mini-TSO’ has been busy with Baby Proms concerts, schools run outs and hospital performances, with some prison performances planned later in the year.
We were back into it a little earlier than usual to start out 2014 playing Pixar In Concert as part of MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art, Festival of Music and Art), our first appearance in this interesting and eclectic festival that comes to life in Hobart for a few days each summer. Summer was somewhat elusive this year and the rain that had been threatening all day finally arrived by the bucketful just moments before the downbeat of our annual Symphony Under the Stars concert in Hobart. The stoic audience remained unmoved
Image courtesy of MONA/Remi Chauvin.
On the industrial front, after a productive and co-operative negotiation and a unanimous vote in favour by the musicians, our new Enterprise Agreement was recently approved by the Fair Work Commission. Thanks to Douglas Mackie who this year stepped aside from his role as SOMA rep after 8 tireless years.
TSO and Richard Tognetti perform the Ligeti Violin Concerto at MONA as part of the Synaesthesia + Festival, August 2014.
We have farewelled TSO stalwart Michael Fortescue who was well into his fourth decade with the orchestra. Michael’s contribution to all facets of orchestral life both here and nationally has been profound and we wish him well in his future endeavours. Edwina George and Tahnee Van Herk have successfully completed their trials as Tutti Violin and Principal Bassoon respectively. Rob Clark recently celebrated 40 years as Principal Bass Trombone with the orchestra. We also welcome Jenny Compton who has joined the admin team as Outreach and Education Executive. BACK TO CONTENTS
West Australian Symphony Orchestra Melanie Pearn, violin WASO’s 2014 Season has been extremely busy with the orchestra presenting a variety of activities including concerts at the zoo during the summer, performances of Othello and The Magic Flute with WA Opera, yet another season of Giselle with WA Ballet, a performance in Northam to celebrate the centenary of Wesfarmers, its first road trip anywhere in eight years to Albany, and the usual Masters and Classics concerts. The highlight of the year for many was Perth’s inaugural Beethoven Festival, presented by new Principal Conductor Asher Fisch. Over two rehearsal packed weeks WASO presented all nine of Beethoven’s Symphonies (and repeat performances of some programs) to an excited audience. It was rewarding to have full houses for most of the performances. The other exciting news WASO has to share is that we finally have a home! From the beginning of 2015, the Perth Concert Hall will officially be the WASO home. WASO has signed a 20 year contract with the Perth Theatre Trust and the Dept of Culture and the Arts to oversee the everyday running of the Concert Hall. A number of players have passed their trials in the past 12 months, beginning to fill WASO’s many vacancies: Chloe Turner – Principal Contrabassoon, Liz Chee – Associate Principal Oboe, Julia Brooke – Tutti Horn, Zak Rowntree – Principal 2nd Violin, and Sharn McIver – Associate Principal Horn. We congratulate all these players and welcome the new comers to the orchestra. In late 2013 Brendon Richards (Violin) retired after more than 30 years of service with WASO. We wish him well in his retirement. Other farewells go to Guilio Plotino (Concertmaster) and Giovanni Pasini 48
(Principal Viola). We would also like to thank Margaret Blades (Associate Concertmaster) for all her hard work with WASO over the past 9 years. She has been sorely missed this year after the non-renewal of her contract. Congratulations to Louise Sandercock (Violin) for tying the knot with Brian Simpson. All the WASO players in attendance enjoyed the lovely ceremony. WASO has been experiencing a baby boom of sorts with the birth of 8 bubs since May 2013. Our best wishes to all the parents of little ones and the sleepless nights they endure between calls: Eve Silver (Cello) and Pete Miller (Trumpet) with Charlotte, Stephanie Dean (Violin) and Andrew with Theodore, Jane Kircher-Lindner (Principal Bassoon) and Dave with Kara, Andrew Rootes (Principal Double Bass) and Fiona with their second child James, Anna O’Hagan (Violin) and James with Emma, Rebecca Glorie (Violin) and Peter with their twin girls Lucy and Laura, and Josh Davis (Principal Trombone) and Donna with Bethany. Watch this space as the boom continues with two more babies already due in 2015.
Vladimir Verbitsky, Conductor Laureate, West Australian Symphony Orchestra – cartoon by Tim South, cello.
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INDUSTRIAL REPORT ORCHESTRA ENTERPRISE AGREEMENTS Howard Manley National SOMA Officer
AOBO – Current Agreement expires at end of 2014. Discussions with Players reps and the Company are now underway. Last salary increase was 3% in January 2013.
QSO – The current EA runs until end of 2015. Most recent salary increase was 2% in January 2014.Next programmed increase is 2.0% in January 2015.
ASO – Negotiations between the Company and the SOMA Reps are now underway for a new agreement. Last salary increase was 2.2% in June 2013.
SSO – Current Agreement runs until December 2015. Most recent salary increase was 3% January 2014. Next increase is 3.3% in January 2015.
OV – New three year Agreement came into operation with the change of ownership to the Australian Ballet. Salary increases are 1.5% December 2014 and a further 1.5% in February 2015, then 3% February 2016, and a further 3% February 2017.
TSO – New three year Agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission. Salary increases of 2.6% from May 1 2014, and then salary increase equal to the Hobart CPI from May 1 2015 and a further increase equal to Hobart CPI from May 1 2016.
MSO – The Players’ EA negotiating committee and the Company are finalising a package to put to the orchestra for their consideration as we go to press. Last salary increase was 2.2% in 2013
WASO – The current EA runs until the end of 2015. Most recent salary increase was 3.75% in January 2014. Next salary increase is 2.75% in January 2015.
SOMA FEDERAL EXECUTIVE • Membership • Finances • Honorary membership and honours • Flexibility of job descriptions • Orchestra Victoria – change of ownership arrangements • The Ring • AOBO – discussion of ‘outsourcing’ for Opera on the Harbour
JULY 2014 MEETING – AGENDA
• Newsletter/senza sord • Outcomes of ASO Strategic Review • Public liability insurance – encourage members to sign up • Instrument insurance • YPA in Adelaide • Orchestra reports • Industrial report • Sue McCready –
presentation of new MEAA website developments • MEAA restructure and financial position The next executive meeting is in Melbourne, November 23/24. If you have any items you would like to put on the agenda, please speak to your SOMA representative.
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SOMA FEDERAL EXECUTIVE
RESTRUCTURING THE UNION – MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT AND ARTS ALLIANCE (MEAA) Simon Collins Federal President MEAA viola, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Over the past three years, the Management Committee of MEAA have been leading substantial discussions to restructure the governance processes of the Union. MEAA started as the amalgamation of three unions – journalists (AJA), actors (Equity) and theatre technicians (ATAEA) – back in 1990. The amalgamated entity incorporated the best (and worst!) of its parts. Gradual change occurred for the next 20 years – often driven by attrition rather than good planning. The next union election (March next year) will see the completion of our restructure exercise. Over the last few years we have strengthened all our sectional structures involving member activists in a better organised way – much as SOMA has been from its birth in 1995. The geographical structures (branches) had been becoming less effective for many years, and amounted to excessive and at times unworkable middle management problems running the union and utilising members’ resources effectively. While we still need strong activist organisation out of our branches on industrial issues, we needed to consolidate the management processes to be more effective and efficient. Some of these changes have been phased in over the last few years with Qld and WA branches for instance having no ‘elected employed officers’ at the last two elections. At the next election, members will be selecting only honorary officers. All employed officers and staff of the union will be selected on merit and performance. This will include the position of Federal Secretary – the chief executive of the union. 50
The day to day management of the union since amalgamation has been overseen by the Federal Management Committee – the Honorary Federal Officers. We have doubled the size of this group and it will now operate as a board. The ultimate authority in the union continues to rest with the Federal Council – a much larger body, also made up entirely of member delegates. At the next election, musicians will be voting for a Federal President, a Section President and one of five Vice-President positions, as well as two Federal Council positions. Depending on numbers, there will be numerous branch committee officers and delegates as well. If you are interested to become involved in the union’s representative structure please get in touch with me or with your SOMA delegates. Finally, a word about Chris Warren, Federal Secretary of the MEAA since the amalgamation. Chris advised the board early this year that he would not be seeking to carry on in the new appointed position as our chief executive. Unions are not easy places in which to work! Activists are very passionate and debate is always ‘robust’. Chris has led the union through some very great challenges, and he has managed the union’s finances so that we remain in a very good position. We have weathered problems with antagonistic government policies and declining union membership. Chris has always been supportive of SOMA not least encouraging a high level of autonomy. On behalf of SOMA I want to thank him for his leadership and advice and wish him very best for whatever he chooses to take up next. The Board is already working through the selection of our first appointed Chief Executive. BACK TO CONTENTS
Penultimate bar Are Orchestras Really in Crisis? A Debate: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/114221/ orchestras-crisis-outreach-ruining-them
Ulster Orchestra in trouble: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ uk-northern-ireland-29637894
International Conference on Music Streaming, Budapest Music Center | 20-21 November 2014: http://www.50-percent-for-performers.org/
Sydney Symphony Orchestra: http://www.smh.com.au/business/ sydney-symphony-orchestra-musiciansstay-long-time-in-jobs-20140515-zrdi9. html#ixzz32D1ob2V1
Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Minister for the Arts Richard Dreyfus QC on the arts: http://www.artshub.com.au/news-article/ news/public-policy/shadow-arts-ministermark-dreyfus-says-small-to-medium-sector%E2%80%98hugely-important-246204
http://www.courier-journal. com/article/20110722/ OPINION02/307220021/1016/OPINION/ Support-Louisville-Orchestra-musicians?ody ssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7COpinio n%7Cp
British Orchestras: http://www.independent.co.uk/ arts-entertainment/classical/news/british-orchestras-are-in-danger-of-losing-topbilling-despite-rising-ticket-sales-9085502. html National Opera Review: http://arts.gov.au/news/2014/09/nationalopera-review-terms-reference-released Columbus new music director: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/ life_and_entertainment/2014/09/10/q-a-rossen-milanov-symphonys-new-music-director. html
1300 368 117 for a great deal
‘Washed Orchestra’ – sign seen in market in Oxford, UK, courtesy of Victor Sangiorgio.
ppca Phonographic Performance Company of Australia
PERFORMERS’ TRUST FOUNDATION Providing grants to promote and encourage music and the performing arts www.ppca.com.au
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Final Note Association of British Orchestras Conference, London, January 2014 and Paul Morley
This Final Note will be brief. In January 2014 I attended the annual conference of the Association of British Orchestras hosted by the London Symphony Orchestra in association with the Barbican. The conference was themed New Directions, and looked at the future for orchestras, particularly in the areas of funding, audiences and education (the ABO website is worth a visit – www. abo.org.uk/). I participated in a session New Directions for Orchestras: Appraising the Musician, giving a presentation on Orchestra Victoria’s Annual Feedback Procedure. For conference archives, and links to information about the 2015 conference in Leeds, titled People Power visit http://www.abo.org.uk/ connecting/annual-conference/conferencearchive.aspx
One of the most interesting aspects of the conference was the opening address by the UK’s Paul Morley, described as ‘rock, pop and cultural commentator . . . and recent convert to classical music.’ His long, creative and inspiring speech can be read at http:// www.sinfinimusic.com/uk/features/series/ paul-morley/abo-conference-2014 And another piece in the Guardian http:// www.theguardian.com/music/2014/sep/21/ pop-belongs-last-century-classical-music-relevant-future-paul-morley. He’s well worth a read.
Tania Hardy Smith
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MEAA Application Form â€“ SOMA Section I,_________________________________________ of the__________________________________ Orchestra hereby make application to join the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (and its related State registered unions where they exist) as a member of the Symphony Orchestra Musicians Association (SOMA), and agree to be bound by its rules and Constitution as amended from time to time. Title:
Last Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ First Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________________ D.O.B: _______________________________________ Address:_______________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ State:__________________________________ Pcode:___________________________ Phone: (home) ___________________________________________________________ (work)____________________________________________________________ (mobile) __________________________________________________________ Email: _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Previous Member: Employment Status:
Method of Payment Payment may be made in one of the following methods. Please indicate your preference (choose ONE ONLY) with 3 in the appropriate box cash/cheque one off payment
credit card (please indicate your preference below) monthly
Credit Card Details: Bankcard Mastercard
Please complete this application form and hand it to your SOMA delegate/ committee member or mail directly to : Alliance Membership Centre Locked Bag 526 Spring Hill QLD 4004 Phone: 1300 65 65 13 Email: email@example.com Internet: http://www.alliance.org.au
Name of cardholder:_______________________________________________________ Card Number: _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _
Expiry Date: _ _ / _ _
direct debit financial institution â€“ _four weekly deduction only (please complete the PDC form attached) employer deduction from regular pay (please complete the section below) Payroll Deduction Authorisation To the Paymaster: I wish to authorize payment of my subscription to the Symphony Orchestra Musicians Association to be paid by fortnightly payroll deduction to the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance. Signature: _______________________________________________________________
Date: _ _ / _ _ / _ _
Alliance membership fees are levied annually by Federal Council in consultation with the SOMA Executive. All membership fees are tax deductible. If you leave the industry and wish to resign your membership, you must do so in writing to your Branch Secretary, in other cases, three months written notice of resignation must be given. 53
November 2014 edition