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Welcome Welcome to our first edition of Prompt Corner for 2012, a behind-the-scenes look at Melbourne Recital Centre and its concert and event program designed especially for our inner circle of donors, business partners and members. It’s been a most exciting three months since our last edition. Our Local Heroes and Great Performers 2012 subscription series have started and we’ve enjoyed a number of stand- out jazz, world and contemporary music performances as well. The program in coming weeks in no less exciting as the Centre co-presents the Metropolis New Music Festival with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra from 27 April – 5 May and hosts visits by Americans Susan Graham, the wonderful mezzo and minimalist composer Steve Reich. An important focus of our philanthropic programs right now is Share the Music, a ticket and transport subsidy scheme supported by our regular concert-goers that enables us to invite disadvantaged children and adults to experience Recital Centre concerts. Since the program began in 2010, we’ve shared our wonderful hall and its great music with nearly 580 people who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to attend. This year, the program has received a terrific boost with our generous benefactor Annamila Pty Ltd providing a dollar for dollar matching grant for all Share the Music donations received before 30 June up to $50,000. I hope you will consider donating to this very worthwhile program and allow us to maximise the benefit of this generous matching grant opportunity. Enjoy our Autumn season. I look forward to seeing you at Melbourne Recital Centre soon.

Mary Vallentine AO Chief Executive Officer

Yann Tiersen

Lighting Control: Elisabeth Murdoch Hall

Eddi Reader


Small hands give a rousing ovation programs in Victoria by targeting pre-schoolers and early primary-aged children. Melbourne does not have another dedicated music festival for children of this scope. This year’s event explored the music and traditions of China and Japan with a new main stage work commissioned from Melbourne composer Wang Zheng Ting based on the animals of the Chinese zodiac. Featuring original music and animation, the work will now travel to Brisbane for the Out of the Box festival in June.

The halls of Melbourne Recital Centre came alive between 18 and 22 January this year as children from across Victoria celebrated a music festival designed just for them. Now in its second year, MusicPlay is a summer festival that encourages young children and their families to engage with music through play-based concerts, workshops and music installations. The events are low cost or free. The 2012 festival featured 24 concerts and events compared with 12 the previous year as well as a substantially increased program of free installations and activities. The extensive program was a response to the incredible feedback of participants in 2011 and was made possible with the support of The Hugh Williamson Foundation and new partnerships with City of Melbourne, 3AW Radio and Melbourne’s Child. ArtPlay and the Chinese Museum were program partners, their involvement increasing the number of interactive workshops on offer. The Centre’s Principal Sponsor Audi Australia also joined the fun, supplying child-sized Audi mini push cars as part of the free foyer activities. MusicPlay provides opportunities for very young children, from babies through to early primary students to listen, dance, explore and play while learning the rudiments of music - beat, rhythm, melody and an introduction to instruments. It addresses a gap in delivery of music education

A second major commission for the festival, Sound Explorers created by Graeme Leak of Spaghetti Western Orchestra fame and Run Stop Sound also looks set to head interstate as well. MusicPlay is the centerpiece of Melbourne Recital Centre’s music education and development program. It is a major financial investment for the Centre, however with attendances increasing each year and satisfaction ratings of 96%, the Centre looks forward to welcoming even more budding musicians and their parents and carers back to Melbourne Recital Centre again next year.


103 cheers for Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Dame Elisabeth is presented with her birthday cake by family members Lachlan and Elisabeth Murdoch.

As the final chords washed against the blond walls of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at a concert on February 8, the assembled audience were in no doubt that a love of music is central to the life of the hall’s namesake, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE. The occasion for this concert was a combined celebration of Dame Elisabeth’s 103rd birthday and the third birthday of Melbourne Recital Centre.

Acknowledged as one of Melbourne’s most loved citizens, Dame Elisabeth was recognised for her outstanding public contributions as well as the more private joys of a woman whose children, grand children, and great grandchildren now number well over 100. Alongside friends and family of the Murdoch clan, in the audience were political leaders including Victoria’s Governor, the Honourable Alex Chernov AC QC, Premier Ted Ballieu, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, former Governor’s Gobbo and De Krester as well as members of the Australian music and cultural communities. The Premier celebrated Dame Elisabeth’s status as one of Victoria’s most beloved citizens, and commended her long history as one of the state’s, and the nation’s, most active philanthropists. Begging the audience to forgive his cheek, Mr Ballieu joked that many audience members would be familiar with the classical music station 3MBS (103.5) and that we all looked forward to marking the moment when Dame Elisabeth would be joining that other great radio station, ABC Classic FM at 105.9.


mentioning that the pile of books and novels that sat beside her bed was tall enough to provide a good hiding spot during a childhood game of hide-and-seek. The event also enabled Melbourne Recital Centre to mark its own significant achievements since opening. In recent times the Centre has expanded its performance schedule to over 320 concerts and events a year across a diverse range of music genres, with concurrent growth in attendance. This strong base has enabled the Centre to launch a number of new philanthropic programs that are assisting it to play a leadership role in the development of Victorian musicians through performance opportunities, The Premier then returned to a more serious note wishing Dame Elisabeth a very happy birthday on behalf of all Victorians saying: “Dame Elisabeth, your love of life and life of love is a joy to us all. Happy birthday.” One of the key events of the evening was the announcement that Dame Elisabeth was being granted the status of a Freewoman of the City of Melbourne. This is the highest honour that can be afforded by the city (Melbourne having already granted Dame Elisabeth the keys to the city) and represents the first time that a woman has been so honoured. Making the announcement, Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle acknowledged Dame Elisabeth’s position as one of Australia’s leading philanthropists whose invaluable contributions to the Victorian community encompass the fields of medical science, social wellbeing and the arts. The last recipient of the honour was Nelson Mandela when he visited Melbourne in 1990, and other previous recipients include Sir Robert Menzies, Sir Henry Bolte and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

competitions and masterclasses and initiate new music education programs like the MusicPlay children’s music festival and the Music on the Mind lecture series. The music at the event reflected Dame Elisabeth’s great love of Mozart, with acclaimed forte-pianist Geoffrey Lancaster performing the adagio from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No 12 and Joe Chindamo (piano), Zoe Black (violin) and Friends playing a jazz infused arrangement of a work by Mozart. Voices joined the program as The Consort of Melbourne performed two works, one by Renaissance composer William Byrd and the other by Melbourne’s own Percy Grainger before leading the audience in a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. The concert was followed by a cocktail reception in the Audi foyer.

Michael and Kate Kantor also had the opportunity to provide a more personal insight into their “Granny”, regaling guests with stories of Dame Elisabeth’s deep involvement with her grandchildren, her patience and even her love of listening to their amateur musical performances during summers at Cruden Farm. The Kantors offered an insight into Dame Elisabeth’s voracious appetite for knowledge with Michael


Celebrating the best of Melbourne’s Local Heroes In 2012 Melbourne Recital Centre has developed a program that is delivering unprecedented benefits to both the Centre and Australian musicians. Our new Local Heroes program is the result of several years of growing support for Melbournebased ensembles. Since opening, the Centre has worked with Melbourne ensembles to co-present concerts; the ensembles receiving valuable performance opportunities in one of the country’s most desirable venues, and Melbourne Recital Centre gaining access to some of the best music through cost-effective partnerships. In 2012 the new Local Heroes program presents over 70 concerts by 21 ensembles. Individual concert programs offer an eclectic and interesting range of repertoire from renaissance and baroque to 20th century minimalism and everything in between. For cellist Svetlana Bogosavljevic, one of three members of Melbourne’s acclaimed Ensemble Liaison, the marketing elements of self-presenting concerts can be one of the greater challenges. “Organising the time for all the administration, gaining media coverage and then the expenses of advertising on top of practising and rehearsing, provide some of the major challenges for an independent ensemble”, she says. The relationship with Melbourne Recital Centre isn’t just administrative however. Ensemble Liaison comprises cello, piano and clarinet – not the most usual group of instruments so they regularly collaborate with other artists. “Due to a limited repertoire for our combination we have come up with the idea of bringing our friends and colleagues to join us”, she says. “Most of the time we contact them ourselves, but we recently had a terrific collaboration with an international violinist which came about with the help of Melbourne Recital Centre. One of the advantages of the Local Heroes program for Melbourne Recital Centre, and in turn the musicians, is the ability to sell subscription packages across the whole range of concerts. The benefit to audiences is the opportunity to sample different ensembles and styles of music at an accessible price. ’Local Heroes’ also enables audiences to make a conscious choice to ‘buy local’, supporting local musicians in a way that is easy and clearly identifiable. And, it offers a chance for audiences to increase their engagement with the musicians themselves.

Alongside the publication of a special Local Heroes brochure and an online box office, Local Heroes also has its own blog, to enable audiences to gain a better understanding of the creative process, keep up-to-date with the performance schedule and even have a read through the Local Heroes Music Manifesto. Melbourne Recital Centre has been delighted with the response to the Local Heroes program. Kirsten Siddle, Director of Programming and Presenter Services, says that the response from audiences has been very positive. “Local Heroes enables us to celebrate the support Melbourne Recital Centre gives and receives from Melbourne’s vibrant and talented music community”, she says. “All the ensembles involved in the Local Heroes program have engaged strongly with its vision, working with us to develop their programs, supply content for the blog and helping to market the program to their own audiences”. The Centre is also exploring funding options to enable it to produce a Local Heroes recording, featuring performances by ensembles in the program in the near future. “Melbourne Recital Centre is proud of the strong relationships it has with Melbourne’s music community”, Kirsten says, “Local Heroes provides an outstanding opportunity for us to extend our programming for the benefit of audiences, musicians and the Centre”. For further information on Local Heroes visit melbournerecital.com.au/localheroes or melbournelocalheroes.com.au


Montblanc joins to help Australian musicians climb to new heights

Montblanc, one of the world’s leading luxury goods brands, joins Melbourne Recital Centre in the creation of a new Montblanc Masterclass series that will provide opportunities for professional Australian musicians. The partnership represents an Australian first for Montblanc which has a global reputation for its support of culture. The new program will bring together performers from Melbourne Recital Centre’s Great Performers recital series with young and emerging professional Australian musicians for two private masterclasses. In 2012, the Montblanc Masterclasses will provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for Melbournebased singers to work with two of the world’s leading classical vocalists, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and soprano Christine Brewer. Susan Graham and Christine Brewer, who present solo recitals at the Centre in April and August respectively, are internationally recognised artists celebrated for their technical mastery, musical expression and sparkling theatricality.

The masterclasses will take place in the Salon on the days following their Elisabeth Murdoch Hall concerts and will provide opportunities for between four and six singers drawn from the local industry. Melbourne Recital Centre’s CEO Mary Vallentine is delighted with this new partnership that is enabling such great opportunities for our young artists. “For over 100 years Montblanc has been creating some of the world’s most exquisite writing instruments. Their passionate commitment to design and the highest levels of craftsmanship is inspiring,” Ms Vallentine said. “Extending the benefit of our Great Performers by providing opportunities for the next generation of musicians to hone their craft is an important part of Melbourne Recital Centre’s charter,” she said. “Melbourne Recital Centre is about more than just an exemplary acoustic - we are an important conduit for sharing knowledge and learning that enhances opportunities for young Australian artists”. Alongside the support of Montblanc, the second masterclass with soprano Christine Brewer is being supported by a generous gift from Dr Cherilyn Tillman and Mr Tam Vu through the Elisabeth Murdoch Creative Development Fund. And just in case there was any doubt that the event wouldn’t be a dazzling enough display of talent, Susan Graham has agreed to wear pieces from Montblanc’s jewellery range just to add a little more sparkle to the first event.


New Honour Board pays tribute to Centre’s Patrons and Business Partners. Melbourne Recital Centre has unveiled a new honour board in the Audi Foyer, which recognises the important contributions that donors and corporate sponsors have made, and continue to make to the strength of music in Melbourne. Unveiled as part of the celebrations to mark Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s 103rd birthday and the Centre’s third anniversary, the speciallycommissioned, frosted glass honour board has been designed to complement the Centre’s award-winning architecture and provides an elegant new addition to the Audi Foyer. The Honour Board comes following changes to the Centre’s Development area which have included the establishment of the Elisabeth Murdoch Creative Development Fund and Music Circle patrons program. It represents an opportunity for Melbourne Recital Centre to honour the contributions private individuals, trusts, foundations and corporations make to the Centre’s ongoing success. CEO Mary Vallentine says that the honour board provides an “appropriate way to acknowledge our wonderful supporters whose contributions ensure the scope and diversity of Melbourne Recital Centre’s artistic program”.

Become our Local Hero Melbourne Recital Centre’s Music Circle patrons program ensures that we continue to be a leader in the development of Australian music and the most exciting music venue in Australia. As a Music Circle patron, your tax-deductible gift has a direct impact on the vitality and depth of our artistic, education and outreach programs, making the Melbourne Recital Centre the very best place to hear, share and learn about music. Learn more and pledge your support by contacting: Sandra Robertson, Director of Development p: (03) 9207 2641 e: sandra.robertson@melbournerecital.com.au

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Prompt Corner - April 2012