“Strike a Chord” winners

Above are the twelve ensembles who were Strike a Chord finalists. After an afternoon of stunning performances, they are assembled to hear the jury’s verdict.

Click on the button below to see the list of winners. Or click on the video link to watch the entire concert – it’s worth it!

Congratulations to Musica Viva and all the participants.

ACCess: Australian Chamber Choir’s Excellent Streaming Service

The ACC’s Top Dozen Choral Classics performances, originally scheduled for June 2020, were rescheduled three times, and finally took place over two weekends in August 2022.

According to choir members, “It was worth the wait. We really enjoyed singing the choral works that received the most votes.” These included Allegri’s Miserere, Mozart’s Ave verum, Bach’s Lobet den Herrn, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Purcell’s Hear my prayer, Tallis’ Lamentations. And there’s more.

The concerts were recorded, and are now available on ACCess, the Australian Chamber Choir’s Excellent Streaming Service.

National Cultural Policy takes shape

The Albanese Labor Government’s landmark National Cultural Policy is taking shape, with artists and entertainers all over the country having their say on the future of their industry.

Musicians, dancers, writers, actors, directors, producers, painters and industry leaders of all kinds have participated in 14 town hall meetings in every state and territory over the last two months.

They’ve also made more than 1200 written submissions about how the Government can ensure their industry has a bright future.

Development of the policy will now enter a new phase as our Review Panels identify the key issues and themes raised through the consultation process and help craft what will be a comprehensive roadmap for Australia’s arts and culture sectors for the decades ahead.

To support this process the Government is also establishing an Expert Advisory Group to provide overarching strategic advice. The Advisory Group includes:

  • Ms Janet Holmes à Court AC (WA) is an Australian businesswoman and arts philanthropist, who has served as chair of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Black Swan State Theatre Company and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and on the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
  • Mr Adrian Collette AM (NSW) is Chief Executive Officer of the Australia Council for the Arts, who has held previous roles as the Chief Executive of Opera Australia and in the higher education and publishing sectors.
  • Ms Alysha Herrmann (SA) is a writer, performance-maker, creative producer and youth arts worker from regional South Australia.
  • Ms Sinsa Mansell (TAS) is a Trawoolaway woman and co-founder, performer, and choreographer with pakana kanaplila, a Traditional/Contemporary Tasmanian Aboriginal dance troupe.
  • Ms Kitty Taylor (TAS) is a visual artist from lutruwita / Tasmania. She is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of RANT Arts, a peak arts organisation that administers the Regional Arts Fund in Tasmania. Her passion is for socially engaged practice and creating programs that build the capacity of both individuals and communities. Kitty is a member of the Institute of Community Directors Australia.
  • Mr Christos Tsiolkas (VIC) is an award-winning Australian author and a patron for the Victorian Writers Centre and Outer Urban Projects.
  • Professor Clare Wright OAM (VIC) is an award-winning historian, author, broadcaster and public commentator, and is currently a Professor of History and Professor of Public Engagement at La Trobe University

The new cultural policy will have five pillars:

  • First Nations first: recognising and respecting the crucial place of these stories at the centre of our arts and culture.
  • A place for every story: reflecting the diversity of our stories and the contribution of all Australians as the creators of culture.
  • The centrality of the artist: supporting the role of artists as creators and everyone in the sector as workers.
  • Strong institutions: providing support across the spectrum of institutions – funded, philanthropic and commercial – which sustain our arts and culture.
  • Reaching the audience: ensuring our stories reach the people at home and abroad.

Labor has a proud history of support for the arts.

Both the Keating and Gillard Governments developed cultural policies.

We will deliver a new National Cultural Policy before the end of the year.

The arts, entertainment and cultural sector is important to who we are as Australians and plays a vital role in the economy. And now it has a Government that listens, cares and is determined to deliver a better future for our creative talent.

Public submissions have now closed. To read the submissions – which are being progressively published on the Office for the Arts’ website – and for more information on next steps, visit: www.arts.gov.au/culturalpolicy.

Kym Dillon meets Croissants & Whiskey and Continuo

Croissants & Whiskey gave their debut concert on Saturday 23 July, as part of Yarra City Council’s “Leaps and Bounds and Beyond” Music Festival.

The very elegant Reading Room of the Fitzroy Town Hall was packed with people munching croissants, sipping whisky and enjoying wonderful playing by the quartet. One of the highlights was hearing Katie Yap play Emily Sheppard’s Aftermath live – the recording was the first video we put on the Continuo site during lockdown last year. Click here to watch and listen.

Amongst the audience were Kym Dillon, the 2022 Continuo Composer, and Helen Vorrath, Continuo Director and member of the first Continuo Commissioning Circle. It was a great opportunity for Kym to meet Continuo and to hear Croissants & Whiskey playing together. It’s inspired her to write the first of what we hope will be a series of updates on the progress of the project.  You can follow Kym’s story in Circle News.

Croissants & Whiskey playing at the Fitzroy Town Hall.

Photo Darren James

One year on… our first anniversary

One year ago, a group of chamber music aficionados gathered in a cafe and resolved to found Continuo Community. By the end of July 2021 the organisation was incorporated and the website created with a What’s On full of August events. The first Continuo Connect newsletter went out on Thursday 29 July 2021.

Since then, so much has happened. Almost immediately Victoria went into lockdown, and all those August events were cancelled. Then the September events. Then the October events. But we soldiered on, advertising all the streaming options that we could find. We made the newsletter weekly because we thought people needed something to read. We moved it from Thursday to “hump day” (Wednesday) as it fitted better with the weekly cycle of events.

When lockdown finally ended, there was an explosion of concerts, and we busied ourselves adding them to What’s On and adding information about the ensembles to the Who’s Who section of the website. There was a wealth of new music played or premiered in these concerts, and details of the Victorian composers whose music was featured were also added to Who’s Who.

We started Continuo Community not only to bring chamber music lovers together, but also to commission new chamber music from Victoria-based composers for local ensembles. Funding would come by forming Commissioning Circles, a group of equal contributors for each project. And earlier this year, we put together the first Circle and commissioned our first work.

Given the difficulties of starting something in the middle of a pandemic, we feel that Continuo has done well in its first year.

A renewed National Cultural Policy – Submissions invited

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for the Arts

“The new Labor Government is consulting with artists and creators across Australia as they develop a new National Cultural Policy that they hope will bring drive, direction and vision back to the arts industry.

Creative Australia is to be be used as the starting point for an updated National Cultural Policy that Minister Tony Burke intends to deliver before the end of the year.

The official consultation process began on 1 July with the launch of a new website where any Australian with an interest in arts, entertainment and culture can make a written submission.

The government will also host a series of town hall meetings in every state and territory – starting in Hobart on Wednesday, July 6 – so they can hear directly from artists in every corner of Australia about what they need.”

Media Release 1 July 2022

No doubt there will be people making submissions insisting that AFL football is “culture” or “entertainment”. And other much more legitimate forms of art and culture will be actively seeking more support.

If you think that chamber music won’t get the recognition it deserves, then you have the opportunity change that. In this post-pandemic world of tight budgets, there will never be enough money to go round. If you have an idea about how money could best be spent to support chamber music, please consider making a submission. It could just make a difference.

EOFY donation suggestions

Here’s our list of ways that you can express your support for chamber music with a tax-deductible donation.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music

Yes, we know that Townsville isn’t in Victoria. But we also know how many Victorians go north in winter to mix some sun with wonderful chamber music performances. So we thought we’d mention that bookings are now open, because it’s usually a sellout.

Click on the logo for more information.

Townsville, Queensland.
29 July to 07 August 2022

Selby and Friends come to Primrose Potter Salon in 2022

Experience five glorious and intimate chamber concerts with an ensemble of artists counted amongst the best in the world.

This stellar line-up includes pianist Kathryn Selby AM, SSO Concertmaster Andrew Haveron, SSO Principal Violist Tobias Breider, QSO Concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto, ACO Principal Cello Timo-Veikko Valve, violinists Natalie Chee, Grace Clifford and Dene Olding, and cellists Julian Smiles, Richard Narroway and Clancy Newman.  Watch the 2022 season video (right).

The March concert is currently sold out, so book early if you want to enjoy any of the later concerts.

Flinders Quartet 2022 season announced

In 2022, the Flinders Quartet completes their recording project of the works for string quartet by Margaret Sutherland in partnership with ABC Classic, undertakes their first national tour for Musica Viva Australia with Karin Schaupp (guitar), records for broadcast no less than four new works by emerging and established composers, continue their celebrated Composer Development Program, continues their role as Artistic Patrons of John Noble’s Quartet Program, and commissions seven new works to be played alongside our beloved Beethoven, Brahms and Haydn. 

Constantly evolving, they have begun work on a new online string quartet hub, FQ Digital. It will be a one-stop portal for you to enjoy online content, interviews, exploration into the music, curated listening and viewing, and more. With a variety of free and paid content, an FQ Digital subscription will give you broad access like never before. Who needs Netflix?!

Australian Cultural Fund removes service fee on donations

In response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and our commitment to artists and the sector, Creative Partnerships Australia is pleased to announce that from 9am AEDT, 1 December 2021 the service fee on new donations to the Australian Cultural Fund has been removed.

By eliminating the fee, 100% of donations raised by artists on the ACF will go directly to their creative project or initiative, supporting the arts and cultural sector during this time of recovery.

To help relieve the impact of the pandemic on the Australian arts community, the ACF supported campaigns such as the National Assistance Program for the Arts and Theatre Network Australia’s 1000X1000 Crisis Cash for Artists which saw the service fee waived for these COVID-19 response initiatives. We are now excited to be able to extend this initiative across the board for all artists using the ACF platform.

Viva Edge – new in 2022

Viva Edge is Musica Viva Australia’s newest chamber music concert series located at The Edge in Federation Square, Melbourne. It replaces the old Melbourne Morning Masters season with lunchtime concerts.

Enjoy The Edge’s acoustics and architecture in an inviting and informal setting, with convenient transport options close at hand.

ACO 2022

2022 is a transformative new era for the ACO. We return to you, our beloved audiences, right across Australia with a National Concert Season that knows no boundaries. We present our acclaimed immersive film series, ACO StudioCasts, where you’ll be completely swept away by Richard and the Orchestra.

The ACO has always blazed its own trail. 2022 is no exception. Flights are booked, hotel rooms are reserved, freight cases are ready. We hope you’ll join us.

The ACO has three Melbourne season options, on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Musica Viva launches 2022 season

Any concert season tells a story, and the one Musica Viva Australia tells in 2022 is simple, if boldly told: it is a tale of creativity during adversity; of partnerships that span the country and the world; of resilience, communal experience and the sheer, astonishing joy of live performance.

Continuo is launched

Formed by a bunch of Melburnians who are passionate about chamber music, the Continuo Community aims to provide a one-stop-shop for Victorians wanting to find out what’s on and where, who’s who and what they’re doing, and what’s new in the chamber music scene in Victoria.

For those who join the community, there will be opportunities to support chamber music in a myriad of ways, from finance to friendship, advice and assistance.