03: April 2014

If you want to put a big smile on your face, there’s a couple of videos on The Music Trust website (www.musictrust.com.au) that come with our guarantee. HBO in the USA found wonderfully talented kids from across the country performing every sort of music and got them to play and talk. We’ve been trying to get access to these films for ages and now have them online. Go to EDUCATION and then INSPIRATIONS.

We’ll bet Australia has such kids, too. But we don’t have a film.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra has done something amazing. “ACO Digital” is an elaborate installation. You stand in a room surrounded by projection screens. On each of the screens one of the 13 members of the orchestra is playing; the sound from each player comes from their screen. Across the bottom of the screen below each player scrolls the score of their part.

At the centre of the room is a computer on which the sound from each player can be controlled. So a visitor can change the balance of the orchestra or fade sections or individual players in or out. In a brand new take on Music Minus One, the visitor can bring e.g. their cello, fade the ACO cello out and play the cello part. It’s a world first.

Last year, the ACO produced a DVD, The Reef, with the orchestra performing a special score in the outback north-west, devised to go with a film of the reef, surfing and dry land. Now it has a new and similar project to be filmed in the mountains, and intended for cinema release.

Keep your eye on the government’s efficiency review of the public broadcasters. There are disturbing rumours…

The Victorian government had an inquiry into school music education which produced some pretty good recommendations. The report has been around for a few months now and the government under its own statutes must respond to it when parliament resumes in May. Of course, its response could be to do nothing, officially. But why have a review if you don’t intend to act on it? Let’s be optimistic.

Meanwhile, The Music Trust joined the members of the National Advocates for Arts Education in a meeting with Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Although he states a great interest in teacher quality, Pyne was vehemently unwilling to make any incursions on state teacher accreditation bodies. However, he showed strong interest in the idea of specialist teaching in primary schools, not just in the arts but in all subjects. He said that since the Commonwealth funds tertiary education, he could exert some influence there to get specialists trained. What exactly that might mean, only time will tell.

Limelight, the magazine founded yonks ago by the ABC as a guide to its classical music radio programs, was sold to private enterprise. Then it lost money and was about to be closed when young composer and presenter Andrew Batt-Rawden bought it. Andrew brings a musician’s love and knowledge of music and comes from a publishing family so he is about as well set up to make a success of the venture as anyone could be – even in a time of falling magazine sales generally. He has great plans. Limelight continues as a print magazine but also has a foot firmly in the online world.

The Music Council of Australia’s magazine, Music Forum, has stopped print publication and gone online.

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