On This Day… Save ANAM

I’m taking a slightly different tack for this post. I’m calling everyone to help spread the word. The “Honorable” Peter Garrett, AM, MP, former lead singer of Midnight Oil and now Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, as announced that the Federal Government will cut all funding to the Australian National Academy of Music. ANAM is Australia’s Premiere training institution for classical musicians. It is to classical musicians what the Australian Institute of Sport (which has produced many of Australia’s greatest athletes) is to sport. After being established in 1994 under Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating, over the years the federal government has given unchanged financial support to the effect of $2.5 million over a number of years. For the year ending 31 December, 2005, ANAM received a total income of $2.9 million. For the financial year 2005-2006, the Australian Institute of Sport received $168.6 million from the Federal Government alone, with a total operating income of $190.5 million.

It makes me sick. The AIS operating income for 2005-2006 could run ANAM for 65 years, on its 2005 income. From just 1 year!

ANAM feeds its musicians into Australia’s orchestras. Of the 7 major Symphony orchestras in Australia, ANAM Woodwind players hold 7 principal positions. Without this training institution, Australia’s musicians will look elsewhere for their training, elsewhere being overseas, where they are more likely to remain. If there is no training institutions in Australia, the quality of Australian orchestral playing will also drop.

What can we do?

We need to let Peter Garrett know that this decision is a disasterous one, and is not a decision the Australian people will stand for. I have already written to Peter Garrett, voicing my opposition and asking him to reconsider, and I encourage you to do so as well at his Parliament House page. You can also E-mail the Shadow Minister for the Arts, Steven Ciobo. You can also sign the online petition started by ANAM. If you Have Facebook, you can join the groups “I Support the Australian National Academy of Music” or “Save ANAM” Getting the word out there is also important. I encourage anyone who has a blog to write about this. If you’ve got Twitter, or facebook, write about it. Link back here – I will add a link to the post below. Get as many people as we can knowledgeable about this.

For the next week, the first paragraph of every “On This Day…” post will be linking back to this one, encouraging everyone to read about this issue, and to take action.

For a couple of videos, we have a documentary about ANAM, so you can understand a bit more about this fantastic institution, and also a video blog about this topic by Perth Musician Alex Millier.

Links

Alex Millier has written two posts about this issue, and I’m sure will write more. He’s also the one that created the video above.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

6 thoughts on “On This Day… Save ANAM”

  1. Nice post. This is an ill-considered decision at best. It would appear that Peter Garrett and the Labor government do not understand the benefits to society of an instution like ANAM. Let’s hope that people such as yourself may be able to convince them that they made a mistake. It is worth noting that this would not be the first cut that the new government has made to classical music. Earlier in the year they cut funding by $20 million to Chamber Music Australia – the Melbourne International Chamber Music Festival.

  2. This is shocking. It makes you cringe when you read on the arts.gov.au website: The Department administers programs and policies that encourage excellence in artistic effort, support for cultural heritage and public access to arts and culture.

    How does cutting funding to the premiere musical training institute “encourage excellence in artistic effort”?
    How does cutting funding by $20 million to Chamber Music Australia “encourage… public access to arts and culture”?

  3. thankyou for organising this
    I have sent emails where requested and signed the petition
    I am hoping all Adelaide music people and broader are doing the same
    Susan

  4. Everyone agrees that elite musicians should have the same opportunities as elite athletes, but what a misleading comparison! The AIS funding covers thousands of athletes in 35 programs in 26 sports, while ANAM has 55 students and 12 staff. ANAM has repeatedly refused to come up with a program that accounts for the $2.9 million and have only themselves to blame if the program goes elsewhere.

  5. Yes, the AIS does cover more students, and it is a slightly misleading comparison. But when you consider that the funding per AIS student (IIRC) runs at about $90,000, where as per ANAM student it’s about $40,000, there is still a difference.
    The AIS is also training athletes who only spend a few years at the elite level. All in all, they can expect 8, maybe pushing 12 years before they move on to something else after being replaced by the next up and coming athlete. With the elite musicians from ANAM, they will continue to make music their entire lives. Looking at that, ANAM is a much better long term investment.
    And as for the board “refusing” to come up with a program, they were given very little notice by Peter Garrett to do this, and up until they had received his letter asking them to make the changes, had received no perceived ill will from him. The main problem with moving the program elsewhere is that it loses one massive thing. While another institution could start up next year and run a similar program with the best teachers, and it would be a fantastic place to be in, it won’t have the reputation which ANAM has built up. That reputation can’t be traded, can’t be there from the start. And no matter what Garrett suggests, it won’t have the support of the Australian Classical Music population, because we are so outraged with the way this has been handled.

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