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On This Day – January 1

Welcome back to the On This Day series. We welcome the new series with a new site design, and a promise from me to have an “On This Day” post every day of the year. Today we look at one of the major works of the violin repertoire, one according to violinist Joseph Joachim that was one of the four great German violin concerti. Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major, premiered on this day in 1879.

Continue reading On This Day – January 1

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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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On This Day… October 22

Today we are looking at the first piano virtuoso, considered still by many to be the greatest pianist in history. Inspired by the violin virtuoso Paganini, Franz Liszt left behind a large body of works which still stand today as the most difficult of the piano repertoire. Franz Liszt, Born on this day in 1811. Continue reading On This Day… October 22

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On This Day… October 21

Today we look at a dominant figure on the international landscape. He conducted, amongst other fine orchestras, the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Royal Opera House at Covent Gardens, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he conducted 999 performances before his untimely death. Sir George Solti, born on this day in 1912. Continue reading On This Day… October 21

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On This Day… October 20

Today we take a slight departure and look not at a composer, nor a piece, but a venue. This venue is one of the greatest performing arts venues built in the 20th century. It has become one of the greatest Australian landmarks, and is now listed amongst UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is of course, the Sydney Opera House, which opened on this day in 1973. Continue reading On This Day… October 20