In my blog of 23 May 2016 (‘Not resting’), I ranted and wailed about the cuts to the arts in Australia (see http://www.petawilliams.com.au/petas_blog/not_resting/), and in particular some really wonderful and deserving music organisations, by the current Australian Government. As we are currently in election mode, someone asked me whether I knew what the Labor (opposition)’ policy on the arts was. I found out through our local Labor candidate, Susan Templeman, that this policy hadn’t been released at the time, but that it would soon be. And so it has. You can find it at:
I am feeling a whole lot more optimistic about reading this policy; there seems to be some real understanding of the importance of the arts to living a full and engaged life - including the small to medium arts sector - not to mention the international standing the arts can bring to a country's economy and position in the world. I know the devil is always in the detail (as they say), but what do you think?
You can also find the APRA AMCOS comment at the following link::http://apraamcos.com.au/news/2016/june/labor-announces-commitment-to-invest-in-music-industry/
As the Shadow Minister for the Arts is Mark Dreyfus, QC MP, the son of Australian composer George Dreyfus, I thought I would tell you about my own ‘brush-with-fame’ with our Shadow Minister's dad, George Dreyfus.
In the years 1980–1986 I was working as International Co-ordinator for the fantastic chamber music organisation, Musica Viva Australia (yes, I was young at the time). This role involved managing the music component of the then Cultural Relations program of the Department of Foreign Affairs, involving the touring of Australian musicians overseas. I can’t remember the exact year – probably 1983 – Musica Viva was asked by the Department to co-ordinate the visit to Australia by the eminent Chinese composer, Professor Luo Zhongrong. So of course we did. And that was my job. I needed to find an interpreter, and put together an itinerary for Sydney and Melbourne, and I forget where else. I remember in Sydney that Professor Zhongrong’s visit was marred by wet weather, yet we still managed to take him to the Blue Mountains to see the Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba (the rain had miraculously lifted!), and then lunch at Lawson where my parents had a holiday home (subsequently my mother’s full-time home after my father’s death).
But in Melbourne our illustrious host was the well-known and highly regarded Australian composer, George Dreyfus. I hadn’t met George before this visit, but he was wonderful – generous to a fault, and so respectful and caring of Professor Zhongrong’s interests and sensibilities. There is always a time when cultural difference causes a misunderstanding, and in this case (I’m sure George won’t mind me sharing this with you) – Professor Zhongrong thought George was our dedicated driver, as George was kind enough to pick us up from Melbourne airport. Once that misunderstanding was sorted out, George and Professor Zhongrong become firm friends throughout our visit in Melbourne – both on musical levels and in the joy of us sharing our country with this eminent visitor, including a visit to the Healsville Animal Sanctuary, and learning more about his country from him. I have remained indebted to George Dreyfus for his generous heart and spirit in connecting with our Chinese visitor in such a way that made Professor Zhongrong feel so welcomed and connected with other composers and music of our global music community.
I am sure I thanked George at the time. And I thank him again. And you can read more about him through the Australian Music Centre’s website at:
And now to this week’s featured music (you need to scroll down to find the player). This week I thought I would share with you another piece from my previous album, ‘Meditation on Love’, called 'Solace'. I have been selecting more pieces from my most recent album, ‘Places with high levels of natural beauty’, which I encourage you to continue to listen to (you can find out more by going to the music pages of this website), but hey, my music connects with each other, and this piece connects with how I am feeling in this moment, the need for solace when we continue to deal with the challenges in our lives, including the state of our country, and the aspirations and needs of our people. I hope that you, too, find solace in this music.
Until next time,