Classical Music Futures Summit: Quick Points

I spent today (July 12) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at an event importantly titled the Classical Music Futures Summit, having scored a lucky last-minute invitation to be part of the talkfest. So lately invited was I (somewhere between 6 and 2 weeks ago, depending on how you interpret the invitation) that the sheet listing the participants, explaining who they worked with/for, what they did/had done, along with their email addresses, didn’t include me. Which was fine – I’m very well-accustomed to people asking me who on earth I am. This was my first experience at an event run by a professional facilitator, and I’ve come away from the day with a sense of awe at the quick-witted skillfulness displayed throughout the event, quickly sifting ideas into themes, managing the time-ego tug-of-war, and working to deliver both forward momentum and a sense of ownership to the participants. Truly inspiring work. I’ve also come away from the day thrilled to

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What I did immediately after the opening night of ISCM 2010….

I ran as fast as my comfortable but still high-heel shoes could take me back to the [wickedly expensive] car park down the road from the Sydney Conservatorium. Another audience member was heading the same way, but as he was much lankier of leg than I, and unencumbered by impractical footwear, we made about the same progress, he no doubt wondering what was motivating the lunatic clickclacking her way down Macquarie St to be doing so quite so very hot on his heels. If he’d only known: I had to make it over to Dockside at Cockle Bay before the mains were served at the Walkley Press Freedom Dinner. The parking gods were on my side, and I powerwalked my way across one of Sydney’s least attractive pedestrian overpasses and through the usual crowd milling outside Chinta Ria, past the name tag desk out the front of Dockside (my handwritten name tag suggesting my husband had forgotten my name when

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ISCM Sydney/2010 Part I

Last Friday night I attended the opening night of this year’s ISCM World New Music Days, held in Sydney (and Australia, and the Southern Hemisphere for that matter) for the first time. It’s been a while since I attended a wholly ‘new music’ event, so I was prepared for a gear-shifting sensation as I eased back into the particular mode of being that best copes with presentations of entirely new (but frequently not entirely fabulous) music in the classical/art music tradition.  In fact, it’s been a while since I attended a chamber music event of any kind, so the gear shifting involved both genre and tradition. Added to this, I was scooting off at the conclusion to join my husband at the Walkley Press Freedom dinner (Qantas had invited the 2UE breakfast hosts to their table, both immediate past – Mike Carlton – and present – my husband, John, and Sandy Aloisi) so I was slightly too dressed up for

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Mikrokosmos Heresy

So of all the composers in the twentieth century it seems that Bartok is the one we piano teachers revere the most, and of all the works for students of the piano ever written by Bartok we reserve our highest regard for that collection of the pieces he wrote for the lessons he gave to his son, Peter: the Mikrokosmos. It’s systematic, it’s progressive, it was written for the composer’s own nine year old son, it’s designed to be used from the very beginning (Bartok’s own words), it draws on the folk music of a wide area of eastern Europe (at least we think it does) and it represents a very ‘modern’ (in that first half of the 20th century sense) way of playing the piano. What’s not to like? And yet, whenever I speak with piano teachers about the Mikrokosmos the same guilty secret is whispered all over the land: we respect this collection above all others, and yet

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Musical Resolutions

It used to be my wont around this time of the year to think of my musical misdeeds and resolve to engage in behaviours that would counter my deficiencies of the previous twelve months over the subsequent 365 days. I would resolve to practice longer. Mastering more repertoire. In a more focussed fashion. I would resolve to put musical pen to manuscript paper for a set period of time per day. I would resolve to listen to more music; to become more than a passing acquaintance with the orchestral canon, the operatic oeuvre, the chamber music catalogue; to attend more live performances. I would resolve to work my way through recordings of famous jazz pianists, jazz trios, jazz quartets and quintets and big band ensembles.  Learn to play the hundreds of standards I still didn’t know. I would resolve to get to grips with world music just a little [more than before]; to learn how to compose for hurdy-gurdy, how

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