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Musica Viva's 75th Anniversary Celebration, Government House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good afternoon, everyone.

Linda and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for this 75th anniversary celebratory event for Musica Viva. Congratulations to all — 75 years is a significant milestone.

This year has been a year like no other. Musica Viva has had to cancel many performances due to COVID-19 and audiences the world over have been unable to physically attend live performances. That aside, Musica Viva has worked hard to make this a great year and next year promises to be very exciting.

So, to the leadership team at Musica Viva — as well as the staff, the donors and supporters, and performers, teachers and students — well done. All of you have persevered and shown great strength of character during a difficult period.

As I’ve been saying at events these past few weeks, it’s great to see Australia opening up again. We have missed the arts! So, no pressure, James [Monro, Student Cellist] — but we are eagerly looking forward to your performance today!

One of the things Linda and I have observed this year during our visits and in our conversations with people is the strong resolve of Australians and organisations to press on with their work regardless of the difficulties posed by the pandemic. It’s a quality that Linda and I see every day and, in a year where schools and communities have been unable to experience live music in person, Musica Viva showcased this resolve.

You created innovative digital solutions, keeping artists employed and nearly 90,000 children learning and participating in live music. A fine example is Musica Viva’s ‘Strike a Chord’, the National Chamber Music Championship which was held online in September. Through ‘Strike a Chord’, you gave high school students from all around Australia the opportunity to experience the joy of making chamber music together.

The logistical challenges must have been immense, but you did it — broadcasting from six cities across Australia to thousands of people including viewers from New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Taiwan. A wonderful example of Musica Viva’s resolve and innovation. We know that many professional musicians cite ‘Musica Viva in Schools’ as sparking their passion for music and the reason they chose a musical career.

And next year promises to be very exciting. Musica Viva’s 2021 season will feature all Australian artists. I’m informed Musica Viva has commissioned hundreds of new compositions from Australian composers and that you will continue to play a leading role in supporting female composers through the Hildegard Project.

2021 will also see the next iteration of Musica Viva’s quadrennial Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, a springboard for the world’s finest early-career chamber musicians.

We’re all looking forward to a new year for, I think, many reasons.

A couple of ‘thank yous’ to close:

First, to the teachers — for staying the distance during a really tough year and for finding ways to keep students engaged when normal teaching practices weren’t available. It’s a credit to you.

Second, to Musica Viva’s donors and supporters — your moral support and encouragement has helped enormously this year. It is thanks to your commitment and generosity that Musica Viva can provide opportunities for Australia’s classical musicians.

As I said, we’re delighted you could all join us for this 75th anniversary celebratory event for Musica Viva.

Congratulations to all involved.