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Beer and Beethoven

By 19 June 2014 8

beer

During 1972 and 1978, I worked at the School of Music, and for the most part directly to the founding Director, Ernest Llewellyn CBE. He told me that the School was founded on the Julliard model, that is, to turn out degree qualified musicians of high quality who were also world quality platform musicians and experts in pedagogy. He saw it necessary to produce both academics and performers in the one graduate.

The School did just that during all the time I was associated with it. But Mr Llewellyn warned in about 1974 or 1975, that to merge with the ANU was a bad idea as it would inevitably lead to a change in direction; that the concert performer aspect would disappear and only academics would be produced. How prophetic he was!

The absorption into the ANU has seen a clear departure from the vision of Llewellyn and his patron the Right Honourable Doug Anthony, then Minister for the Interior.

The emergence of the Wig and Pen opportunity further distances the School from the vision. The ANU has clearly said that it is not going to be the guardian of the performing arts, a high world reputation enjoyed by the School. It is telling the School, if you want to survive, go commercial.

You can’t blame either the Wig and Pen or the School for jumping into the sack for mutual benefit. The arrangement will reap opportunities for both. But at what cost?

Once, Canberra was proud of its commitment to the arts, produced world standard musicians and music teachers. It led for a time the emergence of electronic music. But now? Dump the performer/teacher staff and concentrate of the theoretical . and embrace crass commercialism!

Each of these organisations is of high standard in their particular speciality. But they should not confuse each other’s cohort nor try to combine each other’s cohort. They have completely different patrons.

Once the School brought the classics to the ordinary Canberran.

Once, the Wig and Pen introduced Canberrans to classical brewing.

Good luck to both but perhaps the marriage will founder with Canberra getting less than the sum of the parts and not greater than the sum of the parts.

Tears before bedtime, me thinks. Enough to drive one to drink and drown in the pools of Puccini!

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8 Responses to Beer and Beethoven
#1
astrojax5:54 pm, 19 Jun 14

a misguided assessment, methinks – too much old respect for the gentleman llewellyn and not enough vision, mssr hargreaves.

#2
John Hargreaves Ex M8:49 pm, 19 Jun 14

astrojax said :

a misguided assessment, methinks – too much old respect for the gentleman llewellyn and not enough vision, mssr hargreaves.

Thank you for that. Mr Llewellyn was indeed a visionary and I am privileged to have worked for him. My vision for the School of Music elevates the teaching and performance of music in all its forms above commercial realities but I do understand the financial imperatives of today’s world. But.. again, the marriage does seem tome to be a strange one. Surely a better match could have been found.

For example, the Kingston Foreshore precinct seems made for such a venture as a boutique brewery, as does the Nishi precinct. I am not sure that your view would be shared by the CSO or the Chamber Orchestra, the teaching staff (whatever is left of them) nor the students.

Indeed, you may care to know that I was prompted to go to print by a call from a young lady who identified herself to me as a student from the School and a member of the Liberal Party, expressing concern and soliciting my help in bringing the issue to the attention of social media.

Imagine that! a member of the Liberal Party tracking down a Life Member of the Labor Party to seek help! You may ask… where are the Liberals in commenting publicly about this? I don’t know…

I still think that the mixed marriage in this case is a bit suss…

#3
LegalNut11:18 pm, 19 Jun 14

John,

I understand your argument.

I even think that New Acton would be a great venue for a brewpub. However, I vehemently disagree with the notion that we shouldn’t use the School of Music as anything more than a school of and venue for musical arts (I’d be happy to change my mind if you can find the funds to support the School without outside sources of income).

I am both a subscriber to the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a fan of the Wig and Pen. These organisations can work side-by-side. In fact, my experience with both suggests they can enhance each other.

The sound insulation should be adequate at Llewellyn Hall to deal with any noise from outside and adding options for patrons to enjoy a beverage before or after the show should be encouraged. The fact that patrons of the Wig and Pen will now have a closer connection to the arts is also a positive.

Change is a difficult thing and it is no shock that long-term subscribers to the CSO and students of the School would be scared by the prospect of a brewery being in their mist. However, the proposed arrangement provides benefits for the School of Music, the Wig and Pen and attendees at events at Llewellyn Hall.

I hope that the good burghers of Canberra will give this arrangement the chance it deserves and allow it to provide benefits to visitors to the ANU arts precinct as it should and thrive.

Canberra needs more of these innovative partnerships that bring together local institutions rather than the NIMBYism and conservatism displayed by the opponents of the tie-up.

-LegalNut

#4
Smithers5:14 am, 20 Jun 14

Art schools don’t make or break any art form. They don’t make an artist either. Elite reputations of institutions eventually become stale and attract people more interested in having attended a certain school than the Art itself. Another freelancer with a macbook pro.

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

astrojax said :

a misguided assessment, methinks – too much old respect for the gentleman llewellyn and not enough vision, mssr hargreaves.

Thank you for that. Mr Llewellyn was indeed a visionary and I am privileged to have worked for him. My vision for the School of Music elevates the teaching and performance of music in all its forms above commercial realities but I do understand the financial imperatives of today’s world. But.. again, the marriage does seem tome to be a strange one. Surely a better match could have been found.

For example, the Kingston Foreshore precinct seems made for such a venture as a boutique brewery, as does the Nishi precinct. I am not sure that your view would be shared by the CSO or the Chamber Orchestra, the teaching staff (whatever is left of them) nor the students.

Indeed, you may care to know that I was prompted to go to print by a call from a young lady who identified herself to me as a student from the School and a member of the Liberal Party, expressing concern and soliciting my help in bringing the issue to the attention of social media.

Imagine that! a member of the Liberal Party tracking down a Life Member of the Labor Party to seek help! You may ask… where are the Liberals in commenting publicly about this? I don’t know…

I still think that the mixed marriage in this case is a bit suss…

It isn’t really that strange. Not if you compare it next the decisions people have made whilst affected by alcohol. Who can tell the difference between a Labour or Liberal party member these days, if that is really even relevant. Its not got to the point where they are sworn to do harm to each other on the first instance yet? Having a mentor is something I really do value though and I wish I still had one.

#5
Grrrr1:47 pm, 20 Jun 14

Maybe your article should explain what this “Wig and Pen opportunity” is that you’re referring to, or at least link to something that does..

#6
Walker8:46 pm, 20 Jun 14

Grrrr said :

Maybe your article should explain what this “Wig and Pen opportunity” is that you’re referring to, or at least link to something that does..

Taking a holiday from news huh? Maybe not such a bad idea.

This pretty much covers it plus some opinions and concerns:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/culture-war-brews-over-wig–pens-move-to-anus-llewellyn-hall-20140616-zs9j5.html

#7
Mr Evil11:03 am, 22 Jun 14

John, maybe if both sides of ACT politics didn’t slash funding to the School of Music from 1998 until 2003 (when the National Institute of The Arts was finally forced to merge with the Facuty of Arts), the School of Music may not have found itself in such deep do-do that it now has to look at leasing space to a pub?

#8
Masquara9:20 pm, 22 Jun 14

Different cohorts? Different patrons? Nonsense. Ask the poets who have recited on building sites. Ask anyone in the “New Museum” sector. You can drink beer and converse to a soft musical backdrop. Or a sophisticated one. I’ll drink beer to a Bernie McGann recording any day (and had several times drunk beer during a live Bernie McGann performance). I’m sure Wig & Pen will keep noisy nights to times when there is no classical rehearsing happening in the building. Patrons are likely to be quite accommodating if they turn up to W&P and it’s interval for a classical concert – and there’s suitable, quiet interval music happening in the pub. Come on John Hargreaves – haven’t you seen footage of young audiences dancing and riffing to baroque music in concert halls in Europe, or performing Bach in pubs? The days of such musical and taste demarcations are long over (thanks interwebz!).

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