19 November 2008
Update on ANAM
Garrett announces funding for a new organisation
Update 11 December: see a more recent resonate news item on ANAM
Arts Minister Peter Garrett has announced funding for an entirely new organisation dedicated to the training of classical musicians. Tuesday's announcement did not change the earlier decision to discontinue funding of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) beyond 2008, and the staff and the students of ANAM must now prepare for the closure of their institution as of 1 January 2009. According to the Minister's announcement, the new 'Australian Institute of Music Performance' will start operating in July 2009, in conjunction with the University of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts.
ANAM's campaign for continued funding intensified earlier this week in the form of an open letter to the Minister, signed by members of all nine of Australian's professional orchestras as well as well-known Australian and international artists, from Barry Humphries and Peter Carey to the Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee, American composer Elliott Carter and the British conductor Sir Simon Rattle. The Academy is also planning an 'Academy Celebration' concert for 28 November.
ANAM's artistic director Brett Dean has replied to the Minister's announcement publicly on the Academy's website, pointing out that the new plan is almost identical to ANAM's existing operations. What happens to ANAM's current and prospective students as well as the staff in early 2009 is, according to Dean, also far from resolved.
The South Melbourne-based Australian National Academy of Music was initiated in the early 1990s by the then prime minister, Paul Keating, to offer high-level training to young musicians aspiring to national and international careers. Federal funding of around $2.5 million per year has formed the bulk of the Academy's budget. The same amount of money is now allocated to the new institution.
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