Kim Williams on Music and the Rules of Engagement : Sydney Ideas Lecture
- Date: Tuesday, 30 September 2014, 6pm
- Venue: Sydney Conservatorium of Music — Cnr Macquarie St and Bridge St, Sydney, NSW Tickets: This is a free event
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What do music and listening have in common? Both are lacking amongst young people growing up in today’s modern world. This idea will be debated further by Kim Williams AM in his one-off Sydney Ideas lecture at the University of Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music on Tuesday 30 September at 6.00pm.
One of Australia’s most high-profile media executives and a well-known supporter of the Arts, Kim Williams speaks intimately about how music influenced his life both personally and professionally. Williams will draw parallels between the disciplined approach to music training and the way he conducts business.
“Everyone knows Kim Williams in Australia’s top corporate circles. But fewer people know much about Kim’s early years as a highly dedicated, passionate musician, and how it shaped him as an astute businessman and leading figure in the arts industry,” said Professor Karl Kramer, Dean and Principal, Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Talking about two things very dear to his heart - music and listening - during the lecture Williams will provide a strong case for the primacy of music education from a young age, using his own life as an example. He will explain how he sees music being key to restoring a diminishing life skill today – what he terms ‘close listening’.
He will also touch on the lack of music education he sees growing up in this country today, and Australians’ inability to give and receive criticism in a way that he describes as “thoughtful, caring, constructive and nourishing” – something that music training seeks and welcomes so that musicians grow to become world-class artists.
Kim Williams said: “Music is a natural prism for the way I see things and has been central to my experience and enjoyment of life. Music is so central to my view of the world that I don’t really stand back and think about it and only did so some years ago when asked to give a lecture about music and its personal impact and resonances. This lecture will reflect on some of those matters and offer some observations on why music matters to me.”
Drawing on personal tales disclosed in his latest book, Rules of Engagement, Williams will talk about his first instrument, the banjo; the fear of his first teacher, Mrs Bulger; one of his greatest mentors, teachers and friends the famous Australian conductor Richard Gill; composing music from the age of 15; and playing the clarinet most of his life.
Kim Williams’s connection with the Con began early in his musical life. From 1966, he took his first music lessons after school at the Con, learning from Douglas Gerke and then Donald Westlake, principal clarinetist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. During and shortly after attending the University of Sydney, Williams worked actively as a composer and as a private clarinet tutor at the Con to generate an income. One of his very first managerial positions in music was as a lecturer under Rex Hobcroft and resident concert organiser at the Con. In 1973, a large work entitled Music of Space that he wrote for Donald Westlake was premiered at the Sydney Conservatorium.
For the next four decades, Kim Williams played an instrumental role in growing the arts, entertainment and media industries in Australia and overseas. He held CEO positions with News Corp Australia, FOXTEL, FOX Studios Australia, the Australian Film Commission and Musica Viva. Only last year, he stepped down as Chair of the Sydney Opera House Trust after nine years, and in February 2014 he took up his new role as Commissioner of the AFL.
In his book Rules of Engagement, Williams provides a candid, up close and personal account of the exercise of power in the nation’s leading boardrooms, political parties and media organisations. He will draw on some of the experiences described in the book during his Sydney Ideas lecture on 30 September at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
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