Musica Viva Australia
- Roger Covell
Australian chamber music network. Unrivalled in the thoroughness with which it serves a single country (with more than 2000 concerts annually), the network presents ensembles in subscription seasons in Australian capital cities and elsewhere and in regional and school touring. It was founded in Sydney in 1945 and initially funded by a Romanian-born Viennese-educated emigrant musician and inventor, Richard Goldner, as a consortium of string quartets (modelled on the rehearsal practices of Simon Pullman in Vienna), later comprising a core membership of piano (Maureen Jones) and four strings (with Robert Pikler as first violin). The organization then ran into financial difficulties, suspended its activities in 1951 and was revived in 1955 as an entrepreneurial touring vehicle for established and independent ensembles, beginning with the Pascal and Koeckert quartets. Its subscription seasons in Sydney, drawing on much voluntary support, prospered and extended to other capital cities under the honorary stewardship of Charles Berg and Kenneth W. Tribe, with Goldner continuing as artistic director for nearly two decades and Regina Ridge as its dedicated manager. It has taken most of the leading international chamber ensembles to Australia for well-organized and extended tours, sponsored inter-state tours by groups based in Australia, and organized tours abroad for many Australian ensembles, often with support from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia Council, as well as commissioning new works from Australian composers. A number of the most capable of Australian music administrators have filled the office of general manager. Musica Viva Australia has continued to assemble large audiences for major concerts by instrumental and vocal ensembles of many types, including early music groups and modern ensembles led by Reich and Glass, and has supported extensive patterns of regional touring. Since ...