Happy New Year for 2009 – we are now into our second quarter century having enjoyed a ripper of a 25th anniversary in 2008. What a fabulous year it was due in no small part to our extended Festival , the inaugural Australian Conference of Accompanists and Associate Artists and the magical contribution of pianist and “accompanist to the stars”, Malcolm Martineau. The support the Guild received from members, the general public, sponsors and personal donors during 2008 was magnificent. An extremely high benchmark for future Guild activities has been set. So we must not let the emphasis on the accompanist and all things to do with accompanying flag.

A splendid start – our first Annual Brochure

It’s hard to believe that this is the first time in our 26 year history that we have produced a professionally designed brochure of our annual events. We hope you all like it. While we have a slightly smaller program – let’s face it we couldn’t keep up the same level we did for our 25th – it’s fallen into place beautifully. There are 3 major activities. All are multiple events.

American Song Seminar – March 22 at Cynthia Poulton Hall is an afternoon/early evening affair held in conjunction with ANATS. It is such a pleasure to welcome back pianist, Nicole Panizza, and soprano, Teresa La Rocca, who began their studies in Adelaide are now busy professional musicians only too happy to share their experiences with us in a format which includes a lecture demonstration, a masterclass for voice /piano duos and a Recital. We urge all our members to attend the full seminar and encourage a wider public to attend the Recital which includes a delicious array of songs by Aaron Copland, Libby Larsen, Jake Heggie and Ned Rorem.

If you have looked carefully at our beautiful brochure you may have noticed that we have squeezed an Annual General Meeting in to the afternoon. We must have an AGM. We’ll get this one over quickly so we can proceed to enjoy the concert. Members do make sure you join us at 5.30 to ensure we have a quorum and are legal for another year.

Our second “multiple event” is our all important educational project aimed at introducing secondary level pianists to the joys of accompanying by providing them with experienced professional partners to work with during the month of June. It is of course our

Young Accompanists’ Showcase (YAS) – June 7 & 21 at 2.30 (Marryatville HS) & July 8 at 12.10 (Pilgrim Church) involves a masterclass with Leigh Harrold, rehearsals with professional soloist/teachers and performance in 2 public concerts, the second in the Festival of Accompanists. These activities are structured to provide 6 or 7 young pianists with an ideal experience which we hope will lead them to seek out more accompanying. Members & interested teachers – do you have a likely student (about Gr 7 AMEB ability who you know would benefit from & enjoy the challenge) please get in touch with Gina Macri, 8336 9054, to apply to have your student included. You should be prepared to give them initial assistance in their preparation before they meet their soloist.

Our third “multiple event” is the most “multiple” of them all. As in pre 08 years we cover 2 weeks with events highlighting the accompanist as chamber musicians. We cover all levels of experience with primary school duos, to the Young Accompanists’ Showcase secondary school students to tertiary chamber musicians and reaching the pinnacle with our guest artist, Leslie Howard.

The Festival of Accompanists – July 6 to 15 (Pilgrim Church and the Elder Conservatorium – Hartley Concert Room & Bishop Hall) starts with a Howard masterclass and Geoffrey Parsons Award auditions, includes the Howard recital with violinist, Niki Vasilakis, the Final of the Geoffrey Parsons Award and concerts in the second week by our junior and tertiary level accompanists. Leslie Howard will be available for a very limited number of individual lessons on Thursday July 9 – if you have suitable students apply to the secretary with proposed repertoire.

Exciting New Educational/Vocational Project – Opera Opera

Our efforts to highlight the accompanist do not end with our public events. One further educational opportunity in association with the State Opera of SA (SOSA) has arisen directly from our 2008 Festival. You may have attended the Young Accompanists on Show at Pilgrim Church featuring former Adelaide pianist, David Barnard, who now has a substantial career as an accompanist & repetiteur working out of London. SOSA has engaged David as chief repetiteur for the November production of The Flying Dutchman. AGSA has agreed to support this appointment which will include David Barnard mentoring a local pianist in the repetiteur role. This is an exciting opportunity for an AGSA member looking to expand career opportunities. It might also be a valuable component of an honours or post graduate program.

Calling for applications – Repetiteur mentoree

Applicants should apply in writing (preferably an email attachment) to the AGSA Secretary by Monday February 23 indicating they

  • are available for rehearsals from October 6 through to the Dutchman performances November 7/10/12/14
  • are excited about working in opera
  • are able to prepare the score before rehearsals begin
  • will attend German tuition on the libretto (to be arranged by the Guild)
  • will attend a selection interview/audition at a time to be arranged by the Guild.
  • will clear other commitments during the rehearsal period and attend the performances as required.

The Guild will supply an allowance of no less than $1500 for the mentoree covering the five weeks of rehearsals. (This may increase, depending on additional sponsorship)

Members – What to do??

  • Renew your membership NOW ( we’ve had a good response so far but not yet enough)
  • Renew Register applications NOW ( we ran out of time to complete the Register in 2008 but have an extension to finish it in 2009)
  • Encourage new members – particularly student members – they are the future
  • Seek out potential YAS participants and encourage them (or their teachers) to be involved.
  • Sign up for the American Song Seminar – this is not a members free gig – it’s an educational program for singers and pianists investigating 20th century American song – And we need you there for the AGM.
  • Support the YAS by going along – free to members
  • Support the Festival – again this is free to members – the Leslie Howard Niki Vasilakis concert alone is outstanding value. ( For those wondering about a clash with the National piano Pedagogy Conference it’s in the week of July 13)
  • Consider yourself and others (talk them into it) for the Geoffrey Parsons Award – we’re being coy about the value – we’re considering maintaining the $5000 first prize – but this depends on additional sponsorship. Any offers????
  • Encourage applicants for the SOSA mentorship.

Support Accompanists – pass your second AGSA brochure on – if you need more contact the Secretary,

Best wishes for a vital 2009

Diana Harris OAM

AGSA Secretary, accguildsa@museco.id.au www.accompanist.org.au (08) 8431 6030

You can download a PDF version of this newsletter at http://accompanist.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/agsa-newsletter-january-2009.pdf

AGSA Newsletter January 2009
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