Dear AGSA Members

Happy New Year! AGSA Publicity time …

1. The 2017 Accompanists’ Festival – August 2 to 6 Council Member and Head of Music at St Peter’s Cathedral, Leonie Hempton, last year came up with the idea of a Festival featuring Keyboard Accompaniment in Choral Music. The Council pounced on it and here we are, following months of organisation with what will be a thrilling time in early August.
No Musician in Residence this year, but a bevy of choral groups ranging from juniors in Young Adelaide Voices, to teenagers in the Marryatville HS Pops Vocal Group and Chamber Choir, disabled singers in the TUTTI Choir, church music-making with the St Peter’s Cathedral Choir, to tertiary music students and the Elder Con Chorale and finally adult choristers with the Graduate Singers. All led by significant conductors on the local and international scenes and above all supported IN REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE by KEYBOARD MUSICIANS (not just pianists but organists too). Many accompanists are asked to work with choirs. This year’s Festival will discuss the many expectations of the choral pianist in a range of different groups and situations. The Three Choirs Recital on Elder Hall will demonstrate the results of keyboard musicians working collaboratively with conductors and choirs.
To provide an incentive for pianists and music lovers to apply for this year’s AGSA Festival, Adelaide’s own Choir of the World — the Adelaide Singers – has donated a fabulous Early Bird Prize – a double pass to ACO’s “Messiah” in St Peter’s Cathedral in November. By the way, Leonie Hempton has curated this Festival. I’m there as convenor to help Leonie as much as possible. I am thrilled that a number of Geoffrey Parsons Award winners will be involved in the 2017 Festival.

2. The 2017 Geoffrey Parsons Award – September 10. 2016 was a gap year for the Parsons Award. The Council decided it was too expensive to continue to offer the existing prize money ($7500) particularly as there was no Government funding available for prizes and awards and fundraising depended almost entirely on occasional donations and individual efforts from Council Members.
We were also faced with reducing numbers of pianists in the age group up to age 36 who were interested in and capable of serious collaborative performance. Consequently a subcommittee – Penelope Cashman, Monika Laczofy, Frances Wood and Diana Harris – was formed to investigate a different approach to the Geoffrey Parsons Award. The major differences include: One prize only ($6000 and it’s still the most valuable award for accompanists in Australia); no live auditions in Adelaide the week before the Final, which disadvantaged interstate applicants and made running the Award very complex (there have been a few past interstate winners and & finalists ); auditions via recorded material (normal in many overseas competitions) and written support; as well as: incentives to attract interstate applicants including offers of assistance with travel costs, accommodation and entry fee (for members of our associated Guilds in Qld and NSW – which is also a valuable link for all three Guilds).
We remember with considerable honour that AGSA in Adelaide was the first association in Australia to offer a Geoffrey Parsons Award. We hope to continue to offer the Award in the name of our former patron who was the first Australian to be recognised on the world scene as the greatest accompanist of his day. We have already been approached by the Lieder Society of Victoria with a view to future collaboration. Hopefully, our new approach to the Parsons Award will be successful. Please encourage likely pianists to apply and, if you would like to help the Guild financially, donations will be gratefully received (we are applying for tax deductibility if you need it).
Apart from these two events AGSA presents an even larger annual program. If you are interested in any of the following do contact the convenors/organisers to sign up or for further information.

* JEMs – Junior Ensemble Musicians – Monika Laczofy ([email protected] – 0411 271 215) begins in May – culminates during the Festival

* YAS – Young Accompanists’ Showcase – Gina Macri ([email protected] – 0407 394 714) begins in June culminates during the Festival

* PD for accompanists – Koula Raptis ([email protected] – 0413 930 093) June 3

* Fundraising Dinner – Berenice Harrison ([email protected] -0401 544 0417) November 18

Hope to see many of you at AGSA events this year! If you haven’t renewed your membership – please do — AGSA needs your support so we can keep supporting Accompanists.


Diana Harris OAM
Accompanists’ Guild of SA Inc
Accompanists’ Festival 2017

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