Ms Winther has written a passionate letter to the organisers of the Canberra Times/ANU Literary Event planned for October 30, asking that, in light of what she describes as “the destruction of the performance degree at the Canberra School of Music,” her organisation be removed from the ANU’s mailing list. “We do not support the ANU and wish to have nothing to do with the ANU,” she has written.
The planned event features former Canberra Symphony Orchestra director and one ofAustralia’s best-known music educationists, Richard Gill, who is to talk about his new biography & memoir published by Pan Macmillan Australia, “Give me Excess of It”.
Ms Winther, who is also now the director of the Macquarie Conservatorium in Dubbo is a long-time member of the arts community, has written:
“I will be personally contacting Mr Gill to query why he has agreed to do his book launch with a university that has inflicted such appalling and long-reaching damage on music education inAustralia, for which he professes to care so much – it would seem his actions do not support this.
“I’m afraid ANU is seriously mistaken if it thinks any responsible or caring Canberra music organisation or musician would advocate to their audiences to attend any event hosted by a university that has decimated the staff and effectively destroyed the Canberra School of Music, of which I am a graduate (note I will no longer be acknowledging ANU as the source of my degree as I am too ashamed by ANU’s conduct).”
“CityNews” understands that this event occurs as the result of some elaborate negotiations by members of the Canberra music and literary communities (in the wake of staffing changes at “The Canberra Times”) eager to sustain this regular “meet the author” event.
Several months ago, music staff have said, he paid a visit to the ANU to argue the case for the beleaguered ANU School of Music, but received a cool reception.
When “CityNews” put this to Ms Winther, she responded: “Richard cannot help but be linked favourably with ANU if he does this event, and as the greatest advocate of music education in Australia, that is a powerful and misleading message. I cannot support the reprehensible ANU bathing in his reflected glory and I will call on Richard Gill to cancel.”