School of Music: Pereira rebukes ANU’s ‘indecency’

‘I will only say here that as a human being caught up in a senseless war that quickly has ruined the reputation of my primary workplace I rebuke those that are responsible. I rebuke them […]

Musician and “CityNews” Artist of the Year 2010, DAVID PEREIRA, writes about being caught up in the “senseless war” over the School of Music

Music-making is what I happen to do for a living. I also live to be a (reasonably) good person, father, husband, and reciprocating member of family and society.

Far from being an island, I know that both for survival and happiness I am embedded in a rewarding and demanding web of social relationships.

Here are some examples:

Our GP has treated all seven of my children. He is much younger than I, which is great: I can hope to benefit from his expertise and humanity until my dying day. I respect his diagnostic skill, his vast experience that has increased his wisdom, and his human decency. If I were to die soon, I’d be glad to hear it from him. It would pain him to have to tell me. He is irreplaceable to me.

Our mechanic. When I drive our 20-year-old Tarago I am confident that it is safe. I respect him also because he helps me to spend as little as necessary, works well and hard to keep my custom and because of his human decency. With genuine interest he asks about my children and I pay him promptly. The professional relationship that we enjoy includes the strong sense that each of us is a precious person and that we serve each other.

Our fortnightly house cleaner. She does a great job and some of her expertise is a mystery to me. I am struck by her generosity and her meditative way of doing what many find tedious, even in their own home. I am sorry she will need to have a hip operation – couldn’t happen to a nicer person. The professional relationship that we enjoy includes the strong sense that each of us is a precious person and that we serve each other.

My newest private student of cello. She and her parents bring special charm to my day when it is their lesson time. She really lights up when, through me, she makes new discoveries. In this and in many other ways she encourages me that I am useful to her. The professional relationship that we enjoy includes the strong sense that each of us is a precious person. I’m not sure if she is old enough to know how importantly she nurtures me, but it is my weekly privilege to serve her. She and her parents have such human decency that I weekly am reminded by them of how real a thing it is.

An older couple regularly have paid to attend concerts that my wife and I have curated. One way I value them is for their vast experience as listeners to music and for the insight it has allowed their judgement concerning quality and content. Their feedback has shaped our programming and choice of venues and co-performers. The professional relationship that we enjoy includes the strong sense that we are all good people and that we serve each other.

I would neither preach to the converted nor throw my pearls before swine. Throughout the current ANU School of  Music crisis I have been tempted by each in turn.

I will only say here that as a human being caught up in a senseless war that quickly has ruined the reputation of my primary workplace I rebuke those that are responsible.

I rebuke them for their indecency and for their arrogance; I rebuke them for their managerial inexpertise and their ignorance; I rebuke them for their vandalism. I do this not because what they have done is stupid but because they still are smiling.

There ought to be an enquiry that has the power and the right to expose all of the dishonesty, all of the hidden agendas, all of the meanness, all of the senseless personal ambition, all of the mismanagement and all of the callous indifference to music.

Sustainability evidently has justified these things, and others, even as what might have been sustained longer was destroyed, and which sometime later, someplace else, will have to be rebuilt.

David Pereira is presently a part-time employee at the ANU School of Music who teaches,  one-on-one,  11 tertiary cello majors, all of whom came to Canberra for tertiary studies from other parts of the country.

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