SUPPORTERS of the School of Music have prepared an open letter to ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans, urging him to intercede in the school’s upheaval.
So far, the letter includes signatures from Manning Clarke House director Dr Judith Crispin, MCH president Sebastian Clark, barrister John Purnell, composer Larry Sitsky, historian Dr Ann Moyal, musician Gary France, artist Greer Versteeg, barrister Timothy Crispin and scientist Dr Andrew Glikson.
“The purpose of this letter is to express support for the continuation of the current School of Music at the ANU, which is Australia’s most highly regarded conservatorium and musicological institution,” the letter says.
The letter goes on to say that the proposed restructure, to reduce the School’s staff from 32 to 13, would “fail to produce graduates capable of producing higher degree research or attracting Australian Research Council funding”.
“In other words, the new degree would be unworthy of inclusion in a tertiary institution,” the letter says.
The letter also referred to the School of Music and its contribution to the study of indigenous music.
“For many years the ANU has been a world leader in ethnomusicology and it currently supports Indigenous Elders to undertake research into their own musical culture,” the letter says.
“This program will be cut with all the others should the restructure be allowed to proceed.
“But perhaps most importantly, the downgrading of our Music School will effectively rob Australia’s capital city of its rich musical life.
“The ranks of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra are largely filled with staff, students and ex-students of the School of Music, as are music teachers in private studios and secondary schools, and the Jazz bands that give life to the city at night.
“University graduations, Floriade, local fetes and school events are all likely to falter should the School of Music be downgraded to the extent currently proposed.”
The letter was sent today.