Supporters urge Evans to end music school debacle

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.

The full list of signatures are: Dr Judith Crispin; Prof Anne Boyd; Dr Ann Moyal; Jane Goffman; Rosemary Greaves; Dr Oliver Raymond; Timothy Crispin; Dr Andrew Glikson; Annie Oakey; Claire de Luca; Haddon Spurgeon; Barnaby Lewer; Robert Burke; Sebastian Clark; Prof Larry Sitsky; John Purnell; a/Prof Gary France; Rob Gray; Greer Versteeg; Brian P. Stewart; Christine Goode; Anne and Roger Smith; Benjamin Willson; Dr Paul Hetherington;  Robyn G McKay; and Richard McIntyre.

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2 Responses to “Supporters urge Evans to end music school debacle”

  1. L. P. Berra, III
    May 24, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    Perhaps the key realization that can be taken from this incident is the fact of being an “integral part of something.” All the things each of us do have effects beyond what we can see. We must not only take care to notice the effects we may have on others, but also to appreciate the benefits we receive from the contributions of others (whether they are glamorous stage performers or drab accountants- each may carry an overall ‘equal’ value). There is no room for over-inflated self-aggrandizements nor for violent slashings in a harmonized equilibrium of “integral parts.”

    Also, after reading the open letter (here, in full:, and in response to the reference to the ‘Melbourne Model’ where Music is one of 6 undergraduate degrees retained, it would seem to be well to gently remind the eminent musicians of the foundational focal emphasis on Theological Philosophy and exploration of Basic Religious Principles that was present at the very inception of the ‘university’ concept, and the umbrella that it has provided for all the subsequent developments of arts and sciences (despite its demure inability to stage large-scale free concerts in support of itself and its relegation to non-utilitarian historical oddity in the minds of many of today’s intellectual elite)

    “You can do what I can’t do. I can do what you can’t do. Together we can do something beautiful for God.” ~ Mother Theresa

  2. L. P. Berra, III
    May 24, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    P.S. One of the classically “stereotypical” events that necessitates a violent slashing is a misappropriation of certain religious principles or ideas in support of a self-aggrandizement rather than a utilization of skills in humility towards a greater good. (i.e. “Pride comes before a fall.”) Normally the violent slashings only occur if the self-aggrandizing tendencies fail to shift into a re-equilibration phase when the “trouble is seen on the horizon.”

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