NOT exactly happy but “relieved,” is how retiring head of the jazz section at the ANU School of Music, Mike Price, describes himself.
In the wake of the grim announcement this week that five staff members who had put their hands up to stay on had been rejected, Price took heart from the fact that at least there would be two full-time jazz performance exponents remaining at the school, John Mackey in saxophone and improvisation and Matt Thompson in piano and arrangement.
Though he said that he was no expert on the classical section of the school, he gave credence to reports that only percussionist Gary France remains in that area.
Ironically, that meant that jazz performance teachers, widely believed to have been “wiped out” of the school, were in the majority, but he took no consolation in that, describing the process of this year’s cuts as “messy.”
“There will be no jazz department, no string department no woodwind department,” he explained, but rather, under the new program, there would be conveners of performance across the board.
Price added that while he and his colleagues Eric Ajaye, Miroslav Bukowky and Colin Hoorweg had taken redundancies and would leave on December 31, at some time in the future “some kind of visiting fellow or adjunct lecturer arrangement” might be established, though he said it was too early to say what that might be.
In short, Price told “CityNews”, “there’ll still be jazz education at a high level at the ANU.”