CANBERRA composer, artistic director of the Griffyn Ensemble and musician, Michael Sollis, has just been announced by Musica Viva as Artistic Director of Education to Australia’s largest and most innovative school music education program.
Sollis has been ACT Manager with Musica Viva since 2008, and this announcement marks the next stage of his relationship with the company as he steps into what they’re calling a “visionary new role”. Violinist Isobel Ferrier will take over as Musica Viva’s new ACT Manager.
“Musica Viva in Schools has been at the forefront of music education in Australia for the past 35 years and is expanding further with its ground-breaking digital education programs,” says Musica Viva Chief Executive Officer, Mary Jo Capps. “It is fitting that we recognise the scope and impact of this program by appointing an Artistic Director of Education, who will work with Carl Vine …to ensure we continue to inspire Australians of all ages with the enjoyment and understanding of music.”
This year Sollis will also work closely with Richard Gill, Artistic Advisor to Musica Viva’s education program since late 2014, as he takes on this new position.
Gill says, “I’m thrilled to see Michael taking the reins of this wonderful not-for-profit organisation that has been setting the standard in music education enrichment since 1981…We can’t sit still – we have to grow and look to the future, and Michael has the vision and artistic integrity that will take Musica Viva In Schools into an exciting future.”
For his part Sollis, one of the shining graduates of the ANU School of Music, says, “It’s a great privilege and honour to be given custodianship of an Australian institution that provides over 250,000 students each year with the opportunity to engage with the very best Australian musicians.”
Sollis, a keen advocate for his art form, adds, “Music is more than an ‘add-on’ extracurricular activity – it is an essential part of the human experience…If every primary school student in Australia were inspired by live music to pursue their own creativity, imagine what the world would look like.”
In 2015, Musica Viva in Schools musicians travelled over 120,000 kilometres to deliver music education programs to over 260,000 students through 1,700 concerts, workshops and residencies. The company also provided direct training to over 2,000 teachers, as well as a further 8,000 teachers indirectly.