The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic is Australia’s oldest surviving cultural organisation, with a strong reputation for very fine music – so Classic Melbourne is shocked to hear that it is under threat. Although it is unusual for us to be so partisan, we are concerned that this threat is real and so we are happy to endorse this letter from its director, Andrew Wailes, and to suggest a way in which you can help. Andrew writes:
“You may not be aware that in the recent announcements of City of Melbourne Arts funding, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic had 100 per cent of its funding cut. The RMP has not received any reason for this, other than regret that an organisation as deserving of funding as the RMP could not be included. This is hard to fathom when one considers that the City of Melbourne did see fit to fund a woman to get a personal tattoo to the tune of $7000, and various other groups received tens of thousands of dollars for small scale activities that seem to provide little or no benefit to the residents of Melbourne, nor affect many artists.
This situation is particularly disappointing, given the great work the RMP is doing, and the huge number of people in this city who benefit from the RMP as an organisation, either as choral or the hundreds of professional musicians who the RMP casually employs, soloists we engage, developing musicians who gain valuable experience performing in RMP concerts, accompanists and composers, or indeed the associate artists who benefit from inclusion in RMP performances (such as other youth choirs, tertiary ensembles and other community choirs). In recent times the RMP Orchestra has undertaken several significant international tours, for which it has received no support from Australian, State or local Governments.
Furthermore the RMP’s wider audience and importance to the City of Melbourne seems to have been ignored. This includes the hundreds of thousands of people who have recently enjoyed RMP performances at major events such as the Melbourne Cup, ANZAC Day Services at the Shrine, the AFL Grand Final, the Melbourne Awards, International Rugby Finals, the Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner, the Battle for Australia Commemorations, the International Rugby Final at AAMI Stadium, Opening of the World Parliament of Religions, the Catholic Schools Performing Arts Spectacular, Michael Buble’s most recent tour, International Comedy Festival events and at our own RMP events such as our popular Carols in the Cathedral concerts at St Paul’s Cathedral, our Town Hall Concert Series, our world-record breaking annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, the RMP Aria Competition or the Sing Your Own Oratorio Event at Federation Square and many more.
The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic is Australia’s oldest surviving cultural organisation, and one of the world’s oldest surviving choirs. Its choir and orchestra are both important ensembles in the cultural life of Melbourne, and both are depended on by other groups or events as part of Melbourne’s Musical Community. It has been providing fine music to the people of Melbourne since 1853 – almost 165 years – but this decision to cut funding could mean the end of the RMP as soon as the end of this year if suitable funds can not be secured in the next few months.
As a result I am writing to you to seek your support. A special fundraiser is being held at the historic Drill Hall (rehearsal base of the RMP choir and orchestra), to raise much-needed funds to ensure the survival of the RMP into 2015 and beyond.
On Melbourne Cup Day (Tuesday 4 November) the RMP Choir will again provide the musical entertainment for the opening ceremony of the Cup Telecast, and will perform live to an international TV audience of hundreds of millions. Later that evening the RMP will hold a fundraiser at the Drill Hall from 6pm, which I have called a Cup Day Classical Cabaret. Friends, families, audience, fellow musicians, and members of the wider community will have the chance to show their support by joining members of the RMP Choir and Orchestra for a fun, informal social gathering and musical celebration, with all proceeds going to the fighting fund to help keep the RMP making music in Melbourne.
Music Director and Chief Conductor,
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra”
RMP’s MELB CUP CLASSICAL CABARET FUNDRAISER
When: Tues 4th November 6pm -10pm
At: The Drill Hall, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne 3000
Bookings essential: http://www.trybooking.com/108257
Hurry to secure your tickets NOW, as places are strictly limited. Tickets will include light refreshments, fine wines and cheeses which have been generously donated, fruit platters and delicious nibbles, as well as wonderful entertainment provided by some of Australia’s finest opera, instrumental and chamber musicians including Stefan Cassomenos (piano), Monica Curro (Assistant Principal 2nd Violin, MSO), Philip Arkinstall (Associate Principal Clarinet, MSO), pianist Amir Farid, Melbourne contemporary chamber music ensemble PLEXUS, and past and present musicians of the Australian National Academy of Music. There will also be a giant raffle, some fabulous door prizes and a silent auction.