Featuring one guest a week alongside host Victoria Pham, Declassify is a series of conversations about the classical music industry - its challenges and its future. Transcripts available for each episode.
The Music Critic with Harriet Cunningham
This week is a very special insight into the world of being a music critic, an arts journalist and thinking about how to listen to the new, the challenging or listening differently. Declassify welcomes Dr Harriet Cunningham is a writer and researcher, best known as music and theatre critic for the Sydney Morning Herald. She writes for publications including The Saturday Paper, Limelight and the Financial Review. She has recently completed doctoral studies at UTS writing a cultural history of Dartington International Summer School of Music. She has been known to play the violin. Join us as we unpack the world of opera, the backlash from Opera Australia in reaction to criticism, narrowing repertoire choice of major arts companies and its consequences.
Selected Resources (full list available in transcript):
Opera Australia barring of music critic:
Ideas on opera and opera funding
Selection of Harriet’s work
Performing the Isms with Mary Osborn
For our first episode of 2021, Declassify welcomes onboard a good friend and extraordinary performer, Paris-based Australian saxophonist, Mary Osborn. Having completed a Bachelors of music performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, a performance diploma and Masters of music at the Versailles Conservatoire and Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin, Mary is forming her career as a classical and contemporary performer, creator and teacher. Mary has won numerous awards at international music competitions, she has worked closely with many composers and premiered their works, and enjoys developing multi-disciplinary projects. She is currently studying chamber music at the Conservatoire de Paris with her saxophone quartet, Quatuor Loriot. This week Mary and Victoria unpack working as a performer, the importance of transcriptions, the agency of being an artist and the emerging musicians stage, and the ‘isms’ of the classical music world.
Syrinx Revisted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y99s_RnHSz0
Mary’s Arragmenet of Tallahatchie Concerto by Jacob Ter Veldhius (JacobTV): https://www.boomboxshop.net/tallahatchie---ensemble.html
Centering Australian Music with John Davis
This week, Declassify welcomes the formidable and forever-passionate CEO of the Australian Music Centre, John Davis. He has been a great advocate and supporter of contemporary Australian Music and his work has been key for establishing and broadening the Australian music scene internationally, such as his representation of Australia as the Vice-President of the International Association of Music Information Centres and for the International Society for Contemporary Music. This week we talk new music, what does the word classical even mean? Has 2020 been a time for reflection and what does community well-being mean in this ecosystem of an industry?
Australian Music Centre
John’s Op-Ed: The significance of ‘art music’ in Australia - https://theindustryobserver.thebrag.com/op-ed-amc-ceo-john-davis-on-the-significance-of-art-music-in-australia/
Australian Music: http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue53/6967
Staging Agency with Megan Steller
For this episode of Declassify we are joined by one of the most passionate people I know, Megan Steller. Megan is an artist manager, writer, speaker, and producer based in Melbourne. She is passionate about working with emerging artists and seasoned performers alike to help create fulfilling, diverse and creatively empowering careers in the classical music sector. As an artist manager, Megan has worked at Intermusica (UK) and Patrick Togher Artists’ Management (AUS). As a journalist, she has been published in Limelight Magazine, The Age, and The Music, and has worked in a freelance capacity for Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Musica Viva, Melbourne Youth Orchestras, and Orchestra Victoria. With such an incredibly broad range of skills and experiences, this episode is all about the significance of community and resource-sharing across the classical music industry, the sometimes-unknown world of being an artist manager (or agent) and us asking, what about opera?
Selected Resources (many more in the transcript):
Opera Australia at a crossroads
As COVID wreaks havoc in the performing arts, do we still need a national opera company?
Discrimination in Casting Black Singers at the Metropolitan Opera
Opera in a post-Weinstein World
The Asian-Australian Intersection with Kezia Yap
This week, Declassify welcomes onboard composer and interdisciplinary artist, Kezia Yap. Kezia, another Sydney Con graduate, is currently an MFA candidate at the Victorian College of Arts where her work current work interrogates how cultural identity and the Asian-Australian experience can be explored through interdisciplinary creative practice. She is quickly gaining reputation internationally, with her works performed around Australia, as well as in Europe, Asia and the USA. Her current collaborations are with prominent female new music performers Hannah Reardon-Smith, Flora Wong, Kaylie Melville and Madi Chwasta, producing three new works as part of the SHARING SPACES project, supported by The Australia Council for the Arts. In this episode, host Victoria and Kezia, unpack the experience of being Asian-Australian, how the questions of cross-cultural dialogue and identity inform our work and experiences growing up in Australia, and the intricacies and often, contradictory nature, of being an emerging composer wanting to compose for orchestra.
Goldsmith, Kenneth. Uncreative Writing : Managing Language in the Digital Age. Columbia University Press, 2011.
Ang, Ien. On Not Speaking Chinese : Living between Asia and the West. Routledge, 2001.
The Stats with Ciaran Frame
This week Declassify welcomes on media artist, educator and composer, Ciaran Frame. Ciaran is passionate about cross-disciplinary collaboration and education, seeking a place in the world of data, technology and music. He has found a home in interactive and generative computer music, creating everything from sonification toolboxes to make music out of plants, to performance works where players must purchase their musical material. Our conversation in this week’s episode, Ciaran is the author and researcher behind the fantastic data collection series and publication, the Living Music Report. This week’s episode is a deep dive into data sets as inspiration for bio-music, the intricacies of stats and their revelations concerning MPA (Major Performing Arts Company) programming choices, accountability and the nature of grants and funding.
Selected Resources (full list available on transcript)
The Living Music Report
Reactions to the Living Music Report
Australian Music Centre: https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/living-music-report-2020-major-performing-arts-organisations-under-scrutiny
The Age, Australia: https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/dead-white-european-males-dominate-orchestra-music-survey-finds-20200623-p5559e.html
Gender Equity and Diversity in Opera Summit
Interesting, timely and smart
This is a really great podcast for folks in the professional / freelance classical-music and adjacent spaces. The presenter / interviewer is smart and incisive and knows what they’re talking about. In a space riddled with political, academic and ego-related cul-de-sacs, cynical voices, and snouts only interested in troughs, this set of conversations is an interesting companion for those who actually want to try & make a go of it in a meaningful way.
Insightful and informative
Interesting, informative, and insightful, Declassify offers a glimpse at the thoughts of some of the most forward thinking minds in the industry.
This podcast‘s discussions are vital to help foster a healthy future for Classical music.