End of Year Report AUSTA (NSW) 2023
AUSTA (NSW) committee used the first half of 2023 to consolidate its organisation and strategic direction for the year. The committee is particularly mindful that it wants to support the work of string teachers throughout NSW and has been looking for ways to ease communication and spread development opportunities into the regions.
We started the year with a performers’ festival in Sydney on May 21 at Sydney Grammar School in St. Ives which was attended to capacity by students, parents and teachers. Around ninety young performers supported wonderfully by the magnificent pianist Alison Cameron performed their repertoire in front of an enthusiastic audience, received trophies and reports from AUSTA committee members, including Judy Hellmers, Dr. Evgeny Sorkin, Katherine Ramsay and Victoria Jacono- Gilmovich. The day received much positive feedback providing inspiring motivation to the students. A further performer’s festival day was held in Kendall on the mid-north coast of NSW near Port Macquarie, organised in conjunction with the Kendall National Violin Competition by AUSTA committee member Natasha Ivanovic and supported by pianist Lydia Wills on June 25.
From August on, AUSTA collaborated with The Kings School in Sydney to present four string seminars for students, parents and teachers. These seminars feature a mixed format of masterclass, workshop presentation and discussion on themes including foundations of playing (August 8), developing technique efficiently (September 5), performance preparation (October 17) and motivation and practice (November 14). The workshops were very well received with audience across Australia on zoom broadcast attending. AUSTA (NSW) also welcomed Adele Ohki, Head of Strings at Newongton College, as a new committee member in August.
On September 17, we presented our first double bass afternoon with workshops, masterclasses and ensemble playing at Santa Sabina School in Sydney, led by Kees Boersma and Alex Henery from the Sydney Symphony. Around 25 young bass players worked on technical and musical ideas with an equal number of observers, teachers and parents cheering the young players on. Matthew Tucker from Bresque Basses set up his workshop for the afternoon to help with maintenance matters and relevant advice. The afternoon ended with a performance for bass ensemble. Overall, a great initiative which we want to grow and make a regular feature of our activities. The day ran so smoothly thanks to the support of Austa (NSW) vice president Lorraine Chai and Treasurer Victoria Jacono- Gilmovich.
Our second Sydney Performers Festival day took place on October 29 at Sydney Grammar School in St. Ives. Fully subscribed, with exquisite planning leadership from our secretary Douglas Glanville, 120 solo performances in two halls showed again how important such opportunities are for young players. The AUSTA committee worked like a dream team. A second performers’ festival is going ahead on November 26 in Kendall/ Port Macquarie led by our committee member Natasha Ivanovic. On the weekend of November 3- 5 AUSTA president Goetz Richter visited Armidale for workshops on practice and technique (free on zoom for AUSTA members) and string classes at the New England Conservatorium of Music.
The big project for AUSTA (NSW) in the months ahead will be the organisation of the 2025 National Conference in Sydney. Following a presentation to the National Executive our planning for this important event has commenced. We will shortly survey members about having their say about what should happen in our next National Conference.
For 2024, the committee plans to expand its activities to support particularly young teachers with a mentorship model under discussion at this point. Further projects for 2024 will include expanded Performers Festivals in Sydney, Kendall/Port Macquarie, Wollongong and Armidale, a repeat and expansion of the bass day including initiatives led by our Vice-President Lorraine Chai and developmental workshops for cellists, violas and for methodology of beginner teaching.
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