School of Music Community Consultation

2 February 2016

As Vice-Chancellor, I have a strong commitment to the School of Music and believe music education plays an essential role in a great university such as ANU.

Hi everyone,

As 2016 gets into full swing, I'm announcing a comprehensive community consultation on the ANU School of Music to find ways to strengthen the school, its academic excellence and deepen its engagement with the Canberra community.

I have asked distinguished former public servant Professor Andrew Podger AO to run the consultation, which will include discussions with past and present staff and students, and with the wider community.

Professor Podger's consultations will be guided by three core principles: The School of Music should be committed to international excellence; it should be as relevant as possible to the community; and any changes must be affordable.

As Vice-Chancellor, I have a strong commitment to the School of Music and believe music education plays an essential role in a great university such as ANU. In fact, my first visit to Australia was as a teenage member of the Alaska Youth Orchestra, which visited Canberra and played a concert in Llewellyn Hall.

Professor Podger will be advised by Interim Head of the School of Music Associate Professor Royston Gustavson. He will also be helped by expert advisers Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky AM, Emeritus Professor John Painter AM and Ms Robin Hughes AO.

The University community will be kept informed on how to take part.

Professor Podger will release a discussion paper in May after an initial round of consultations. He will then hold further consultations, before delivering a final report in August.

I encourage everyone to contribute to the discussion and have a say on the future shape of the School of Music.


Download the Terms of Reference.


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Comment by Ruth Oldfield
12.45pm 2 Feb 2016


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Comment by Daniel Mendelow
1.45pm 2 Feb 2016

This is great news and hopefully a positive step in regaining the magnificent profile the School of Music had in the last thirty years or so.  As a Faculty member there for twenty years during the 90's up until 2010, I had been continually frustrated by the continual "dumbing down" of the degree requirements, curriculum, as well as the perceived profile writhin the local, Australia wide, and international Music Community.  Let's hope this undertaking will make the School a premier venue for the study and performance of music in the Canberra community as it once was

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Comment by Franceska Nagy
10.30am 3 Feb 2016

This is good news ANU, thank you. It will be a good thing to bring the ANU SOM back from the ashes. But is this paper a little bit to late and has the damage been done? Only time will tell.

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Comment by Juris Jakovics
10.30am 3 Feb 2016

About time! - to save the School from publically perceived oblivion.

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Comment by Simon Hukin
11am 3 Feb 2016

As a former student and current President of Canberra City Band, I'd love to be involved in these consultations.

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Comment by Matthew Toohey
1.45pm 3 Feb 2016

The Canberra School of Music used to be well-regarded nationally (and even internationally) as a place where people could launch careers in music, especially as performers. Since the late 1980s changes to the funding and governance of tertiary music institutions have seen most of them run into a funding crisis of one sort or another. So getting the funding sorted out is crucial.

Many students, staff and supporters of tertiary music schools haven't yet learned how to argue their case for more funding persuasively in the new funding environment, nor have they been able to demonstrate to the bean counters the value that music has to universities and the broader society. We need to remedy that.

It is no accident that music is one of the subjects of the quadrivium, the second level of the liberal arts education prized in a classical education. (I think arithmetic, geometry and astronomy are all safe, especially under our new Vice-Chancellor.) One strategy we could look at would be to build an endowment fund to supplement the inadequate government funding for music with private funding.

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Comment by Katharine Pinkerton
2.30pm 9 Feb 2016

Having been a staff member of ANU from 1973 to 1998, a Friend of the Classics Museum and a member of the casual staff of the School of Music from 1993 to the present day, I am anxious to witness the University's continuing excellence in all aspects of further education. Cultural education is essential for a rounded University education.The Schools of Music and Art should once again become the Institute of the Arts, administered separately from the present arrangement, simply because courses at both institutions are performance-based and largely require small classes or one-on-one tuition.The expertise of the talented former staff and students of the SoM form the basis of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, which enjoys, at present, a world-class musical director. Llewellyn Hall is the only large concert venue in Canberra, whose audiences are loyal and appreciative of the attempts by many to nurture this once-wonderful institution.