For Musica Viva, Australia’s oldest independent professional performing arts organisation, music education and artist development have occupied an important role alongside the world-class concerts it has presented since 1945.
Its schools programme is the largest in the nation and has reached thousands of school students across the country.
Now Musica Viva has announced the appointment of an Artistic Director of Education. That appointment is to be taken up this month by Australian composer and director Michael Sollis.
Michael Sollis has had a long association with Musica Viva having been their ACT Manager since 2008. With this appointment, he marks the next stage of his relationship with the company, stepping into this visionary new role, exploring options that will take Musica Viva’s vibrant education program into the future.
Michael Sollis will also work closely with Richard Gill OAM, Artistic Advisor to Musica Viva’s education program since 2014 Mr Gill was instrumental in the search for Musica Viva’s inaugural Artistic Director of Education. He says “Michael has the energy that will ignite Musica Viva’s education program; he will take it from where it is now and adapt it for the future. 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. I look forward to seeing what he is able to achieve for music education in this country.”
Speaking on his appointment, Mr Sollis observes, “When a school student sees a live musician for the first time, it truly has the potential to change their life forever, so 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. Richard Gill has kept the flame alive for music education in this country, and I’m thrilled and humbled to be able to work with him over the next 12 months as he passes the torch on.”
“Music is more than an ‘add-on’ extracurricular activity – it is an essential part of the human experience,” says Mr Sollis. “My job at Musica Viva will be to ensure that every school in Australia has the opportunity to access the highest quality live music and performance so every child has the opportunity to have their young imaginations
Musica Viva provides broad-based, expert music education programs for primary and high school students ranging from live performance to digital learning, including extended residencies, intensive workshops and accessible resources. Musica Viva In Schools is the largest external provider of music education programs in Australian classrooms, including in regional and remote areas.
In 2015, musicians representing Musica Viva In Schools 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.