“The Melba Foundation was established to promote Australia’s finest classical musicians and artists in the national and international music world” says the opening statement on the home page of Melba Recordings. It continues: “The appointed role of the foundation is to help the best contemporary Australian musicians…. develop a profile and continue to build musical careers on an international stage.”
Named after Australia’s legendary soprano and established in 2001, the Melba Foundation has funded the eponymous recording label which has produced 67 CDs, amongst them the landmark recording of the State Opera of South Australia’s acclaimed production of Wagner’s Ring cycle in 2004, the only media company to do so.
Melba’s perspective on Australia’s contribution to Western music, seems to have had a healthy global outlook. The recording catalogue has an emphasis on Australian artists of world renown performing works from the broader Western music canon. Names like Cheryl Barker, Richard Bonynge, John Wegner, Stuart Skelton. Paul Dean, Neal Peres da Costa, Timothy Young, Steve Davislim and Kees Boersma appear in the listings.
In 2004, the Federal Government awarded the Melba Foundation a five-year grant of $5 million. This was followed in 2009 with a three-year grant of $2.25 million, “to produce high-quality music recordings that showcase Australian artists on the world classical music stage”.
In a shock decision, the Federal Government withdraw its funding from June 30th 2012. Read more about this decision at: