Byline: Stories to Inspire

With the first tour of Musica Viva’s 2021 Season now underway, we thought it timely to highlight one of the special Concert Champions who helped make it possible.

Robert Gibbs – MVA Victoria Committee Member, donor and custodian – is one of a select group of Concert Champions who has helped to realise Paul Kildea’s artistic vision for 2021 by generously pledging specific support towards presenting one of the main stage concerts of the season.

As Concert Champion for the performance of Diana Doherty and Streeton Trio in Adelaide on Tuesday 2 March, Robert’s support helped to kick off the Season with style.

Robert dedicated his Concert Champion gift to the memory of his beloved mother, Barbara Gibbs (nee Spencer). Hard-working and coming from modest beginnings, Robert writes of his mother, “She was a migrant woman who came to Adelaide in 1970 from Yorkshire in search of a better life for her family. With four children to support, she worked tirelessly in factories, such was the typical migrant experience of that time.”

Though her humble migrant beginnings necessitated hard work and left little time to pursue other interests, Barbara later discovered a love for the arts. “Music and art came late in her life not having the ability to support such interests in earlier days,” says Robert. “But when she did actually discover the South Australian Art Gallery, and Musica Viva, there was no stopping her.”

An example of Barbara’s desire for everyone to be able to enjoy art of all kinds, was her contribution towards a 2014 appeal for funds by the Art Gallery of South Australia to help buy a work by French impressionist painter, Alfred Sisley. Barbara was delighted to be invited for a private viewing of the work which her donation helped to purchase.

Barbara was particularly enthusiastic about sharing her interest in the arts with the next generation. As Robert adds “she felt particular joy in seeing young children making music, singing and painting.”

It seems apt then that the love for and interest in the arts which Barbara passed on to Robert, should help to launch this new season, Viva 2021 – a new year of music to be shared and enjoyed by all.

If you would like to become a Concert Champion, or are interested in finding out more about this program, please contact Zoë Cobden-Jewitt, Director of Development at or on (02) 8394 6616.