Musica Viva Australia Supporting the Northern Rivers Music Community in a Time of Need

Musica Viva Australia was set to present four concerts and a number of workshops at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium this year, an important presenting partner for our extensive regional touring program. Sadly, these plans were not realised as intended. The devastating floods of February and March left the Conservatorium nearly destroyed, with two of its three floors completely submerged. Not a single instrument in the building was salvageable.

Shocked by the damage and in the spirit of Musica Viva Australia’s longstanding friendship with the Conservatorium, our CEO Hywel Sims reached out to the Conservatorium’s Executive Director Anita Bellman: ‘Musica Viva Australia has a deep and longstanding connection to Lismore – we’ve been touring to schools and the Conservatorium there for many years. As soon as we heard news of the flooding, I contacted Anita Bellman and asked how we could help. Anita and I came up with the idea of providing free seats at concerts and, separately, we also decided to provide free tours to local schools. We were determined to continue providing live music to the region and, thankfully, we were able to do so. At the first concert, more than 250 people took advantage of our free seats initiative – proof that music is most needed when times are tough. We look forward to providing more free seats at the rest of this year’s concerts in Lismore.’

Southern Cross University is generously providing space for the scheduled concerts and activities to take place, while artist fees for concerts and workshops are being covered by Musica Viva Australia donors. For example, Katherine and Reg Grinberg are supporting subsidised tickets for affected Lismore audiences to attend the Avi Avital and Giovanni Sollima concert program.

In addition to the overwhelmingly successful season opener with Lior and the Tinalley String Quartet, we will also present Ian Munro’s newly composed score for The Sentimental Bloke, performed by Ying Ho and Ian Munro. Avi Avital and Giovanni Sollima are visiting the region during this mainstage concert tour, and as part of
their visit, they will also be presenting a workshop to the students of Northern Rivers conservatorium at Southern Cross University. 

‘The generous support of Musica Viva Australia in being able to offer free tickets to flood-affected members of the Lismore and wider Northern Rivers community is extremely beautiful,’ says Anita Bellman. ‘Our local community is deeply touched by the kindness and generosity of this gesture, bringing the healing power of music during the difficult recovery from the catastrophic floods of February this year.’

As one of the largest providers of live music education to schools, we also contacted teachers in the area to ask how we could help. Here too, schools welcomed the idea of free concerts, and so, again with support from donors, we will be providing free tours to a number of local schools affected by the floods.


Written by Remi Harvey

If you would like to support the provision of free, live music to schools and concert audiences, please contact
Caroline Davis, Individual Giving Manager / 02 8394 6636.