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Reading in absence of music

08 Sep 2020

Marco Holden Jeffery

The Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC) is used to bringing its love of live music to audiences on a grand scale, and sadly this hasn’t been possible since its closure in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But through an exciting new book club and fund for local artists, MRC was planning to keep that connection between its supporters and the artistic community alive.

The online book club Bookmarks would trade the MRC’s love for music with the related joy of reading, bringing the MRC 2020-21 Artist-and-Writer-in-Residence Anna Goldsworthy to its members to discuss her debut novel Melting Moments.

Goldsworthy, a former concert pianist, said it “felt odd” to create something without the immediate feedback you would receive in a live performance.

“A reader’s encounter with the text is a private consummation - releasing a book into a pandemic is an even quieter, more private experience,” she said.

“I look forward to breaking that silence for a moment, particularly in my musical home of Melbourne Recital Centre.”

Inspired by a late-life romance experienced by her grandmother, Melting Moments was Goldsworthy’s first foray into fiction after a successful run of non-fiction writing.

The novel follows a woman’s life over 70 years as a series of moments, drawing from both Goldsworthy’s life and the experiences of the women around her.

“I’ve often felt that memoir is part fiction, while fiction tends to be part memoir. To my mind it’s a spectrum, and a lot of the writing I most admire sits somewhere in the middle,” she said.

Moderated by director of programming Marshall McGuire, Goldsworthy will join the Bookmarks club to discuss her book with readers via Zoom on Tuesday, September 29.

While musicians were off the stage and off the books, MRC is trying to extend a helping hand to these artists and keep them engaged with the organisation through its Performer Support Fund.

The fund originally aimed to raise $50,000, but after an extraordinary gift of $20,000 from one individual on its first day the fund now totalled more than $160,000.

Marshall McGuire said the level of support demonstrated the “deep” ongoing connection between artists and audiences despite the pandemic widening the gap between them.

“It speaks to the strength of the relationships we build through music and has hopefully enabled us all to keep a little more afloat than we otherwise would, with a view to bringing everyone back together as soon as we can,” he said.

The fund had provided support to 347 local artists so far, whether in the form of payment for cancelled concerts or creating paid employment opportunities for MRC’s online educational programs.

Pianist Kristian Chong said the fund provided some “crucial” security for musicians feeling uncertain or unsupported without the usual program of concerts and performances.

“While every little bit counts in these times, it is heartening to know that local musicians are being thought of through this fund,” she said.

Melbournerecital.com.au

 

Council’s art grants open

The City of Melbourne’s annual arts grants program is now open for projects in 2021, with grants of up to $20,000 available.

Grants are available to artists, creatives and small to medium arts organisations from all backgrounds and abilities in three categories of arts, Aboriginal arts and arts residences.

Support will be considered for one-off projects, a specific component of an annual program or a creative development, resulting in a public outcome within the City of Melbourne in 2021.

Projects presented online and creative developments without a public outcome will also be eligible if they can demonstrate a connection to the City of Melbourne.

Applications close September 28. For more information visit melbourne.vic.gov.au/arts-and-culture/strategies-support/funding/arts-grants/Pages/arts-grants.aspx

 

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