Monday, 13 February 2023
Reception for Accompanists' Guild of South Australia
I am very pleased to welcome you to Government House to celebrate 40 years of the Accompanists Guild of South Australia.
As Governor it is my great pleasure to host events here at Government House which include musical entertainment – as we will enjoy this evening.
While our guests’ attention is usually drawn to the solo artist, I often find myself watching the accompanist, and admiring their skill.
As you know far better than I, the work of an accompanist is nuanced and demanding.
It requires nimble responses and sensitively to performance elements such as tempo, phrasing, and interpretation, as well as collaboration with fellow musician in high-pressure settings, like competitions and auditions.
In addition, many of you are teachers or educators, and need to teach and monitor a student's performance while playing.
As accompanists you perform a complex role, and I imagine you may feel underappreciated at times.
I am very pleased that this evening’s reception is an opportunity to correct that!
I’m also pleased that, here in South Australia, we have the Accompanists’ Guild to support accompanists and give them the support and recognition they need.
Such an organisation is quite rare, I understand, as the guild was the first of its kind in Australia and one of only a few around the world.
This makes your work and your longevity all the more special, and I note the presence this evening of Diana Harris, the guild’s founder.
Since its inception, the guild has provided accompanying services for thousands of individuals and many music organizations.
It has supported its members by ensuring its register of musicians is shared with every possible individual, school or organisation that may require an accompanist.
It has also maintained a strong emphasis on education, encouraging and working with young musicians.
I am pleased to see that, over the years, the guild has brought a number of prominent musicians to South Australia to work with our state’s young musicians.
These include Phillip Bell, your international patron and David Miller of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, both of whom are here this evening; Anthony Legge of Opera Australia, and others.
Your ongoing programs – including ensembles, showcases and awards - provide opportunities for young pianists at the primary, secondary, tertiary and post tertiary levels to develop and refine their skills.
We will see an example of this when pianist Samantha Li accompanies fellow young musician, clarinetist James Skelton, in a few moments.
I thank the guild for supporting thousands of young musicians in these ways over the years.
A number of these young musicians have gone on to vibrant and satisfying careers as collaborative artists, which is testament to the support they received from the guild.
I thank the presidents and committee members of the guild, past and present, for their many and varied contributions to the organisation over the years.
I thank the young musicians who, after being supported by the guild during their formative years, have gone on to become dedicated members.
I wish the guild every success for the future, ensuring that South Australian accompanists receive the much-needed support, recognition and opportunities they deserve.