Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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News from Melba Recordings

Go behind the scenes for insights on our recordings, our artists and our future plans. Follow our artists' schedules and share the excitement of their journeys.

Movers and Shakers

Wednesday, 1 September 2004 - 12:00am

Meet the people moving and shaking Melbourne.

People make a city. They bring it to life, create its identity and determine its future; some more than most. These power brokers make a difference, get things done and shape events with a combination of influence, expertise, vision and effort. They’re heavily involved in professional and community activities and backed by strong networks.

High-fliers, top 100 CEOs, leading businessmen, political leaders, select celebrities and sporting heroes are among the household names causes and projects regularly target for assistance. Beneath the glittery surface is a more complex, more effective group of influential people. They move and shake in a subtler way.

Except by the informed few, their efforts are often unacknowledged, unrecognised or attributed to others. But they’re the ones who filter and incubate ideas, direct them to the right ears, join the dots, open doors and put deals together. There are scores of them in every field of endeavour. Without them, Melbourne would be far less interesting ...

Elwood music producer Vandamme doesn’t see herself a mover or shaker, despite securing $5 million from the last Federal Budget to record Australia’s finest musicians. She puts professional arts lobbyists in the shade. She could write the manual on networking.

Armed with her dream to create a recorded legacy and promote Australian musical culture abroad, Vandamme left the ABC in 1998. She was born with a powerful, persuasive personality and a driving passion she brought to bear for the 2000 launch of Melba Recordings; supported by Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge (founding patrons). Lord Harwood and Richard and Jeanne Pratt. But without a business case, Vandamme was persuaded by the “defining words” of ANZ and Ian Potter Foundation chairman Charles Goode: hers was a government concern.

Thus, Melba Recordings morphed into the not-for-profit Melba Foundation and was relaunched at Raheen last year by music lover Barry Humphrles. Arts Minister Rod Kemp, who launched the label, was called on to back the new arts body. Vandamme secured a meeting with Treasurer Peter Costello, supported by letters from Australia’s musical elite — not to mention some of his heavy-hitting constituents. Special funds flowed via the Australia Council to support the Melba Foundation’s production of at least 35 CDs over the next five years.

Vandamme’s founding benefactor, Dame Elizabeth Murdoch, arranged a meeting in Los Angeles with Rupert Murdoch, who recommended her to his son Lachlan. Chris Deutscher and Rod Menzies of auction house Deutscher-Menzies persuaded six major artists to provide works for a $200,000 fundraising auction.

Westpac is a major sponsor. Music lover Barry Jones provided advice and opened doors, while Lady Vestey (Dame Nellie Melba’s granddaughter) and John Laws are among prominent patrons. Vandamme already has a dozen projects on the boil ...

Jan McGuinness
Melbourne Weekly Bayside