Melba Recordings

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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.

The Power Issue

Sunday, 1 August 2004 - 12:00am

Sectorial Power 2004: ARTS

For the third year running, businessman David Gronski remains the outstanding influence on the arts in Australia. Generous with his time and input, and with a top-drawer business network at his disposal, Gronski's steady hand reaches into many layers of the Australian arts scene via the swag of major cultural boards he heads. He is also extremely well regarded by federal and state governments alike.
Otherwise, it's a very different list this year to last. Richard Alston, second on last year's list has retired and been replaced by another politician, NSW Premier and Minister for the Arts, Bob Carr, who takes second position by virtue of the millions he has poured into the acclaimed new Sydney Theatre and the renovations to the Sydney Opera House.
With the Australian film industry suffering from a major production downturn, real power in that industry now lies offshore with the dozen or so international stars whose names have the power to help greenlight local projects, from Baz Luhrmann to, most recently, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Heath Ledger and Frances O'Connor.
In fourth position is Rupert Myer, in part as the most recently visible of the culturally important but extremely low profile Myer family. Myer's 2002 report into the visual arts and crafts did not confine itself to matters of finance but got governments looking at broader issues such as copyright, intellectual property and the indigenous sector. Modest, with impeccable business contacts, he continues to wield significant influence behind the scenes in the arts world, and through the very influential Myer committees on everything from the environment and social justice issues to our links with Asia.
The director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmund Capon, who celebrated 25 years in the job in 2003, moves aside for a relative unknown, Maria Vandamme, who pulled off the arts coup of the year, single-handedly securing a grant of $5 million in the last federal budget for the Melba Foundation, which she set up last year ...

Maria Vandamme is founder of the Melba Foundation and in 1999 set up Melba Recordings, producing high-quality classical CDs of Australian musicians for international distribution. This year, Vandamme coolly bypassed the government's arts funding body, the Australia Council, to appeal directly to the federal government. In the May budget, she was rewarded with a $5 million grant, over five years, to assist in the production of 35 CDs.

The Australian Financial Review Magazine