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  • revision
Sociology Unit Themes Essential Questions Enduring Understandings Wisconsin State Social Studies Standards Curriculum Revision 2011 - 2012
  • influence of media on people
  • issues of cultural assimilation
  • individuals through the socialization process
  • competition on the development of national policies and on the lives of individuals
  • agents of socialization
  • social studies standards
  • institutions
  • e.
  • individuals



Publié par
Nombre de lectures 43
Langue English


Occasional Paper No. 56
“Under the Stars in Tropical Vienna”
by Associate Professor Martin W B Jarvis, DSO Artistic Director
This paper is available only via the Internet.
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. This paper
should not be reproduced without permission from the copyright owner.
Before I begin my lecture on the Darwin Symphony Orchestra I would like to give full
recognition to Eric Johnston’s great support of the Orchestra, both during and after his term
as Administrator of the Northern Territory.
In my early days here, back in 1988, I remember well Eric referring to me in person as “the
Svengalie of Orchestral Music” – I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant at the time and I’m still
not really sure, either.
Suffice to say that I really appreciated his commitment to the establishment of a symphony
orchestra for the NT.
thWe worked together last, on the 1994 20 anniversary commemoration of Cyclone Tracy. Eric
thwanted the opening concert to be held in the Town Hall ruins on the 5 of December!
I said, “what if it rains, Eric”, to which he replied, as one might expect, that he had a direct line
to the Almighty and that if we decided to go ahead with that venue he could assure me that it
would not rain!
The title of my lecture tonight, “Under the Stars in Tropical Vienna”, is the title also of the first
outdoor performance given by the Darwin Symphony Orchestra in 1989.
I chose it because it is statement about the spirit of the Orchestra and its attitude to the
outdoors for which it has now become renowned.
My talk tonight will, then, be in essentially two parts.
Firstly, I will give you a potted history of the DSO or more correctly the DSO’ s predecessors,
to 1988; the year I arrived at Darwin.
Then I will take you, in time, through the following two years to the end of August 1990 to the
Katherine Gorge Concert – the event that put the DSO on the national and international map,
so to speak.
The Darwin Symphony Orchestra has become, over the past decade or so, one of the most
high profile orchestras in Australia. Certainly, within the context of an amateur or community
orchestra it has a unique status and reputation both nationally and internationally.
For example, I recently looked the Darwin Symphony Orchestra up on a Google Search on
the world-wide-web and discovered literally dozens of references to the Orchestra, from
previous conductors and soloists, who have performed with the orchestra, to parliamentary
documents referring to the DSO.
With its performances at remote locations such as Katherine Gorge, Nourlangie Rock, Glen
Helen Gorge, Groote Eylandt and more recently at Kununurra, it has attracted the attention of
1the music loving community of both the Northern Territory and Australia, and has won a
special place in their hearts.
Indeed there have been many occasions when I have received letters, telephone calls or
simply comments from people, literally in the street, expressing their appreciation of the
Orchestra. It is quite common for people to tell me that they "love the DSO".
Because of its community nature, the DSO's history and development involves many
individuals, very many of whom have contributed much beyond simply playing in the
Orchestra. People such as Pat O'Leary, Ian Ament, Mary Wheaton, Trish Doyle, Ros Bracher,
and, of course the inimitable, Adina Poole from the Darwin String Orchestra days to Claire
Kilgariff, and Anita Green from the Darwin Chamber Orchestra days.
And indeed as you will see, many other individuals, such as Nan Giese, Chancellor of Charles
Darwin University, who have freely given enormous amounts of their time and energy over the
years, in many different ways in order to make the Darwin Symphony Orchestra what it is
So what I have say tonight is also a celebration of all those people who brought the Darwin
Symphony Orchestra in to existence.
Like a lot of things in life, the Darwin Symphony Orchestra didn’t come about through some
great planning exercise; but rather through the gradual process of natural development and
the unintentional intertwining and connecting of various individuals, as I my story will reveal.
From Adina Poole’s playing of string duets in 1976 through on-off performances such as
Jean Johnston’s Messiah performance in 1977 that “needed some sort of an orchestra”, there
was, as Adina Poole put it “a growing need for more classical music in Darwin”.
In the late 1970’s a concert band was formed under the direction of Nora Miller.
It comprised mainly wind players but string players also took part, simply for the joy of
ensemble playing.
During this time, 1977-84, there was also a putsch, by prominent members of the Darwin
community, for the establishment of a professional orchestra.
I have been told that Paul Everingham, the first Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, had a
symphony orchestra high on his list of “wants” for the NT.
Daryl Manzie, the then Minister for Community Development led the initiative to find funding;
and approaches were made both to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and to the
Federal Government, through the Australia Council’s “Study of the Future Development of
Orchestras in Australia”; but in both cases sadly to no avail.
It was, however, the arrival, in the early 1983, of Pat O’Leary, the wife of the then Chief
Justice, which gave both the momentum and the all-important expertise essential for the
development of the Darwin String Ensemble.
In the mean time Brown’s Mart, the Community Arts Project, Directed by Ken Conway, also
became involved. At the end of 1981 a Felix Meagher carried out a “Music Needs Survey” at
Darwin and as a result of the report, funding was made available for the appointment of a
Music Project Officer, a Bob Petchell.
From 1983, through Brown’s Mart, a number of initiatives were developed and carried out, to
enhance the level of music activity in the City of Darwin.
For example, between the 22nd and the 29th of May 1983, string teacher and music educator
Mitchel Brunsden was brought to Darwin at the request of the string teachers of the City.
2Mitchel Brunsden was at that time the South Australian Education Departments Senior String
He was to teach and give workshops to the string players and teachers.
It was “a tremendous success” as Adina Poole’s report to Browns Mart put it.
The success of the project led to a subsequent visit by Professor John Hopkins later that
same year.
The concert, held at the “Octagon” at Nightcliff High School, presented at the end of the visit
received considerable accolades.
As Bob Petchell put it in his report…”the concert was excellent and a real first for Darwin”.
John Hopkins returned the next year, 1984, to conduct another performance.
This time the orchestra performed for the first time under the name the Darwin Symphony
Ian Tuxworth, the Chief Minister at the time, wrote to all members of the Orchestra expressing
his enjoyment and congratulating them for their effort.
On this occasion the Darwin Symphony Orchestra had been formed as a one-off project,
drawing together the Darwin String Ensemble and wind players and percussionists.
From these combined efforts and events, the Darwin String Orchestra grew, replacing the
Darwin String Ensemble.
On the 30th of August 1984 the Darwin String Orchestra gave its inaugural concert at the then
Darwin Community College Theatre.
A relationship between the Darwin Chorale and the Darwin String Orchestra was forged
almost immediately, and together they produced two performances, under the Direction of
Dr Dean Patterson, of Bach’s St John Passion, on the 2nd and 3rd of April 1985 at Christ
Church Cathedral.
In April, of the same year, Mark Dunbar took up a three month long position of Conductor-in-
Residence at Brown’s Mart.
Once again a “Darwin Symphony Orchestra” of local musicians, comprising members of the
Darwin City Brass Band, the Concert Band, the Darwin String Orchestra and the Darwin
Youth Orchestra, was created for the purpose of giving a concert at Marrara in-door stadium
on the 21st of June.
Also in1985, Paul Cathcart became the Musical Director of the Darwin String Orchestra.
Paul, a fine trumpet player and Head of Music at Dripstone High School, of course had an
interest in wind music, which inevitably led to the drawing together of the wind and strings to
form an ongoing orchestra called the Darwin Chamber Orchestra in 1986.
On the 3rd and 4th of May 1986, another “Darwin Symphony Orchestra” was created from the
Darwin String Orchestra, other local musicians and a contingent of students from the Victorian
College of the Arts for the “Soft” Opening of the Darwin Performing Arts Centre and again this
was conducted by John Hopkins.
As part of the same “Soft” Opening of the Darwin Performing Arts Centre; the needs of the
Darwin Chorale, under the direction of Dr Dean Patterson, for an orchestra for their
performances of the HMS Pinafore, also acted as an additional catalyst to bring together the
orchestral players.
3Loose plans were made amongst the Chamber Orchestra members for the re-establishment
of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra for the 1988 season.
The Darwin Community College
In 1983 in parallel with the orchestral development th

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