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Charmian Gadd reflects on MUSICA VIVA at the 75th Anniversary


I was three years old when the first Musica Viva concert took place, living in the bush at Ourimbah. We had some young musician friends who had been students at the Conservatorium before and were sent off to the War, returning as "rehab" students. They would come up to our property for most holidays to shoot rabbits! They were my first teachers and reported with enthusiasm on this crazy bloke who had financed this concert at the Con. They did find him a bit strange.

After all, I guess Richard Goldner was a bit strange; he was an inventor and musician and was intent on forming an ensemble in memory of his mentor and teacher in Vienna who had been killed at Treblinka with the entire  orchestra which he had formed in the Polish Ghetto.

It's not your usual story.

He was not your usual man.  I would know better than anyone
, as first I studied with him and later married him, making me the step-mother of Musica Viva. Relationships with step-mothers are not always comfortable. However this one is a very loving and proud one. I can look back on a personal fifty years of close association with Musica Viva through many different leaderships. I cherish the early years when I led a " Younger Set" group coached by Richard, Robert Pikler, Ernest Llewellyn and many members of visiting groups in house events in Sydney and the Mittagong Festivals of the Fifties and Sixties. Charles Berg, sophisticated and cultured, wearing his colourful suede jackets in the chill of the Mittagong Easters. Ken Tribe who became my "uncle" Ken and helped me and so many other musicians with our legal affairs.  Fred and Julie Wenkart in whose Wahroonga home so much fun and learning took place! The Austral Quartet playing a concert unaware that Rostropovich was staying in the house, cellist Greg Elmaloglou almost falling off his chair as a long arm reached out to turn his page.    

I could get carried away with memories, in fact I am, but this celebration is about what  part Musica Viva has played in our national cultural development. We look with pride on the largest Chamber Music Organisation in the world, the presentation of top local and international groups running parallel with international trends and historical developments
; the fostering of a whole generation of Australian composers through commissions; the immensely valuable work in schools.     .                

Musica Viva, we salute you and wish you every success in the rather unpredictable future we face at the moment. You are on the one hand the inheritors but also carry the task and the privilege of taking that rich heritage into the future. The more I think about it the more I suspect the European cultural
, literary, artistic and musical heritage is perhaps the finest thing we have inherited.    

Happy Anniversary
Charmian Gadd Goldner

Charmian Gadd is the patron of the Central Coast Conservatorium of Music. She is a member of the Music Education Committee and plays an active role in mentoring violin students. 

Charmian & Friends will host their traditional Birthday Bash concert on Sunday 10 January at 2.30pm at Greenway Chapel, Green Point.
This concert will raise funds for 
the Conservatorium Indigenous Scholarship Program.

Box office will open soon. Follow us on Facebook for up-to date details on Charmian's concert.  

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Term Dates

The Central Coast Conservatorium operates to NSW Department of Education School Gazetted Term dates

Term 1
1-1 Lessons Wed 27/1 to Thur 1/4
Sat Strings Ensembles Sat 6/2 - Sat 26/3
CCYO & Ext program Tue 9/2 - Tue 30/03
PWE & SWO Wed 10/2 - Wed 31/03

Term 2
Monday 19/4 to Saturday 26/06 

Term 3
Monday 12/7 to Saturday 18/09

Term 4
Monday 05/10 to Saturday 18/12

Mission Statement

We seek to inspire our Central Coast community to engage in and value music as an integral part of life through comprehensive music education and artistic endeavour.