Elder Conservatorium of Music: 2023 Highlights

To wrap up 2023, the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics is reflecting on the year that was and featuring highlights from each school.

Director of Elder Conservatorium of Music, Professor Anna Goldsworthy, says, "in 2023, we have had a bumper year at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, not least in outreach and engagement. Alongside our celebrated concert series and dazzling Music Theatre productions, we also launched Adelaide coolest new jazz venue, Hal’s Hall. We have targeted recruitment with a revitalised website, our inaugural Day at the Con, coordinated outreach activities both domestically and internationally, and strategic appointments supported partly by philanthropy.

We’ve lent in further to South Australia’s flourishing creative sector, formalising a partnership with the State Theatre Company of South Australia for our Music Theatre program, and have just developed an orchestral fellowship program with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside this, we have overseen a major curriculum restructure, bringing together the areas of Composition, Popular Music and Sonic Arts into the new cultural powerhouse of Creative Practice. Our new research pillars have reenergised our research space with excellent outcomes ranging from NTROS to successful grant funding applications.

In 2024, we celebrate our Alumni as part of the University of Adelaide’s 150th celebrations with a concert series that takes the theme ‘Generations,’ bringing together current students, staff and alumni for a year of recitals. Look out for a special Gala Concert in which we relaunch the Friends of the Elder Conservatorium!"

While there have been many achievements, we have selected just a few that demonstrate what a special year this was for Elder Conservatorium students, staff, and alumni.

In no particular order:

  1. In August, New York-based award-winning vocalist, producer, activist, writer, and educator, Jazzmeia Horn mentored and performed with the state’s top graduating musicians from the Elder Conservatorium of Music. Horn was the guest artist for Helpmann Academy’s annual A Night of Jazz event. This concert honoured outstanding musicians from the Elder Conservatorium; more than $32,500 was be awarded to the Con's top jazz graduates. 
  2. Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM) students Elisha Umuhuri and Jontae Lawrie's Anangu hip hop group DEM MOB has had a breakout year, including performing at Primavera in Barcelona, and winning 5 SA Music Awards.

  3. Elder Conservatorium of Music was proud to announce joint Indigenous leadership for the Centre of Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM), for the first time in its fifty year history, welcoming Grayson Rotumah and Dylan Crismani as joint directors. Read more.
  4. Elder Conservatorium of Music had a full year with their Awakenings 2023 Concert Series in the newly reawakened Elder Hall. Awakenings included 25 lunchtime concerts, and 10 evening concerts, including the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra quite literally sharing the stage with the Music Theatre's production of the musical, On the Town in Elder Hall.
  5. Elder Conservatorium of Music hosted 'a Day at the Con', for prospective students to learn more and be immersed in the Con's atmosphere. Visitors got to sit in on Shrek the Musical rehearals, witness performances by our staff, with students encouraged to participate in open masterclasses and ensembles, and take home some University of Adelaide merchandise!

  6. Top classical performance students from the Elder Conservatorium of Music competed for $1500 worth of prizes in the 'Top Class' lunchtime concert, supported by the Peter Brooker prize for musical excellence. Jenny Su (piano), Millicent Brake (classical voice), Tim Tran (violin), and Alevia Evci (saxophone) performed, with Millicent being named the winner, and Jenny being named the runner-up. 
  7. Elder Conservatorium Music Theatre students put on 4 wonderful shows throughout the year: On the Town (third years), Sweeney Todd (third years), A Chorus Line (third years and some first years), and Shrek: The Musical (second years) (Photos by Greg Balcombe)
  8. The Centre for Aboriginal studies in Music (CASM) turned 50 years old and celebrated with an exhibition in the Barr Smith Library, Let Our Songs Speak for Us. Read more.
  9. Students and staff contributed to Mad March, through performances at the iconic events Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe, and WOMADelaide. Read more.
  10. Music Theatre students Greg Mitchell and Melanie Cowmeadow (singers) and Matthew Coogan (guitar) put on a beautiful performance in Nexus of Somewhere Over the Rainbow for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT Day) in May. Watch the performance.
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