On March 1, 2020 the Tait Memorial Trust co-presented the Australian Bushfire Benefit London at London’s Royal Academy of Music and raised over $84,000 for victims and affected wildlife.

Originating from an idea by Tait Awardee, violinist Bridget O’Donnell, the Benefit was “a magical concert and reception,” recalls Isla Baring, the founder of the Tait Memorial Trust and Chairman of the Tait Committee. She is hard pressed to list highlights as there were so many, but mentions, among others, “the sight of so many Australian musicians on the stage with the knowledge that they were all there to support their country in its time of need”, Simone Young playing for Stuart Skelton then conducting Peter Sculthorpe’s Earth Cryand excerpts from Verdi’s Requiem, Amy Dickson’s slow walk into the hall playing Yanadaby Ross Edwards, and Ella Macens’ orchestral work The Lake.

“The definite highlight for me was Misha Mullov-Abbado’s stunning arrangement of I Am Australian. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, it meant so much to us all,” says Baring.

A lot has happened since then, with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the arts...