Music students and concerned citizens have protested, musical instruments in tow, against the ANU Council’s decision.
Heated community debate continues as the beleaguered Australian National University School of Music prepares to implement budget cuts and drastic restructure plans that will leave jobs, face-to-face instrument lessons and degrees hanging in the balance.
Fittingly, students and concerned Canberrans are expressing their outrage through music, coming out in their hundreds with instruments in tow for a 24-hour “Protest Jam” held on campus and streamed online. On May 22 more than 1,500 people crowded into Llewellyn Hall for the student-run “SOS: Support our School” concert, and a petitionopposing the cuts has garnered nearly 25,000 signatures and counting.
Other music institutions in Australia and abroad have gone on record condemning the proposed changes. Deane Terrell, chairman of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra Board, said that he has “observed with concern the erosion of the School of Music funding and support from the ANU over the past decade… The latest plans for the School, announced by Vice-Chancellor Ian Young on May 3, will accelerate the decline and, ultimately, result in the demise of high quality music performance training in Canberra”.