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It’s been wonderful to play a part over the years.

It’s been wonderful to play a part over the years.

Despite not having any musical training, Dr Cherilyn Tillman has become a long-term supporter of Master Classes at Melbourne Recital Centre. Here Cherilyn shares what she finds so important about Master Class opportunities, and why she chooses to support artistic development in this way.

Reminiscing on early exposure to classical music

My first introduction to classical music was at primary and high school. I was fortunate to go on school excursions to concerts by the Sydney Symphony in the Sydney Town Hall. What developed that further was living overseas after school and my curiosity about things I don’t know much about. 

Camilla Tilling Master Class

On the benefit of master classes for young musicians and audiences

I think the young master class participants would take away quite a lot, in terms of technique and interpretation. Nerves aside, that is – it must be very nerve-wracking particularly if you’re the last one! I think there would also be an excitement factor for them, and probably something they can put with pride on their CV as well. Imagine if you’re a young singer and you are coached by Susan Graham, one of the stars of the New York Metropolitan Opera! That’s really quite something and it must have been really exciting for those singers in that class. 

It is a wonderful experience for the young musicians, and a very interesting experience for the audience members (who in my case, by the way, have no musical training whatsoever). 

Thomas Hampson Master Class

The importance of access to master classes in Australia

We thought that with the advent of Melbourne Recital Centre and the fact that we were going to have a lot of overseas artists coming here, it would be a great shame if they just flew in and flew out. Australia is a very geographically remote place. Aspiring young artists in Europe can go to concerts and master classes quite easily, whereas here it is extremely difficult. It is very expensive, and it’s not as easy to have all the connections and the networks here. We thought it would be great if we could have some Master Classes here at the Recital Centre. 

The international artists have taken quite different approaches to the Master Classes that I have observed, and it’s been wonderful to play a part over the years, as a Patron and audience member. 

Sharing the joy of support

I know when I have invited guests to the Master Classes the feedback has always been extremely positive. People have found it a fabulous experience!

Donors to the Centre’s Artistic Development program support career defining opportunities for young musicians, including Master Classes with visiting international artist. Donors like Cherilyn play a crucial role in ensuring that we can continue to invest in local musicians and ensembles at progressive stages of their development. 

If you’d like to support Melbourne Recital Centre’s Artist Development program, please contact Leonie Thompson, Philanthropy & Bequests Coordinator, on (03) 9207 2648 or

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