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Meet our new Chair, Professor Emeritus Andrea Hull AO

Meet our new Chair, Professor Emeritus Andrea Hull AO

Prof Andrea Hull commenced her term of Chair of Melbourne Recital Centre in June this year. Andrea brings with her a wealth of experience in Australia’s cultural and not-for-profit sectors. We recently sat down with Andrea for a chat to learn about her passion for music and her vision for the future of the Centre.

What is a cherished memory of music for you?

My first memory of music is via the ABC Radio. It was always on in our home. When I was young my parents moved to Cairns in Far North Queensland and Dad’s Aunt had given him her old John Broadwood and Sons piano, an early small upright which accompanied us north. She was a pianist of the old style with family gatherings around her piano and large fat books of melodies. I loved to 'play' when we visited her.

What was your musical education like?

I desperately wanted to learn to really play, and the only place to learn was at St Monica’s Convent in town, three miles away. So, having just turned five, I took the bus into town twice a week to be taught by Sister Ruth. Her method was to place a penny on the top of my hand and if it fell as I played, I’d be lightly smacked with a ruler. Amazing I didn’t develop RSI!

And so, I learned the piano for many years, and the recorder and the treble recorder as part of an enlightened headmaster’s belief in the importance of music education. It was a small bush school and every child participated in the school orchestra. If I was the Prime Minister, I’d ensure every child had a quality music education, at least until they were 12. Substantial research supports the benefits to cognition, fine motor skills and well-being.

My love of music continued to be fostered by the ABC, by Arts Council tours and when we returned to Sydney by concerts in the Sydney Town Hall.

How important is music in your life and why?

Throughout my life I’ve regularly attended concerts and been a subscriber to the Opera and Ballet. I have ABC Classic FM in the car, in my office and at home. I travel too for music. Since retiring from the VCA I aim to attend at least one new Music Festival per year.  Last year it was Berlin for Daniel Barenboim’s Easter music festival which also featured Martha Argerich and Barenboim playing together. Travels have included Italy for Angela Hewitt’s Trasimeno Festival and the Linari Classico (for which I was a patron); Maribor in Slovenia for Richard Tognetti’s Festivals, and next year Glyndebourne, Garsington and Grange Park Opera. I love the combination of excellent music, fine fayre and good company, which the best music festivals both in Australia and overseas offer.

Do you have a favourite composer? 

My current favourite composers are Elgar and Cohen, probably because a number of funerals have recently featured them, and they resonate. Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor (especially as played by Jacqueline du Pre) and his Enigma Variations (especially the Nimrod) and Leonard Cohen’s The Anthem (there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in).

What do you hope the Centre achieves in coming years, and what does this mean for you?

My abiding passion has been to contribute to an authentic, distinctive and inclusive Australian cultural life. It has been a privilege to work in the cultural sector for over four decades in pursuit of this. The opportunity to Chair the Centre really is the icing on the cake.

The Melbourne Recital Centre’s 10th anniversary is a chance to reflect on the ingredients that underpin the success of the Centre. The Board, led for the last nine years by Kathryn Fagg AO is excellent, the staff led by CEO Euan Murdoch is outstanding, the programs are rich and attract an increasingly diverse audience and the generous support from our donors and from government make so much possible. And of course, the beauty and the acoustics of the Hall and the Salon make the visiting experience a sensory delight. The next period we hope builds on our successes and also includes the completion of the building’s fourth floor, strengthening relationships within the cultural precinct and enhancing our outreach activities.

Click here to learn more about Andrea and other Board Directors. https://www.melbournerecital.c...