ANAM International Academy Program
In 2016 the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) announced a new International Academy Program, made possible with an inaugural gift by arts benefactors Naomi Milgrom AO and Peter Weiss AO.
We spoke to Artistic Director Nick Deutsch and Naomi Milgrom AO, our 2016 Creative Partnerships Philanthropy Leadership Award winner, about the ANAM International Academy Program. ANAM violinist Harry Bennetts will be the first musician to benefit from the new program.
Creative Partnerships: What does the mean to you and why did you and Peter decide to give to this specifically?
Naomi Milgrom AO: We believe that this partnership positions ANAM and its work at the highest international level, working with one of the world’s greatest orchestras. It opens exceptional opportunities to the students who are selected. The distance Australia is from the European and North American hubs of classical music can be a challenge, and facilitating this close partnership can help to eliminate this challenge.
CP: What outcomes do you hope will come as a result for the winners?
NM: I hope to see the winners establish themselves in strong international careers which will see them able to thrive and contribute wherever they are. I also hope that they will remain connected to Australia, as so many expatriate artists are, and always remain linked with the institutions that have supported their journey. I’d like to see them giving back!
CP: This is an excellent example of how collaboration, leadership and philanthropy can create incredible opportunities for Australian artists. Where did the original idea come from?
Nick Deutsch: The level of music making at ANAM is extraordinary and ANAM’s reputation as a world class training institution has spread far beyond Australia’s boarders.
ANAM has already established a close relationship with many of our National Orchestras and ensembles, with side by side productions and collaborations planned or underway with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Western Australia Symphony Orchestra and future plans underway with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian World Orchestra.
The next step was to establish an International Academy program allowing our top musicians to further enhance their musical education with established ensembles and orchestras internationally.
One of the first I approached was the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) who agreed to create an exclusive position for an ANAM musician through their orchestra academy. After getting Berlin on board, the dialogue with other ensembles and orchestras was relatively easy. We are now in the enviable position of having numerous prestigious partners ready to engage in exchanges with ANAM. The challenging part now, is funding it!
CP: What impact do you anticipate for your students and the institution itself?
ND: This isn’t only an extraordinary opportunity for Harry working within the BPO, but the whole ANAM cohort will benefit from members of the BPO coming to Melbourne, teaching and playing alongside our ANAM musicians.
Just last week, Sarah Willis (Horn) and Noah Bendix-Balgley (concertmaster) of the Berlin Philharmonic were here at ANAM. You just have to walk into the building to feel the buzz. It’s such an inspiration for everyone.
It’s an opportunity for us to experience what’s happening in other parts of the world and to showcase what outstanding talent we have in Australia. We anticipate that this will be a long-term partnership with the BPO which will build.
In 2017 three BPO musicians will come to ANAM to work with students, so the initial philanthropic investment in the scholarship is helping to seed a long-term partnership which is placing ANAM very firmly on the international performance training stage. I believe ANAM is one of Australia’s best kept secrets and programs like this are an opportunity to change that.
CP: Can you tell us how ANAM engages with its Board?
All our board members are highly aware of the need for a strong philanthropic program to underpin ANAM’s future sustainability. They lead from the front: every director is a donor and they are all individual advocates for ANAM.
All are excited to be a part of ANAM, and they allow this enthusiasm to be infectious. They are willing to facilitate introductions and to provide advice to allow us to make the most of opportunities.
ND: What three qualities would you say underpin ANAM’s board culture and leadership ethos?
- A firm belief in the quality and the need for the work that ANAM does.
- A clear sense of what is unique about ANAM and what must be preserved.
- A sense of trust and confidence in the organisation’s leadership.
CP: What tips would you have for other organisation looking to establish a major philanthropic program?
Ask what the core essence of your organisation is that will resonate with potential donors. In ANAM’s case, this is unquestionably the students; their quest for mastery of their instruments and for exploration of the greatest musical works are the reason we exist, and their energy, excitement and optimism is infectious and is a reward in itself to those who support ANAM. Ensure that you provide adequate person-power and tools to report back to donors and find their points of connection with the organisation.
How does ANAM go about working with benefactors such as Naomi, Peter and other philanthropists to achieve the organisation’s goals?
Naomi had already been a support of ANAM for some year, particularly of the innovative Quartetthaus project. In this particular case, I met both Naomi and Peter personally and told them about this extraordinary opportunity.
They both saw the potential that it presented and were excited by it. Since, both have actively come up with ideas to support both and promote both this program and ANAM’s broader work, and are alert to potential opportunities. The relationship goes beyond the actual gift.