Music - Assessment Meeting Report - June 2011 - Key Organisations

Key Organisations Multi-year and Emerging closing date 30 June 2011



The Music Board met over two days on 22 and 23 August, to assess applications to the Key Organisations Multi-year and Key Organisations Emerging categories.

Key Organisations (Music) Multi-year grants are for outstanding music organisations which are leading artistic ensembles or service providers. To be eligible for Key Organisations funding an organisation must make their case against these criteria:

  • leading organisations with acknowledged national and/or international presence

and reach and one or more of the following:

  • leading innovators that consistently stretch their artform practice; and/or acknowledged centres of excellence in their particular form of practice.

Applicants also were required to address additional selection criteria that included good planning, governance and management, public engagement across Australia and professional skills appropriate to their proposed activity.

The Music Board’s broader policy for the sector is articulated in our sector plan which is available here.

As multi-year commitments, these grants were last assessed in 2008 and the Music Board and the staff of the Music and Key Organisations sections undertook considerable planning in advance of this meeting. The Key Organisations Client Manager also provided considerable support services for applicants, particularly in the area of business planning.

Within the Multi-year category, the Music Board only reduces or discontinues a company’s funding if it has concerns about operational or artistic matters. We liaise with the company regarding these concerns and give the company time, and appropriate support where relevant, to address these. A decision by the Music Board to consequently change or discontinue funding is not taken lightly. At this meeting we made changes to the funding of two companies that had received Multi-year support for extended periods. We also welcomed one company from the Key Organisations – Emerging category that has transitioned successfully to Multi-year funding.

Two applicants to Key Organisations - Emerging were successful at this meeting. These organisations will be offered annual grants and based on the Board’s ongoing assessment of their progress and performance may be offered funding in the second year.

While the offer of Key Organisations Emerging funding is a significant opportunity it should also be noted that it is not a guarantee of future Key Organisations funding.


General feedback

This was the first major test of the changes implemented to the Music Board’s Key Organisations category in 2008. The aims of these changes were to define a consistent framework for support in this category and allow opportunities for new companies to apply for and enter the category through a Key Organisations–Emerging stream.

This was the first opportunity for a group of companies that had been funded as Key Organisations – Emerging to compete with existing Key Organisations – Multi-year and also for a new cohort of emerging organisations to apply. As a result, this year’s round was intensely competitive and the Key Organisations Multi-year round saw one of the emerging clients successful in the 2008 round gain multi-year status for the first time. The new Key Organisations - Emerging round saw the addition of two new companies into the category. The Music Board welcomes these companies into these categories and looks forward to working with them.

Overall the Music Board observed the following in applications assessed in this round:

  • A trend of extensive activity often not aligned with current resources.
  • Commendable inclusion of artistic vibrancy and artistic self-evaluation processes but these were not always fully incorporated in planning and programming.
  • Some companies struggle to meet the demands of the Key Organisations framework introduced 2008.

Several existing multi-year funded companies were placed on Fair Notice at this meeting, for a range of reasons that included changes in key artistic personnel, monitoring the organisations financial position, or the strength of their case against the Key Organisations framework. The progress of these companies will be monitored closely by the Music Board in 2012 - 2013.

After examination of its Key Organisations and their role(s) within the Music Board’s sector plan, the Board has decided to commence a long-term review of the makeup of this category. The intention is to reconsider the support provided for specific categories of organisation over a number of years. The timetable for these reviews is as follows: service organisations (2011), music festivals (2012) and ensembles and presenting organisations (2013).

Organisations successful at this meeting will be offered two year contracts and invited to reapply in 2013 in line with the conclusion of the review process.

In line with this timetable, from January to June 2011 the board considered the role of service organisations in the music sector and how they are supported through the Key Organisations category. To consolidate the Boards understanding of its support for service organisations a separate sub-committee was convened to meet with those organisations currently funded as either Key Organisations or as Special Initiatives. In addition a background report was prepared that provided a contextual overview of service organisations in the music sector and examined the situation in other artforms and countries. This process informed the board’s understanding of service organisations across the music sector and was concluded prior to this assessment meeting.

Assessment of service organisation applications was conducted against the published criteria for this category. For those service organisations that successfully made their case against the Key Organisations assessment criteria the Music Board will now negotiate additional clauses to be included in their Funding Agreements articulating delivery of specific service outcomes, in line with the guidelines for this category.

Due to the Music Festivals Review scheduled for 2012, two existing Key Organisations were not required to apply in 2011: The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Multi-year, QLD) and Wangaratta Festival of Jazz (Emerging, VIC). Both of these organisations may be required to submit new applications in mid 2012, pending the result of the review.

Board membership and National Cultural Policy

This was the final assessment meeting for three of our Board members: George Butrumlis, Anne Gilby and Virginia Taylor. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all three for their much valued contributions to both our extensive grant assessment work and policy and strategic considerations, in particular the development of the Music Board sector plan. Just prior to the meeting the Minister for the Arts released the discussion paper on the National Cultural Policy. The Music Board will be contributing to the Australia Council’s response but I urge you too to engage with the debate. Further details are available via this link - National Cultural Policy.



Dr Matthew Hindson AM

Chair, Music Board, Australia Council


Successful applicants

Key organisations multi-year category 30 June 2011

Australian Art Orchestra –VIC $200,000 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Australian Music Centre – NSW $375,000 in 2012 & $325,000 in 2013
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Australian String Quartet – SA $72,549 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Gondwana Choirs – NSW $150,000 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Music Council of Australia – NAT $204,427 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Synergy & TaikOz Ltd – NSW $286,198 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013 and


The Song Company – NSW $204,427 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


Topology – QLD $85,000 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 - 2013


West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra – WA $91,992 p.a.
Key Organisations Multi-Year 2012 – 2013

Key organisations emerging category 03 June 2011

All of the organisations offered a Key Organisations – Emerging grant will be given one year funding agreements. The second of the term will be approved through a review process managed by the Key Organisations section and endorsed by the Music Board. This review will primarily track how the organisations are delivering against their plans and any supplementary conditions set by the Music Board.


Ensemble Offspring Inc - NSW $55,000
Key Organisations Emerging 2012


Tura New Music Ltd – WA $100,000
Key Organisations Emerging 2012


Funding statistics

Key Organisations Multi-year

Applications received: 11
Applications funded: 9
81.8% success rate
Amount requested: $4,428,400
Amount approved: $3,287,186


Key Organisations Emerging

Applications received: 10
Applications funded: 2
20% success rate
Amount requested: $823,107
Amount approved: $155,000


Panel members

The following Board members and industry representatives attended the meeting:

Board members:

Dr Matthew Hindson AM (Chair) (NSW)
Kath Letch (NSW)
Virginia Taylor (ACT)
Anne Gilby (Vic)
George Butrumlis (Vic)
Lawrence English (Qld)
Johannes Lubbers (WA)

Australia Council staff:

Paul Mason, Director Dance
Atul Joshi, Director Key Organisations
Morwenna Collett, Program Manager Music
Tara Kita, Client Manager, Dance & Music Key Organisations
Andy Rantzen, Program Officer Music
Peter Keogh Program Officer, Music
Lia Kemp, Section Co-ordinator Music
Brian Murphy, Administration Officer Music

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