In October 2016, at the invitation of His Majesty and Governor of the Region, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, MSO delivered their first music camp for 40 Indonesian students and their teachers.
This cultural exchange was cemented with a Memorandum of Understanding between the groups, signed by the Sultan of Yogyakarta, His Excellency Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, and the Chairman of the Australia-Indonesia Centre, Mr Harold Mitchell AC in November 2015.
A seven-member team from the MSO, including five string musicians, the Managing Director and the Operations Director, visited Yogyakarta to host a five-day music camp last October. Forty talented Indonesian music students engaged in workshops and rehearsals, culminating in a collaborative performance. The concert was attended by over 300 guests, including His Excellency, Hamengku Buwono X, the Sultan of Yogyakarta together with his family.
Students commented on how much they enjoyed the very different teaching environment created atthe camp and the overall sense of encouragement. It was also an incredible opportunity to work one on one with the visiting teacher and to talk about their interpretations and the different music styles. MSO musicians were amazed by the speed of progress across the students and their willingness to work hard and seriously while also having fun, they were receptive and prepared to try new things.
The MSO team also had the opportunity to learn more about Yogyakarta and its people. They were particularly struck by the openness and warmth in all their connections and the synergy the two cities share through their deep connection to the arts.
The final concert was exciting —“it was fantastic…..everyone played out of their skins!- It was bigger than the sum of the parts.” MSO Steve Reeves, Principal Double Bass, MSO
Students and teachers alike only regret was, that it was over in a week.
As the first Australian orchestra to present a music camp of this nature in the region, the MSO is continuing to develop further engagement strategies that build our cross-cultural connections. They hope to return to Yogyakarta in August 2017 to be the first western orchestra to perform at the Prambanan Temple.
“We wish to express our appreciation to the team at the MSO for their international vision. Music, like fashion and food, brings people together, it makes me smile, and it reminds us that, no matter what the nationality, we have much in common and much to celebrate.”
– Paul Ramadge, Director of the Australia-Indonesia Centre
This visit is a step towards the landmark event planned for March 2017, when the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will perform at the World Heritage-listed Prambanan Temple.
This link http://www.mso.com.au/media-centre/news/2017/02/mso-visits-indonesia/ takes you to a video produced by the Australia-Indonesia Centre, with highlights of the value of these artistic exchanges, and the opportunities for innovation that arose from working in partnership.