In a newly expanded role, Paul Kildea will be responsible for creating an artistic vision for all Musica Viva’s extensive activities,including its concerts programs, artist development projects as well as the country’s largest private music education program. Last year, across all its activities, Musica Viva reached over 388,000 Australians.
‘With Paul’s appointment, we complete the carefully planned leadership transition that began with the recruitment of Hywel Sims as CEO and Anne Frankenberg in the new position of Deputy CEO,’ says Musica Viva Chairman Charles Graham.
‘In our complex world, the role of Artistic Director is pivotal, requiring a deep understanding of our musical heritage and a compelling vision for a diverse and vibrant future. Paul embodies this vision perfectly and we couldn’t be happier to welcome him to Musica Viva.’
Originally from Canberra and now based in Melbourne, Kildea brings extensive local and international expertise to the role. He trained as a conductor in Opera Australia’s Young Artist Program and was subsequently appointed Head of Music at the Aldeburgh Festival in the UK and director of the chamber music series at the Perth International Arts Festival. He is also a former Artistic Director of both the Four Winds
Festival in New South Wales and London’s Wigmore Hall, where he revitalised the artistic program, giving Hall debuts to artists as diverse as Allan Clayton, Nina Stemme, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Cédric Tiberghien, Brad Mehldau, the Doric Quartet and Quatuor Ébène.
Kildea holds a doctorate from Oxford University in addition to honours and master’s degrees in piano performance and musicology from The University of Melbourne, where he is now an Honorary Principal Fellow. He is recognised internationally as an expert on Britten: in 2013 Penguin published Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century to enormous critical acclaim; it is now widely considered the definitive book on the subject. Sovereign Films recently acquired global film rights to his latest book, Chopin’s Piano: A Journey Through Romanticism (Penguin, 2018).
‘After a nationwide search involving conversations with many outstanding Australian artists, we’re delighted to welcome Paul to the Musica Viva community,’ says Chief Executive Officer Hywel Sims. ‘An internationally renowned Canberran, Paul will oversee all artistic aspects of our work and we look forward to an exciting future in which we continue our long tradition of innovation. Paul – with his unique sensibilities and experience – will be the perfect steward of the wonderful, vibrant and flourishing organisation that Carl has helped to create.’
Kildea approaches that tradition with great respect: ‘No one knew just how bad things would become when, in February 1939, the Jewish violist Richard Goldner fled Vienna for Sydney,’ he says. ‘Like so many émigrés in our part of the world in the post-war tumult, Goldner transformed his profound sense of loss into astonishing optimism, and with the formation of Musica Viva in 1945 he altered the very fabric of Australian society. Since then Musica Viva has educated so many in the untrammelled joy of beautiful performances, ably fulfilling its stated purpose: “to make Australia a more musical place”.’
‘It is thus an enormous privilege to follow in Goldner’s footsteps – and indeed those of his distinguished successors, most recently and eminently Carl Vine. I do so with the same sense of optimism that has characterised Musica Viva’s programming and purpose since its founding: a conviction that great music and musicians make the world a better place.’