Australia’s national performing arts company Musica Viva, is to undergo generational change with the company’s Chairman Charles Graham announcing last week that the company’s long serving CEO, Mary Jo Capps, would be stepping down at the end of 2018 after nearly 20 years in the position.
As well, as part of the organisation’s long-term succession plan, Carl Vine AO, Artistic Director since November 2000, will step down at the end of 2019. Musica Viva’s 75th anniversary program in 2020 will be Carl Vine’s final programmimg season with the company.
In his announcement, Graham acknowledged the dynamic growth of Musica Viva under this remarkable duo. Their role, he said, extended beyond the success of Musica Viva to shaping a strong and vibrant home-based and international arts sector.
Under Capps and Vine, Musica Viva developed the most active commissioning program of any Major Performing Arts organisation, placing new Australian music in the global spotlight through flagship programs such as the Hildegard Project dedicated to female composers and the Ken Tribe Fund for Australian Composers. They’ve also brought the world stage to Australia, touring hundreds of leading musicians in Musica Viva’s highly successful International Concert Season and Coffee Concert programs.
They have developed the educational activities of the company with the Musica Viva In Schools program reaching nearly 300,000 children nationally with world-leading digital resources, professional development and outstanding Australian musicians, including the acclaimed Indigenous cultural groups. This quality music education is now available to every Australian child, regardless of their school’s location, size or socio-demographic setting, thanks to the creation of the Equal Music Program.
Capps and Vine have played a major role in developing the quality and reach of chamber music in Australia, financially supported by the establishment of the Amadeus Society donor groups in Sydney and Melbourne. They inaugurated the biennial Musica Viva Festival and took on the artistic and operational direction of the successful Huntington Estate Music Festival.
Capps and Vine have built on Musica Viva’s leadership role in artist development by creating the FutureMakers program and assuming responsibility for the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in partnership with ANAM and the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Recently, Musica Viva moved to a new national office in Sydney that includes state-of-the-art rehearsal and recording facilities in the purpose-built Janette Hamilton Studio and Kim Williams Digital Production Suite. Being a national organisation, Musica Viva’s offices in each state have kept pace with this expansion, increasing scope in line with the new Musica Viva Constitution and the creation of the Members Council in 2016.
Amid all the artistic and educational growth, Capps and Vine have stabilised the financial position of the organisation, doubling revenues since 1999 and creating reserves equal to 90% of annual turnover.
The search for a new CEO will begin shortly with an announcement expected during the second half of 2018. The new CEO will join the Board and a firm of domestically and internationally focussed HR consultants to appoint a new Artistic Director.