Centrality of creativity
The call by Kim Williams to strive for a refreshed view of Australia’s musical heritage is surely the most import- ant expression of leadership in this area since Paul Keating’s eulogy for Geoffrey Tozer in 2009 (“When cultural promise is nurtured and fulfilled, the nation blossoms”, 8/11).
His plea comes at a time when Australians are at greater risk than ever of losing the glorious musical achievements of Western civilisation — adapted by such brilliant Australian talents as Peter Sculthorpe and Peggy Glanville-Hicks — in a sea of social media banality.
Sadly, the retrograde actions of some of those entrusted with power, have contributed to the failure to produce a culture in which creativity is seen as central to a good society. It is surely the responsibility and duty of such people to provide leadership in the domain of art music, a field of creative endeavour that offers unique possibilities to promote intellectual and imaginative life. Arts funding without such leadership will only produce more mediocrity.
Former prime ministers Holt, Gorton, Whitlam and Keating, clearly understood the ways in which music can enrich the life of the nation. One hopes that Williams’ words will influence our leadership to value our artistic elders properly, and to take bold steps to uphold their legacy. Peter Wyllie Johnston, East Melbourne, Vic