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Adelaide bids to become a 'City of Music'


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Adelaide is seeking to become Australia’s first UNESCO “City of Music”, with supporters saying the recognition could attract more international musicians to the city and also boost overseas opportunities for local artists.

The bid is being led by the Adelaide Festival Centre and is backed by the State Government and the Adelaide City Council.

If successful, it would see Adelaide join nine other cities that UNESCO (the United Nationals Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has recognised for their world-class contribution to music, including Seville in Spain, Glasgow in Scotland, Hanover in Germany and Bologna in Italy.

“It would put us in a network that is driven by probably the most multi-national cultural organisation on the planet, which is really committed and devoted to a number of these networks in different areas,” Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier told InDaily.

“It links us to a network that supports the creation, production and promotion of music.

“It’s extremely prestigious and extremely useful because it will add to a very strong music culture that we have already and give it more of an international and multi-cultural dimension.”

Gautier said that securing City of Music status would build the profile of Adelaide’s music scene, increasing opportunities for musicians from other cities in the network to perform here and for South Australian artists to visit those cities.

Arts Minister Jack Snelling said Adelaide’s application had the support of Seville, which was the first UNESCO City of Music.

During his visit to Spain earlier this month, he discussed the bid with the country’s Secretary General for Culture for the Andalusia region, as well as the artistic director of the Seville Guitar Festival. The Minister and Adelaide International Guitar Festival producer Sarah Bleby also met the director of the world-renowned Cordoba Guitar Festival.

“Adelaide has a long and proud history in music and generating world-class musicians; we have terrific and growing music festivals, and the international recognition that would come with being an internationally recognised City of Music would be invaluable,” Snelling said.

“It would provide exchange opportunities for our budding musicians and increase tourism potential from the music sector around the globe.”

Both Snelling and Gautier believe Adelaide is a good candidate.

Gautier said the bid process, led by Bleby, was an onerous one, with the application taking months to put together. Support was secured from South Australian music bodies and national organisations such as the Music Council of Australia.

Adelaide Youth Orchestra

Adelaide Youth Orchestra

The city had to show there is a strong level of music creation and activity at both amateur and professional level and in different genres and styles, backed by local authority and government support and recognition. Other criteria include experience in hosting music festivals or events, and having specialised music schools or conservatories.

“I think there is an international recognition that this city has made an outstanding contribution to music,” Gautier said.

The application was submitted yesterday, and Adelaide will find out in October if it has been successful.

While Australia has no other UNESCO Cities of Music, but Sydney is recognised as a City of Film and Melbourne is a City of Literature.



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