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Hamilton's lasting legacy

Adam Hall and the Velvet Players performing at the opening of the Janette Hamilton Studio

Janette Hamilton (1940 – 2016)

The move to Musica Viva’s new home in Green Square has seen the addition of a purpose-built performance, rehearsal and recording studio which has been named to honour the memory of Janette Hamilton- a gifted musician, teacher and member of the Musica Viva Younger Set whose generous bequest made it possible.

Born in Sydney in 1940, Janette was a prodigious pianist from a young age, often outshining much older pianists with her skill and musicality. Before the age of 19, she had won numerous awards at the local, state and national level and was awarded her Licentiate Diploma by the time she was 17.

Janette began her career at Cremorne Girls High School before being awarded a Rotary International Scholarship to study in London. After returning, she performed extensively as a recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, whilst teaching at various secondary schools, including roles as Head of Music at both Meadowbank and North Sydney Boys High. In all her teaching, she was renowned for the passion and dedication she showed towards her craft and students.

“[she was] a poised and elegant lady of strong convictions, who held herself and those around her to very high standards. She always encouraged her students to strive for excellence, not only academically, but also in performance and in all aspects of presentations. She always managed to do this within a very supportive environment.” Dimity Hall, Goldner String Quartet.

In 1981, whilst on her way to dinner with friends, Janette was involved in a tragic accident that left her wheelchair-bound for the remainder of her life. Many months of rehabilitation followed, and unfortunately, she was unable to continue performing or teaching due to the extent of her injuries. She turned her energy to mentoring, and became an important figure in the development of many emerging musicians. Despite her injuries, she rarely missed live music performance in Sydney, particularly the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Musica Viva.

When Janette passed away in July of 2016, she left a percentage of her estate to Musica Viva through a bequest in her will. It was through her generosity and this gift that Musica Viva was able to build the new Janette Hamilton Studio, which was officially opened by CEO of Create NSW, Michael Breasley on Thursday 14 September 2017. The studio will offer a permanent space for the organisation’s own Artist Development programs, provide a workshop and rehearsal space for visiting International Concert Series artists as well as being made available at minimal cost to those in the small-to-medium arts sector. The studio is evidence of Musica Viva’s collaborative approach to music-making and its role as an enabler of the greater arts ecology in Australia.

If you are interested in leaving a lasting legacy to Musica Viva or would like some further information on becoming a Custodian, please contact Callum Close at [email protected] or (02) 8394 6636.