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A legacy of many, celebrating 20 years of bequests to Musica Viva.

Trio Gaon, winner of The Paul Morawetz Prize for Piano Trio at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition 2018.


When we asked Mary Jo Capps if she would like us to publish a retrospective on her 20 years as CEO of Musica Viva, her answer was quite unexpected. She instead suggested that we celebrate the significant difference that other people made during her tenure, selflessly acknowledging that they were instrumental in enabling the company to thrive under her leadership. 

On this occasion, we decided to pay tribute to the generous individuals who made a promise to keep Musica Viva thriving for years to come by remembering us in their wills. We are eternally grateful for the trust our Custodians have bestowed on us. Their generosity ensures that we can continue to be responsive and adaptable to the needs of musicians and audiences alike. Here are just a few examples of how their vision has helped shape the future of music in Australia.

The late Janette Hamilton (1940–2016) was a gifted musician, teacher and member of the Musica Viva Younger Set who was committed to training young artists. We were pleased to be able to apply her generous bequest to the creation of the Janette Hamilton Studio at our new national office in Green Square, a place where artists can rehearse, collaborate and record music in optimum conditions.

The late Dr Bela Mezo (1919-2017) was a long-time Gold subscriber, passionate about supporting young artists. When Dr Mezo passed away in 2017, it was a fitting tribute to direct his gift towards our masterclass program, enabling emerging Australian artists to learn from some of the best visiting international musicians. 

The late Elisabeth Wynhausen (1946-2013) was a brilliant journalist who loved words and music. In memory of her contribution to Australian journalism, it was most appropriate to apply her gift to create the Musica Viva Storybook, a collection of inspiring stories and important moments in Musica Viva’s history.

The family of the late Paul Morawetz (1914-2001) has been a long-time supporter of our concert activities and music education programs in Victoria through a significant bequest made by the late Paul Morawetz, former Vice-President of the Musica Viva Victorian committee. Paul greatly enjoyed supporting young musicians, often helping them to gain public recognition and furthering their talents. It was a fitting tribute to extend their gift to support the 8th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition presented by Musica Viva for the first time in 2018. 

The late Dr Graeme Douglas Watson (1936–2004) was an avid concert goer and French scholar who quietly supported Musica Viva during his life in Melbourne. When Dr Watson passed away in November 2004, his will bestowed upon Musica Viva a munificent bequest for its lasting benefit to be used for general purposes. 

Marion Newman is a retired high-school teacher, librarian and property renovator living in Canberra. She and her husband Mike have been Musica Viva Gold subscribers for more than 40 years. When Marion contacted us about making a living bequest to Musica Viva, her wish was to give rural and remote children across Australia equal access to quality music and music education as that enjoyed by children in urban areas. Her living bequest has already enabled thousands of children living in geographically isolated parts of the country to enjoy our Musica Viva In Schools programs this year. 

‘I want to bring the thrill of a live music performance, which cannot be captured in other ways, to children in regional and remote parts of the country,’ Marion said. When asked about the virtues of giving, she said, ‘it is about seeing a vision brought into action.’ 

These bequests were gifts of all sizes; some were specific dollars, most were a percentage of an estate, and all greatly benefit our extensive range of programs. We feel enormously proud at Musica Viva to be the facilitators of such personal gifts and to celebrate the legacy of generous and passionate individuals today and into the future. 

For a confidential discussion about making a bequest to Musica Viva or to learn more about our Custodians program, please contact Callum Close, Philanthropy Manager, on 02 8394 6636 or [email protected].