Newsletter April 2020

Please find our latest newsletter attached:-


April 2020


April 2020

Dear fellow accompanists and Accompanists’ Guild members. This is a rather different newsletter than usual, written at a time of great change and insecurity, in ‘Unprecedented and extraordinary times’, to quote our political leaders.

Income and employment for accompanists suddenly plummeted. We became financially vulnerable, with most accompaniment work across all genres either greatly reduced, limited, cancelled or postponed until further notice. The majority of us are sole traders, work freelance, on short term or part-time contracts, and classed as casuals. The future is uncertain; tough economic times are forecast.

We will survive this crisis and it’s important to have hope in such times. There are and will be work opportunities for accompanists and associate artists. Those of us with career mixes of teaching and accompaniment are likely to have online work opportunities. Our sympathies are with accompanists in precarious positions who rely totally on accompaniment for their income.

Some safety-conscious socially – distant one to one coaching and accompaniment may still be possible, as well as live-stream work and recording of accompaniments. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, so let’s be creative and proactive! We can dare to think outside the box, to brain-storm ideas to improve and create future work opportunities. We can firm up and enlarge data bases, improve our accompaniment skills and learn new repertoire, update our marketing skills, and even develop self-control and patience during Government form-filling and Centrelink queues ……….!

Some colleagues have been expressing doubts about their abilities to survive this current crisis, which prompted me to reflect upon the many qualities that we have assimilated during our accompaniment careers.

Accompanists are used to experiencing and surmounting many types of challenges & difficult, unpredictable situations. Individually & collectively, we all have inner strengths & qualities, with a wide range of communication skills, gifts, talents & experiences.

Guild accompanists have a lot of strengths. We are used to problem-solving [such as simplifying complicated orchestral reductions]; to quickly responding to emergencies [Help, I need an accompanist!]; to overcoming fears [unexpected recordings] and obstacles [‘difficult’ personalities]; to managing stress [juggling multiple engagements during examination & audition week]; to resourcing and pooling talents and materials to achieve results [the soloist needs an accompanist tonight, has forgotten to bring the music, where can I find a copy of the score? Who’s available for this gig?]; to receiving, accepting, following and fulfilling instructions [from conductors, music teachers, directors, educational establishments, co-artists and examination regulations]; to initiating, creating and exploring opportunities [at the start of our careers and when work is thin on the ground].

We are reliable, adaptable, resourceful, and creative. We are an integral part of so much music making at many stages of developing musicians. We enrich communities.

The saying, ‘Problems shared are problems solved’, tends to be true when we offer support and assistance to each other and are willing to both ask for and accept help. Ours is a profession of service to others. We’re all in it together. Can we therefore find ways to share and support our fellow Guild members through these challenging, social distancing times? Can we reach out to each other, share experiences & information about on-line modalities that may be helpful to you?

Katie Zukov, who has been the Guild’s President since 2016, is relocating to Sydney. Our committee thanked her for her significant service to the Guild, for very actively raising the status of accompanists at UQ and for creating and establishing AGQ accompaniment prizes there. As a gift of appreciation, Katie was presented with the book ‘Piano Lessons’ by Anna Goldsworthy, and we all wished her well in the next stages of her career. The committee unanimously elected Valerie Dickson to be her replacement, Acting President until the next AGM.

A very warm welcome is extended to our new members, Sophie Min and previous member, Jasmine Atkinson. We now have 71 members, who will be pleased to know that Guild membership fees remain at $60 for the 2019-2020 financial year. Student membership is still only $30 per year.

The Guild continues to support the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland Piano Accompaniment Prizes at U.Q., the Con and in some eisteddfods during 2020. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, some upcoming Eisteddfods and competitions have had to be cancelled and Guild members are asked to regularly visit the AMEB website for examination updates.

Let’s encourage ourselves to maintain buoyancy, musical skills, cheerfulness and a sense of humour throughout these difficult times. Finally, as Acting President, I thank our committee members for their support and wish all Guild members well during this time, to have faith in your profession and maintain hope for the future of music making.

Valerie Dickson.

Acting President, Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland

Newsletter July 2019

July 2019

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

We hope that everyone has had a well-deserved break over the school holidays and is ready for our busiest time of the year accompanying examinations and tertiary auditions.

A very warm welcome to our new members. The Guild membership is growing! The Guild membership fees will remain at $60 for the 2019-2020 financial year in line with low inflation. If you have not yet paid your membership fees, please do so as soon as possible.

In the second half of the year we are sponsoring Master Classes at the School of Music, University of Queensland, and the Queensland Conservatorium during their Special Projects Weeks, and hope these activities will raise the Guild’s profile among higher education music students.

The Guild advertised in the 2019 MTAQ Queensland Vocal Competition program to strengthen our reciprocal links with other music organisations in Queensland.

Our sponsorship of accompanying prizes at various Eisteddfods will continue in 2019.  We hope this targeted support helps to maintain the Guild’s standing in the community.

Max Olding’s 90th birthday was celebrated with a concert at the opening of the APPC Conference on Monday 8 July at the University of Queensland. The evening was a great success with performances and tributes from past students and a marvelous Rachmaninoff’s Tarantella played by Max and Pam on two pianos. We all take inspiration from Max’s long career as a teacher and performer and value his enormous contribution to Queensland’s music community.

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday 11 August at 10.30AM at QMTA, 200 Moggill Rd, Taringa. If you would like to nominate for the Committee membership, please do so now by contacting the Secretary.

The Guild’s 25th anniversary dinner will take place at Victoria’s Room, Hilton Brisbane on Friday 15 November, starting with canapés at 6.30 and dinner at 7 pm.  Philip Mayers has very kindly agreed to be our guest speaker for the evening. The tickets for Guild members are $51, with the Guild sponsoring each member to the tune of $20. Additional tickets for partners are $71. Cash bar is available for drink purchases. Please, put this date into your diaries and contact the Guild’s Secretary to confirm your attendance.

Happy accompanying for the rest of 2019!

January 30 2017 Newsletter

1 December 2016

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

Welcome to the end-of-the year Guild Newsletter!

As you may already know, at the Annual General Meeting on the 7th of August Regis Danillon stepped down as the Guild’s President after 5 years at the helm and I was elected as the new President. We all thank Regis for his many years of dedication and service to the Guild and his leadership of the hard-working committee. I will continue building on his work promoting the Guild and engaging with the music community.

Since the Annual meeting, the Guild continued its sponsorship of local Eisteddfods, in particular donating prizes to the following recipients:

 Bundaberg Eisteddfod – split award:

o Jacob King 16 – 18 yrs category

o Sarah Chuey – 15 and under category

 Silkstone Eisteddfod –

o 1st Caelan Hamilton, 13 years

o 2nd Oscar Matthews 2nd, 13 years

 Goondiwindi Eisteddfod –

o Sam Jessen

 Sunshine Coast Junior Eisteddfod –

o Tebany Carra

This year we trialled a new initiative – Accompanying Master Class – at both the Queensland Conservatorium (31 August) and the University of Queensland School of Music (14 October). Tertiary students had an opportunity to work with experienced instrumental teachers and learn more about the art of accompanying. Guild promotional materials were also distributed at these events in a recruitment drive to attract new student members.

The wonderful instrument stickers designed by Joanna Gibson have now been printed and will be distributed through AMEB, various youth orchestras and school bands early in the New Year to make the Guild “the place to go to” when looking for an accompanist.

The committee always welcomes innovative ideas from fellow members – please contact us if you have any suggestions for future initiatives and activities.

We have all worked very hard in the last few months accompanying students for AMEB exams, tertiary auditions and examinations. Time now for a well-deserved break over the summer to re-charge our batteries, rest our fingers, clear our heads and get ready for 2017.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Happy accompanying in 2017!

Katie Zhukov,

President Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland.


Please download and print Newsletter January 2017

July 2015 Newsletter

AGQ President Newsletter July 2015


Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

As I lie rather uncomfortably on the bed, with one leg resting on a cushion, I am reminded of the vicissitudes of life and unexpected turns of events which can “throw a spanner” in our daily routine of activities.

In early June, I suffered a nasty home accident when I slipped in the bathroom and did “the splits,” leaving me in pain with a torn hamstring as a result. This necessitated surgical procedure and following a couple of days in hospital, I found myself having to wear a leg brace for 6 weeks and walking around on crutches! Needless to say, this put an immediate stop to my teaching and my school students missed out on lessons for the last 3 weeks of last term (to their joy and relief, I imagine!). Accompanying duties and a couple of small concert engagements were also cancelled and a planned overseas trip during the school holidays was postponed. Hopefully in a few weeks, I will be fully “repaired” and I look forward to a less demoralising time ahead.

There are some important events coming soon, and I urge members to make a note of them and show their support. On the 8th August, the Guild is pleased to present its 3rd Master Class for Young Accompanists at the MTAQ Auditorium. This year we have the expertise of Ms Shelli Hulcombe, a Voice teacher at the Conservatorium, who will help some young pianists develop their skills in vocal accompanying. The repertoire will be varied and interesting. Please make a special effort to come and encourage these young musicians, then stay on for the Annual General Meeting, which will follow the Master Class. Members are being sent all documents relevant to this function, and it is most important that we have a good turn-up here also to guarantee a quorum. All Committee positions will be open, including that of President. Please consider taking an active part in the running of our association – we definitely need some keen and enthusiastic people to take the helm of the Guild, and help it continue to develop and progress on its future path.

The Committee would like to welcome warmly all new accompanists who have joined the Guild recently, and we hope your association will be beneficial and productive. We look forward to meeting you soon at our forthcoming events!

In the meantime, Happy Accompanying and all the best to everyone.

Regis Danillon – President Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland


Letter from the AGQ to AMEB Head Office

Dear Sir,

The Accompanists Guild of Queensland has recently become aware of a surprising and misjudged policy adopted by the AMEB, of introducing recorded accompaniments for use in practical music exams “as an alternative to accompanists”.  As an association of professional accompanists, we are very concerned by this worrying initiative, and wish to strongly voice our disapproval of this decision.

While we recognise that recorded accompaniments may benefit students in the preparation and practice of pieces in some cases, the use of recorded “backing” in the actual examination can only provide a disservice to the young musicians.  For one thing, we do not believe that “the availability of accompanists has become an issue”, at least in the major centres.  All our members are competent and experienced musicians, and always help the soloists to perform at their best.

The AMEB should, on the contrary, encourage the use of accompanists in the examination room by not making it simply optional.  How can a nervous young student doing an exam for the first time for instance, feel that he/she is safe and secure when following a tape which will play “at the 100% tempo” without regard for tonal balance, and unresponsive to the candidate’s stage of technical development?  In more advanced cases, works which require good musical rapport between solo part and accompaniment can only be compromised and devoid of character and creative interpretation.

There are many other aspects of performance that can be affected without a real, live person, sensitive to nuances of interpretation, and supporting the solo candidate with commitment and sincerity.

We sincerely hope that the AMEB will reconsider their ill-advised decision and disregard this policy to demonstrate a more intelligent and understanding attitude towards ensemble playing, and to maintain some fundamental principles of good music-making in performance presentations.

Yours sincerely,

Regis Danillon


Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland, Inc.

Download and print the above letter penned by our President, Mr Regis Danillon