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!

Newsletter December 2018

December 2018

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

We hope that everyone has had a busy time accompanying for AMEB exams, tertiary auditions and Eisteddfods and is now looking forward to a well-deserved break over the summer.

Our AGM took place at the QMTA Auditorium in Taringa on Sunday 12 August. Those who attended had an opportunity to voice their suggestions to the committee face-to-face and we encourage everyone to attend future AGMs. Welcome to a new committee member Catherine Stirling. Any other Guild members interested in joining the committee, please get in touch.

A gentle reminder to those who are still to pay their annual membership fees, please do so as soon as possible.

AGQ sponsored a vocal accompanying Master Class given by our member, John Woods, at the School of Music, UQ on 19 October. This was attended by a large number of voice students and some pianists. The committee and membership feel that sponsoring master classes in tertiary institutions and in partnership with QMTA is a better way forward, instead of staging our own master classes.

The 25th Anniversary of the Guild is coming in 2019 and we have secured Philip Mayers as a guest speaker for our dinner. Date to be confirmed (July or November are possible at this stage). We are narrowing down the choice of venue and will update the details early next year.

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

Happy accompanying in 2019!

Katie Zhukov


Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland

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


March 2015 Newsletter

AGQ President Newsletter March2015

04 March 2015

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

As we are now well into the first quarter of the year, it is an opportune time to communicate to you the Guild’s latest news, projects, activities and aspirations! As you know, we are here to support and help our members, and we hope that the year is already shaping up to be busy and successful for everyone.

At this time last year, we were hectically running around trying to organise our 20th Anniversary Dinner. Sorry to say that there won’t be another one for our 21st, but if you feel nostalgic for that memorable event, and would like to recall some of the good moments we spent that evening, please check the Guild’s Facebook page which is abundant in lovely photos of just about everyone who was there!

After the success of our two previous Master Classes for Young Accompanists, the Committee has been encouraged to present another one this year, which will focus on accompanying for the Voice. We are at present negotiating all aspects of this event which is likely to take place midyear, and members will be notified of all details soon. Once again, we ask you to invite any young interested pianists that you know to apply for consideration.

Members must be well aware by now that the AMEB has recently introduced a policy of allowing recorded accompaniments in the examinations. There has been much outrage, heated opinions and condemnation of this decision, and the musical community has voiced its protests on social media. Without dealing at length on this matter here, we know that this procedure could be quite detrimental to the musical benefit of exam candidates and potentially to the livelihood of accompanists. The AGQ, as an organisation, feels strongly on this matter and has decided to join the chorus of disapproval. We have written a formal letter of concern (which is now published on the Guild’s website) to the Federal Office of the AMEB and are eagerly awaiting their reaction.

Let’s hope that common sense will prevail and that candidates will continue to use “live” accompanists in their exams, regardless.

I hope that members keep a regular check of the Guild’s website. Thanks to the great talent and commitment of Kathy Sander, the website is well-maintained, attractive and relevant, and I would even say, at least equal to the South Australian Accompanists Guild’s website. Theirs, incidentally, has not yet been updated to 2015, while in comparison, nothing can be found on the Guild of the ACT, and the NSW Guild is very minimal with their latest information dating back to 2008! …Bravo Kathy!

I would like to conclude by wishing a warm welcome to the many new members who have joined us since last June. It’s good to see that our Guild is growing in stature and reputation, and I hope that everyone will find their association beneficial.

Well, as Porky Pig says in his “Looney Tunes” cartoons: “That’s all, folks!”

Happy accompanying and all the best!

Regis Danillon – President

Accompanists Guild of Queensland Inc.

November Newsletter 2014

3rd November 2014
Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,


Once again, the months are passing by at an alarming rate, and most of us are probably now
submerged in semiquavers and dotted minims, with the exam season in full swing! I hope that
everyone has plenty to do in the weeks ahead, before the starving months of December and
Two important events have occurred since my last contact in July, both of them unsurprisingly
disregarded by the majority of members and poorly attended. I must say at this point that in
my 3 years as President of this association there are accompanists whom I have never met.
Our few functions are a great opportunity to network and meet fellow accompanists. It is just
unfortunate that members have such a reluctance to “show” themselves!
In early August, the second Master Class for Young Accompanists was held at the MTAQ
Auditorium, and attended by 3 of our 61 members (an improvement on last year!). There were
8 young, promising pianists who presented themselves before an appreciative audience made up
mostly of parents and friends. It was wonderful to see our invited flute teacher, Janine
Grantham, play with them some unusual and attractive repertoire and discuss the finer points
of performance, which would also have been of benefit to many of us, professionals.
The Annual General Meeting took place a couple of weeks later and was attended by 12
members. It was preceded by a Special General Meeting in which the revised and updated
Constitution of the Guild was introduced and adopted by those present. There are few
changes which would affect members directly. One of the differences concerns the fact that
members of the executive can now hold their positions for longer than 3 years. As a result,
and lack of forthcoming nominations, the current members of the executive have all retained
their positions for another year, and one new person has joined the Committee. We welcome
Barbara Clifford to our group.
Many members will have noticed that this Newsletter is now headed by a “refreshed” logo for
the Guild. We thank sincerely Jo Gibson who has been working with the Guild to give a cleaner
look to our logo, which is now with well-drawn keyboard keys and without a tail for the “Q”!
The name next to it confirms directly who we are. We hope you like the revised design!
The Committee is now considering ideas for next year so that we can present some interesting
activities. Please let the Committee know of any inspired suggestions you may have.
Finally, a friendly warning to any member who still hasn’t paid their dues at this stage, that
your name has been deleted (or is about to be) from the lists of accompanists on our website
and the mailing list. We hope that we do not “lose” anyone this way! Please remember that
“L’union fait la force “ (unity makes strength). The Guild needs everyone’s support!
All the best from the Committee!
Regis Danillon – President
Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland


AGQ- November 2014 Newsletter

March 2013 Newsletter

6 March 2013

Dear fellow accompanists and Guild members,

I hope I live long enough to see the day when accompanists are treated with the dignity that they deserve! … I played for a number of students in school recitals last year, and hardly at any time was the accompanist properly introduced or acknowledged. Some schools’ extension recitals provided a printed program of items, where I received some thanks in small letters at the bottom of the last page. In one instance, on the occasion of a Showcase Recital by a well-known private school, performers and audience were welcomed verbally but no mention was made of the accompanist, and naturally it would be too much to expect the students to turn around and acknowledge their supporting pianist! At the conclusion of the concert, the Music Director no less, got up to thank people providing the venue, the performers and their teachers, the Mums and Dads who brought refreshments, the people who set up the chairs, and … oh, yes (after a whispered reminder by a teacher present) – there was an accompanist too!

How often has a similar situation happened to you? … We still have a long way to go to attract more respect and recognition. This is one of the reasons the Accompanists’ Guild is in existence and your support and membership is so important!

This year, the Guild’s major initiative will be the presentation of a Master Class for Young Accompanists, which will take place in early August. We have decided to concentrate on instrumental accompanying, and this year will focus on violin repertoire. Selected accompanists will be given the rare opportunity to play with a professional artist who will coach them and comment on their performance. Application forms and details will be released soon but if any member knows already any competent and interested school-age pianists, please contact the Secretary without delay, as the number of participants will be limited.

You would have received recently by email a list of accompanist members of the Guild in a form which can be easily downloaded and printed. Although the website has complete details of all financial members, this is in response to requests for a more compact list of names, and is issued in lieu of the Membership booklet produced a few years ago. Thanks go to Juanita for preparing and producing this list.

We have had a few new members joining us since December last year. We welcome them all, and hope they will benefit from their association with the Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland. To all our members, we wish a successful and busy year.

All the best from the Committee!

Regis Danillon – President Accompanists’ Guild of Queensland