Since graduating from the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW with an Executive MBA in 2018, Adele Schonhardt has gone on to establish Australia’s first completely online digital concert venue. And now, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall is coming to Sir John Clancy Auditorium at UNSW.
Adele Schonhardt: All you really need is a glass of wine, a cup or tea, somewhere comfortable to sit, maybe a cheese platter, and a bit of time to switch off the rest of the world and put your worries aside for a moment or two and to just enjoy the music and let us host you through the rest of it.
Alex Siegers: Since graduating from the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW with an Executive MBA in 2018, Adele Schonhardt has gone on to establish Australia’s first completely online digital concert venue. And now, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall is coming to Sir John Clancy Auditorium at UNSW.
Entrepreneurship and Success
Adele Schonhardt: Look it’s been remarkable actually. We’re deeply grateful for the level of support and interest it’s generated; that’s not something we could have envisaged at any point when we first started 2 months ago.
Basically what happened is, Chris Howlett, my co-director, and I have very strong ties to the classical music community in Australia through our work – through my role at Musica Viva Australia, through his running a major international touring organisation and directing festivals.
And both of us have a long standing association with 3MBS Fine Music Melbourne the radio station here in Melbourne. I’m currently chair of the board, he is former chair of the board.
So we’d been working together for a number of years and as the news started emerging from our friends and colleagues in the music sector of cancelled seasons and venues shutting down and devastating news of them having no work all of a sudden when they’d had entire years lined up worth of gigs.
We couldn’t just sit there and do nothing, that was impossible for me and for Chris. And over the course of a Sunday morning phone call as our children played in the background in our respective homes, we decided well we are going to do something about this. We need to support our friends and colleagues, it’s up to us.
And that’s when the idea of the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall was born. And never could we have imagined that within the space of 2 months we would be running venues in Perth and in Sydney; that we would have held over 65 concerts; or that we would have raised nearly $300 000 in ticket revenue for those musicians.
Achieving With Melbourne Digital Concert Hall
Adele Schonhardt: Oh look, our initial vision was just to support the musicians close to us, but as we have seen it grow it has become apparent that there is a need for this type of service in Australia – perhaps that it had already been there all along – because we are getting so many dozens of messages from people around Australia and even further afield saying, well, I could never get to the concert hall, I have a health issue, I have small children at home, I’m far too remote, that music never comes to me but I love the music and I would love to experience it live and be part of that community and you’ve given that to me through MDCH so please will you continue it beyond this current crisis. And we are very happy to do that, and we are putting measures in place to expand our business and indeed to take it national, to support musicians everywhere, in some cases even in international cities.
Returning to UNSW
Adele Schonhardt: That makes me especially proud. As you mentioned earlier, I’m an Executive MBA graduate from AGSM. And it’s almost exactly a year ago to the day since I walked across the stage at Sir John Clancy Auditorium to receive my degree, very proudly. There are photos of me standing there with my cap and gown on.
One year later UNSW has come to the fore again for me as a supporter of Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. And we are extremely proud and delighted that that very stage is now going to be home to these musicians who have no home at the moment and that we are going to be streaming from the Sir John Clancy Auditorium.
Getting The Most From Online Performances
Adele Schonhardt: Well at this point I think I should name our partners in crime in all of this. In particular 5stream, which is a streaming company most commonly associated with support and with high-quality concert hall streaming in places like Melbourne Recital Centre and the Arts Centre. They came on board straight away as a partner and have supported us magnificently with high-quality streaming, high-quality video, high-quality audio.
And likewise, the Athenaeum Theatre here in Melbourne provided the venue and the backdrop for our setting here.
And that means that quality is assured. You don’t need any particular type of audio device at home. Obviously if you do have, that’s great.
But otherwise, all you really need is a glass of wine, a cup or tea, somewhere comfortable to sit, maybe a cheese platter, and a bit of time to switch off the rest of the world and put your worries aside for a moment or two and to just enjoy the music.