This page last modified:
March 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm
There is hardly a Melbourne classical music concert at which Frank Pam is not in the audience. He and his wife Cecille have a good arrangement- she accompanies him to some concerts and he goes with her to Hawthorn Australian Rules matches. It was Cecille who suggested that Frank join 3MBS as a programmer/presenter when he retired from the German Department at Monash University. Frank had been one of our subscribers from the very first days. He has found it an enriching experience, meeting and making friends with fellow volunteers from various walks of life united by their love of music. And we have been similarly blessed by his vast musical knowledge and experience.
Frank's musical life began when he was seven years old. But he had a possibly jocular but, to a young boy, rather scary teacher. He gave up. At nine, he began again with …Joan Haslem, a young violinist in the MSO, whom he just adored and progress was fast. This made Frank, in later life, acutely aware of the value of encouragement and good teaching, in music and all subjects. Frank's mother sent him to Geelong College, because they had a dedicated music school. A good decision, The legendary George Logie-Smith was the Director of Music - a former football star and sporty type who had studied conducting with Sir John Barbirolli. He drew every single boy into the school's musical activities. Frank flourished. He led the orchestra from the age of 14, played the tenor cor and then the French horn in the cadet band, sang in Gilbert and Sullivan operas from the age of 12 and as a boy soprano soloist in church services and at weddings. He later won the Music Prize. He also led the Geelong Junior Symphony Orchestra at age 16 and was a casual member of the Geelong symphony Orchestra.
At Melbourne University, Frank studied Law/Arts, where one of his majors was in German, in which he was mainly self-taught, though his family spoke it as they came to Australia from Vienna. He soon dropped the Law component. He also played in the Conservatorium Orchestra and studied violin and then viola there with Boris Stupel, going on to become Principal Viola in the Australian Youth Orchestra. Scholarships and tours took him to play with European chamber orchestras. With the Collegium Musicum Bonn he toured French universities. Back in Australia, he played with the Victorian Opera Society Orchestra and joined the Musica Viva Younger Group for 6 years. He was victorian Treasurer of Musica Viva for 20 years and remains a great supporter of theirs.
Frank started his own orchestra, The Melbourne Musicians, in 1975. Those of us who remember that Melbourne in those days was not yet the hub of chamber music it has now become know how valuable this chamber orchestra was to us then. A veritable life-line for chamber music enthusiasts. With only a tiny government subsidy for a short time and inspired by the Italian group, I Musici, they mostly played Baroque music at first but gradually branched into a broader repertoire, right up to new contemporary works. Frank is obviously a good talent-spotter, in that he has given first performances to soloists who have gone on to international acclaim. Guitarists Slava and Leonard Grigoryan, cellist Le-Wei Qin, and many others have had their first opportunities with the Melbourne Musicians.
The orchestra is made up of accomplished, but not full-time professional orchestral players - many are music teachers. Love of playing music is what unties them , as promoting and presenting it does Frank Pam's fellow 3MBS volunteers.