Melbourne University Choral Society (MUCS)
MUCS withdrew from AICSA in 2012.
Address: Box 51, Union House, University of Melbourne 3010
The Melbourne University Choral Society began in 1939 as the University Choral Society – there were, at the time, no other universities in Melbourne – when a group of female students joined with the existing male choir. The addition of women, led by Marjorie Shaw, provided the impetus needed to rescue the struggling men’s group from oblivion. The first conductor of the new choir was Dan Hardy from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. The choir flourished and was 100-strong by 1945 when it began to give radio broadcasts of madrigals and Christmas carols. In the early years, MUCS concentrated on Bach, and gave the first Melbourne performances of several cantatas. On Hardy’s resignation in 1948, MUCS had a succession of conductors before appointing George Logie-Smith as conductor in 1959, and a new era began. Until that time, MUCS had presented a single ‘annual’ concert of madrigals and medium-sized works. In 1961, MUCS gave three concerts, including Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’s A German Requiem. Under Logie-Smith and his successor Bryan Dowling, MUCS performed Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Orff’s Carmina Burana, three Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Beethoven’s Mass in C.
The currect conductor, Andrew Wailes, was appointed in 1994. MUCS celebrated its 60th anniversary in 1999 with a performance of Carmina Burana. This period has seen an increase in the scale of performances, alongside a closer working relationship between MUCS, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Society (also conducted by Wailes) and the Independent Classics manangement company.
Seeing little benefit from continued participation in AICSA, and triggered by a breakdown in relations between MUCS and the 2012 Melbourne IV committee, MUCS withdrew from membership of AICSA in 2012. The 2012 festival was thus the first in which no members of MUCS participated formally.