Simone Young AM has earned many accolades across her dazzling 30-year music career. All have been hard won.
Knowing the Score gets up-close and personal with Simone in an engaging, luscious music documentary revealing two key themes; the long struggle for gender parity in the high art of classical music and the heart breaking struggle for artists to be valued in times of crisis, or sometimes even at all.
Though one of the world’s great contemporary conductors, Simone’s work continues to be viewed through a gender lens. Simone is the first woman to be appointed Chief Conductor of The Sydney Symphony Orchestra in all its 90-year history, a post she takes up in 2022. The fact of being a woman still plagues her.
Though Simone has personally overcome many obstacles she remains an outlier. Prejudices and traditions that should be obsolete still dominate her profession.
Right now Simone is concerned with a bigger threat to her industry. Over the past 12 months she and thousands of her colleagues in Australia and around the world have been abandoned by policies that undermine the essential place of Art in our lives.
"We are grieving for something that we may have lost forever. We are grieving for careers that might be finished as we knew them. We are dealing with having to reassess our own roles in the world” (Simone Young AM).
The cultural and creative sectors are being decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. So what is the role of the artist in today’s world? Simone laments, “Do we matter?” Such existential challenges confront and haunt as the concert halls of the world fall silent.
Knowing the Score advocates through passionate testimony and excellence in performance the importance of arts and culture to not only entertain but to transform human adversity. Now more than ever we need to discuss the role of artists towards a thriving democracy and social well being. Knowing the Score is a documentary for our times.
BEHIND THE SCENES
BEHIND THE SCENES
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A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing
The two interconnected themes speak to issues of gender equity and the critical role the Arts play in our culture and wellbeing. They are explored in our biopic of Simone Young, one of Australia's most significant cultural exports known all over the world for her excellence in a field dominated everywhere by men. Passionate about education and excellence Simone is a mentor to students at The Australian Academy of Music and in 2022 will take up the Baton as The Chief Conductor of The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the first female to hold this position in the orchestra's 90 year history.
What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?
Gender inequity it is not yet history. We highlight this in an engaging, surprising biopic of an outstanding Australian woman who broke the glass ceiling for females in the classical music industry. We also utilise her story as a unique opportunity to highlight the depth of the role the Arts play in all our lives. The documentary unfolds through these unprecedented Covid times. Simone Young is an articulate empathetic advocate of the life force of music and culture generally in our lives.
What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?
We are working with the SSO showcasing their 2022 season the first to be programmed by a female Chief Conductor. There will be an unprecedented line up of female conductors in the season and a program with a significant number of young, diverse virtuoso performers with massive social media reach such as Violinist Ray Chen , Indigenous superstar didgeridoo and Perth based band Birds of Tokyo. We want to help change gender perceptions and attest to the crucial role the Arts play in our lives.
We want more Australians to realise that attending live performances and supporting artists can make a massive difference to the cultural life we take for granted.If not supported we will lose something beyond precious.
How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?
SCREEN AUSTRALIA AND CREATE NSW provided development funding and we have followed their guidelines. The ABC have editorial input collaborating on various aspects of the documentary and provided a strong letter of interest for the Jan Producer Door Funding and we are yet to conclude if they will be commissioning or acquiring the documentary.
We have just recently been approached by SBS who are potentially interested in going straight to commissioning as opposed to Producer Door. This information is highly confidential as producers conclude the best strategy for the documentary broadcast.
Audience Engagement and Social Impact
What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?
We would like to see ongoing broader discussion and influence directed at the value of the Arts, people attending live performances of all kinds and giving more generously to financially support the Arts and by advocating to politicians and media.
On an industry level we'd like to see greater diversity in the classical music sector and to draw attention to gender inequity generally leading to more calls for changes in policy. Classical music is a bedrock to western music but it is by no means superior to other genres. It has a significant role to play in seeking a better deal for all performers. Diversify or die.
Measurement and Evaluation
What is the projects indicators for success?
When the data tells us there has been
-significant engagement and debate with the issues
- High levels of educational copying,
-The National Broadcaster's New Bulletin reports more on issues impacting artists and acknowledges the achievements of Australian artists as it does sporting and business figures.
-We succeed in agitating for A Productivity Commission Report that looks very specifically at the role the Arts plays in our culture.
(The Productivity Commission has not looked at the Arts comprehensively thus far, focusing on Not For Profits generally, Intellectual Property and in submissions made to Regional Development where Arts companies took the opportunity to submit)