The Australian National University will invest $12.5 million in strategic funds in the School of Music over the next five years to ensure a bright future for music teaching and research at the University.

The announcement comes as part of its response to the report on a six-month long community consultation undertaken for the university by Professor Andrew Podger AO.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said: “I’m delighted to announce that the University will be making a substantial investment in the School of Music of $12.5 million over the next five years to give it a solid foundation upon which to build a School befitting of ANU and this community.

“Music is part of the life of Canberra, and we have been delighted that the community has emphasised how important it is to them that the School of Music be able to contribute to the life of the national capital. We’re investing to make sure we can offer students an outstanding education program that includes performance, composition, musicology and music technology.

“The strength of community support means that we’ll also be exploring the establishment of a School of Music Community Engagement Advisory Board.”

Professor Schmidt said that the Podger Community Consultation identified the need for community support in the order of $800,000 per year to enable the University to offer an advanced music program in addition to its broader music education program.

“The reality of Canberra being a small city means that we need community support to offer a more advanced program, which will help underpin a strong music culture in Canberra. We’ll be approaching the ACT Government, prospective sponsors and the general community to seek their support to make it all work.

“I’m asking the community to rally behind the University and the School in building a vibrant future,” Professor Schmidt said.

Showing his gratitude for professors, he said: “We are very lucky to have Professor Malcolm Gillies AM, with his almost lifelong connection to the School and music in Canberra, to lead the School over the next six months.

“We’re putting in place the major funding that will enable the School to prosper, and Professor Gillies, along with the staff at the School, will begin to chart a new course for the School, well informed by the recommendations of the Podger Community Consultation.”

Professor Schmidt said the selection of a permanent Head for the School was well advanced and the University expected to make an announcement in the near future.