AYO: 1954-60
AYO National Music Camp: 1954-60

Long-time AYO supporter and Former Melbourne University Vice-Chancellor Kwong Lee Dow is an eminent scholar and leading educator. His awards include Officer of the Order of Australia, the Sir James Darling Medal-Australian College of Education and the Gold Medal-Australian Council for Educational Leaders.


Question: Tell us about some of your AYO National Music Camp memories.

Answer I played clarinet in some of the early music camps at Point Lonsdale. At AYO National Music Camp I was no longer just practising on my own – I was suddenly with a big group playing and performing from dawn till dusk. It was very empowering for all the young musicians making that tentative step from student to performer. A large portion of my professional life has involved getting up and speaking in front of large groups; after camp I thought – this is dead easy, compared with performing on an instrument!<br> <br> Working with amazing European musicians broadened our world view. We all adored eccentric Viennese conductor Georg Tintner, who ate what we called bird-seed; we had never met anyone who didn’t eat ‘meat and three veg’. Georg conducted Bruckner’s Symphony No.4, a perfect piece for a youth orchestra because it has a big sound and every section gets big parts. His humility surprised us, because he was so talented and knowledgeable.

Question: What do you think has been the secret to National Music Camp’s success?

Answer I think it was the combined strengths of John Bishop, Ruth Alexander and Ron Maslyn Williams that made AYO National Music Camp so successful. John was the visionary music educator, Ruth was the top flight organiser and Maslyn was the publicist who brought camp to the attention of government representatives and captains of industry.

Question: Why do you think AYO is important?

Answer During my career I have enjoyed helping students transition to higher education. I believe AYO plays a very important role in helping students transition to professional performance. I support AYO because I want opportunities such as AYO National Music Camp to continue for future generations.