Tony Berg AM announced as Patron of Musica Viva Australia

Musica Viva Australia (MVA) is delighted to announce that Tony Berg AM has accepted the role of Patron of Musica Viva.

Michael Katz, MVA Chairman, Tony Berg AM, MVA Patron, Mary Jo Capps, MVA CEO

The position of Patron is the highest non-governing position within the organisation, and recognises significant and sustained commitment and service to MVA. The Patron’s duties are two-fold: to publicly promote the objectives, achievements and aspirations of Musica Viva’s, as well as offering informal behind the scenes counsel. There has only been one previous Patron, Kenneth W Tribe AC, who passed away in July 2010.

“The Board and management of Musica Viva Australia are very aware that Ken Tribe set a high benchmark for the role of Patron,” comments Michael Katz, Chairman of Musica Viva. “The depth and length of Tony Berg’s commitment to the organisation made him the obvious choice to follow Ken in this highly honoured role.”

His father, Charles Berg, introduced Tony to music and to Musica Viva at a very young age. Charles was a Jewish refugee from Germany who came to Australia just before the war. He joined as the first Secretary of Musica Viva in 1947 and later held many positions within the organisation, including President.

Some of Tony’s earliest musical memories are from his involvement with Musica Viva. “I remember being around 8 or 9 years old and going out to the airport with my father to welcome one of the visiting quartets, and I remember being very proud to carry the cello for the cellist of that quartet,” says Tony.

That early exposure led to a lifelong involvement with MVA. Tony was a Director of MVA from 1983 to 2000 and was Chairman for 12 years. Together with his wife, Carol, the Berg Family Foundation has also contributed significant philanthropic support to MVA, including seed funding for the recently established Musica Viva Festival, in which MVA brings together the best of Australia’s emerging musicians from the Australian Youth Orchestra and the most outstanding international mentor/performers for a week of masterclasses and public performances.

Tony is a committed and involved arts philanthropist, and believes in the concept of ‘active philanthropy’. He recently gave a keynote speech on the topic at the Harvard Club of Australia’s Nonprofit Fellowship Awards event on 16 June 2011. He
comments:

“I have long been an advocate of active philanthropy, by which individuals and corporations provide not just financial support to the not for profit sector, but also their time, support and expertise. The rewards are immeasurable for all concerned, leading to improved results for the charity and life-changing experience for the philanthropist. I am deeply honoured to be offered this opportunity by Musica Viva, and look forward to serving as a very active Patron in the years ahead.”

A highly successful businessman, Tony is currently an Executive Director of Gresham Partners Limited, and has previously held the positions of Managing Director and CEO of Boral Limited and was Macquarie Bank’s first Managing Director and CEO in 1985 when Hill Samuel became Macquarie Bank.

Tony is a graduate of Sydney University with an honours degree in Economics, he received an MBA with High Distinction and Baker Scholar from the Harvard School of Management and in 2009 was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Business from the University of New South Wales.

He served as a Council Member of The National Gallery of Australia and is a Director of the National Gallery of Australia Foundation Board where he was Chairman for 7 years. He was also director of The Sydney Institute and was a Member of the Australia Council.

“We are thrilled that Tony Berg has accepted this position. While it is somewhat unusual for major performing arts organisations in Australia to appoint a Patron, for Musica Viva this is perfectly aligned with our focus on the future of fine music in Australia built on a rich cultural history. I know the organisation will gain enormously from Tony’s wise counsel and enthusiastic support, and we all look forward to working with him in this new capacity,” says Mary Jo Capps, CEO of Musica Viva.

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