Skip to main content Accessibility help

‘Beethoven by Bus’: Nancy Weir and Queensland Music

  • Belinda McKay


In the last issue of Queensland Review, it was argued that the idea of Queensland literature has a history, and that the various competing formulations of that idea have implications for Queensland identity and politics. Queensland art, likewise, has some currency as an idea, particularly as an ‘art off centre’ to borrow the title of a recent conference. It is, therefore, somewhat surprising that the idea of ‘Queensland music’ has not emerged as a useful way of constructing a cultural or political identity. ‘Music in Queensland’, suggesting an exotic and not fully acclimatized cultural form, is instead the designation used in the few — mostly unpublished — works which treat Queensland's musical history.



Hide All


1 Buckridge, Patrick, ‘Queensland Literature: The Making of an Idea,’ Queensland Review (1995): 3041. ‘Art Off Centre’ was the title of a Queensland Studies Centre conference held in association with the Queensland Art Gallery, 29–30 April 1995. Although the role played by other forms of music in Queensland is also worthy of attention, this article focusses on what is variously known as ‘classical’ or ‘art’ music: ie. the music of ‘high’ culture.

2 Thea Astley, ‘Being a Queenslander: A form of Literary and Geographical Conceit,’ Southerly 36:23.

3 Car Rushed by Crowd: Memorable Scene in Town Hall’, The Sun News-Pictorial, 8 July 1929: 3. All Melbourne newspapers canied lengthy articles about Weir's playing and the tumultuous public response.

4 Ehrlich, Cyril, The Music Profession in Britain since the Eighteenth Century: A Social History (Oxford: Clarendon, 1985) 53, 209. Ehrlich refers specifically to the British context, but his remarks are more widely applicable

5 Weir, Nancy, transcript of letter to Charles Weir, [undated: 21 June 1930), held by the Queensland Performing Arts Trust. Ada Freeman's diary notes that Schnabel ‘thought we were Brazilians!!?’.

6 Unless otherwise indicated, quotations are drawn from oral history interviews with Nancy Weir conducted by Belinda McKay between 1992 and 1995.

7 Weir, Nancy, interviewed by Beryl Davis and Laurel Garlick, Joint Oral History Project, Queensland Performing Arts Trust and the State Library of Queensland.

8 Gustavson, Corliss, ‘Pianists of Australia’, M.Mus. dissertation, University of Queensland, 1977, 292.

9 Schofield, Margaret, interviewed by Belinda McKay, 27 September 1993.

10 Roger Woodward is perhaps the only major international pianist who lives for extended periods in Australia, but he spends at least half of each year based in London.

11 Werder, Felix, interviewed by Belinda McKay, 8 June 1995.

12 Dawson, Jenny, ‘Opera in Colonial Brisbane’, M.Mus. dissertation, University of Queensland, 172–173.

13 Covell, Roger, Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society (Melbourne: Sun Books, 1967) 124.

14 Sitsky, Larry, interviewed by Belinda McKay, 28 September 1993.

15 Jones, Basil, interviewed by Belinda McKay and Sue Witham, 8 December 1993.

16 Conservatorium Corroboree: Group on Teaching Tour Learnt from Aboriginals,’ The Courier-Mail, 31 May 1973.

17 Michael, Kate, unpublished notes on Nancy Weir, 1992.

18 Noble, John wrote: ‘Miss Weir — surely one of Australia's national treasures — again proved herself to be a poet of the piano, producing playing of character, maturity and insight in a reading which realises the full lyrical beauties of this concerto which she has made her own.’ See John Noble, ‘QYSO Superb — As Befits a Silver Jubilee’, The Courier-Mail, 10 July 1992.

‘Beethoven by Bus’: Nancy Weir and Queensland Music

  • Belinda McKay


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.