Melbourne Recital Centre pays tribute to the classy Dame whose generosity in the arts is legendary.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE, matriarch of the News Corp empire and lifelong supporter of the arts, has died at the age of 103. The mother of four children, including Rupert Murdoch, she passed away on December 5 at her homestead on Cruden Farm in Victoria.
At 19, Dame Elisabeth (1909-2012) married newspaper mogul Sir Keith Murdoch, and the couple became deeply immersed in the Melbourne and Victorian arts scene until his death in 1952. In the five decades that followed, Dame Elisabeth has remained a community leader and passionate philanthropist.
One of her most fruitful initiatives of recent years was as a driving force behind the construction of the Melbourne Recital Centre, which she described as a “living space for making, sharing and enjoying great music”.
The Melbourne Recital Centre Public Fund was established by the family in 2008 with a founding gift of $2million; the Government of Victoria named the main auditorium Elisabeth Murdoch Hall in recognition of her life as a peerless champion of the arts. She has been the centre’s patron since its official opening on her 100th birthday in 2009, and launched the Elisabeth Murdoch Creative Development Fund to enable the MRC to support Australian artists through recordings, composer commissions and workshops.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s performances at the MRC on Saturday December 8 will be dedicated to the memory of Dame Elisabeth, a staunch supporter of the ensemble. On February 8, 2013, Melbourne Recital Centre will pay further tribute to its patron and her legacy at an anniversary concert held on her birthday, commemorating the date of the venue’s grand opening.
“I have had a very fortunate life,” Dame Elisabeth told Limelight in a 2009 interview leading up to her 100th birthday, “because I’ve had the opportunities to be useful in the community. It’s a big responsibility… The trouble is that I very seldom say no!”