Gillard’s gift to President Obama of an iPod loaded with Australian music is marred by the conspicuous absence of our classical composers.



To see the playlist for the new iPods curated by the Australian classical community, click here.


Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly and Yothu Yindi rub shoulders on the iPod Julia Gillard presented to Barack Obama this week, on her first official tour of the United States as Prime Minister.  The selection of tunes has been widely praised for showcasing the diversity of Australia’s local talent, including Labour’s own Peter Garrett (four Midnight Oil hits) and indigenous artists Geoffrey Gurramul Yunupingu and Archie Roach. Some have criticised the compilation’s absence of AC/DC, but far more disturbing is one major oversight: where’s the classical music?

The Government has exposed its cultural priorities and a worrying lack of interest in Australian art music in its decision to snub the nation’s internationally acclaimed composers. Where, for example, was Bliss, Brett Dean’s recent operatic sensation based on the quintessentially Aussie Peter Carey novel?

Surely Peter Sculthorpe should have made the cut; the elder statesman of Australian classical music was one of the first to evoke the sound and spirit of our unique landscape in the orchestra. His Earth Cry, featuring William Barton on solo didgeridoo, is a glaring omission.

What of Australian artists? The late Sir Charles Mackerras was one of the first homegrown conductors to make a lasting impression on the world stage. Mackerras’ nephew Alexander Briger conducted Australia’s first opera, Don John of Austria, in its premiere recording for ABC Classics. Soprano Emma Matthews was the first Australian artist to make a solo recording for Deutsche Grammophon.

The list goes on, but not a single megabyte on Obama’s iPod was given over to Australia’s distinguished classical composers and artists. Is the Government remiss in its failure to represent an important facet of our national cultural identity?

Have your say: what would your presidential playlist include?

The complete iPod playlist:

Paul Kelly

To Her Door (Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits: Songs from the South, Vols 1 & 2)

From Little Things Big Things Come (Paul Kelly’s Greatest Hits: Songs from the South, Vols 1 & 2)

Geoffrey Gurramul Yunupingu

Bapa (Gurrumul)

Wirrpangu (Gurrumul)

Djarimirri (Gurrumul)

Temper Trap

Sweet Disposition (Conditions)

Love Lost (Conditions)


Don’t Fight It (Cruel Guards)

Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males

Star of the Sea (Drowning in the Fountain of Youth)

Hill Top Hoods

The Hard Road (The Hard Road)

The Nosebleed Section (The Calling)

John Butler Trio

Funky Tonight (Grand National)

One Way Road (April Uprising)

Used to Get High (Grand National)

Angus and Julia Stone

Big Jet Plane (Down the Way)

The Herd

I Was Only 19 (The Sun Never Sets)

Jimmy Barnes

Red Hot (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

That’s Right (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Hallelujah (I love her so) (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

That’s How It Is (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Keep a Knocking (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Reconsider Me (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Shake Rattle & Roll (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Rockin Pneumonia (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

A Fool In Love (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

You Can’t Judge a Book (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

I was Made to Love Her (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Young Blood (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

My Baby Just Cares for Me (The Rhythm and the Blues Album)

Ian Moss

Good Times (Soul on West 53rd)

Standing in The Shadows of Love (Soul on West 53rd)

Dan Sultan

Your Love is like a Song (Homemade Biscuits)


Never Tear Us Apart (Platinum Greatest Hits)

Need You Tonight (Platinum Greatest Hits)

The Loved One (Platinum Greatest Hits)

New Sensation (Platinum Greatest Hits)

Xavier Rudd

Let Me Be (Solace)

Better People (White Moth)

Midnight Oil

King of the Mountain (Blue Sky Mining)

Blue Sky Mine (Blue Sky Mining)

Beds are Burning (Diesel and Dust)

Short Memory (10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1)

Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds)

Into My Arms (The Best Of….)

Troy Cassar Daly

Bow River (Standing On the Outside: The Songs of Cold Chisel)

Kasey Chambers

Pony (Wayward Angel)

The Captain (The Captain)

Jessica Mauboy

Burn (Been Waiting)

Time After Time (Been Waiting)

Crowded House

Now We’re Getting Somewhere (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

World Where You Live (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Weather With You (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Something So Strong (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

When You Come (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Four Seasons in One Day (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Distant Sun (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Sister Madly (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Better Be Home Soon (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Mean to Me (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

It’s Only Natural (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Fall At Your Feet (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Don’t Dream It’s Over (The Very Very Best of Crowded House)

Kylie Minogue

Confide in Me (Ultimate Kylie)

Where the Wild Roses Grow (Ultimate Kylie)

Megan Washington

How to Tame Lions (I Believe You Liar)

Sunday Best (I Believe You Liar)

Bliss n Eso

Bullet and a Target (Flying Colours)

Yothu Yindi

Treaty (radio mix) (Tribal Voice)

Djapana (sunset dreaming) (Tribal Voice)

Dots on the Shells (One Blood)

Cat Empire

Hello (The Cat Empire)

Days Like These (The Cat Empire)

Hunters and Collectors

Holy Grail (Cut)

Throw Your Arms Around Me (Natural Selection)

When the River Runs Dry (Natural Selection)

Do You See What I See (Natural Selection)

Augie Marsh

One Crowded Hour (Moo You Bloody Choir)

Janelle (Standing on the Outside)

Missy Higgins

Scar (The Scar)

The Special Two (The Special Two)

Steer (On a Clear Day)

James Morrison

Chameleon (Scream Machine)

God Bless the Child duo with Deni Hines (The Other Woman)

St Louis Blues (Quartet)

St James Infirmary Blues (Tribute to Louis Armstrong)


These Days (Odyssey Number Five)

Burn Your Name (Golden Rule)

My Happiness (Odyssey Number Five)

Baby I’ve Got You on My Mind (Vulture Street)

Lost and Running (Lost and Running-Single)

Bernard Fanning

Wish You Well (Tea & Sympathy)

Songbird (Tea & Sympathy)

Watch Over Me (Tea & Sympathy)

Thrill Is Gone (Tea & Sympathy)

Wash Me Clean (Tea & Sympathy)

Which Way Home? (Tea & Sympathy)

Hope and Validation (Tea & Sympathy)

Down to the River (Tea & Sympathy)

Yesterday’s Gone (Tea & Sympathy)

Not Finished Just Yet (Tea & Sympathy)

The Strangest Thing (Tea & Sympathy)

Sleeping Rough (Tea & Sympathy)

Further Down the River (Tea & Sympathy)

Believe (Tea & Sympathy)

Clare Bowditch

Message to My Girl (She Will Have Her Way: The Songs of Tim and Neil Finn)

Modern Day Addiction (Modern Day Addiction)

Guy Sebastian

Like It Like That (Like it Like That)

In the Midnight Hour (The Memphis Album)

(Sittin On) The Dock of the Bay (The Memphis Album)

Living End

All Torn Down (The Living End)

White Noise (White Noise)


Straight Lines (Young Modern)

Tomorrow (Frogstomp)

Anas Song, Open Fire (Neon Ballroom)


Joker and the Thief (Wolfmother)

Woman (Wolfmother)

Tame Impala

Solitude is Bliss (InnerSpeaker)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Which Way to Go (Primary Colours)

Tina Arena

Chains (Don’t Ask)

To Sir With Love (Songs of Love and Loss)

Savage Garden

To the Moon & Back (Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden)

Affirmation (Truly Madly Completely: The Best of Savage Garden)


This Old Love (Autumn Flow)

Tumbling into the Dawn (Tumbling into the Dawn)

Christine Anu

Island Home (Stylin Up)

Sunshine On a Rainy Day (Come My Way)

No Woman No Cry (Liberation Blue Acoustic Series)


Sounds of Them (GANGgajang)

The Go-Betweens

Streets of Your Town (16 Lovers Lane)

Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter

Little by Little (Ruby)

Coolman Baby (Ruby)

Nagarrindjeri Woman (Ruby)

Archie Roach

John Pat (Journey)

Too Many Bridges (Journey)

Liyarn Ngarn (Journey)

The Waifs

London Still (Up All Night)

Lighthouse (Up All Night)

Bridal Train (A Brief History)

Renee Gayer

 Heading in the Right Direction (The Ultimate Collection)

Stares and Whispers (The Ultimate Collection)

It’s a Man’s Man’s World (The Ultimate Collection)

Saltwater Band

Compass (Malk)

Djarridjarri-Blue Flag (Djarridjarri)

Arafura Sea (Gapu Damurrun)