Me-Lee Hay and Antony Partos.

Antony Partos is honoured to be the new president of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC), succeeding Caitlin Yeo, but he might wish the timing was more propitious.

Partos is urging the guild’s members to stay calm and to support each other as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down or postpones multiple productions and job losses mount.

Among the measures he’d like to see from the Federal Government, he calls for financial assistance to help members, almost all of whom are freelancers or sole traders, pay the rent.

“We are facing unprecedented challenges within our industry, but know that the strength and unity of our members means that our guild has never been stronger,” he says.

“The near future holds many uncertainties. The guild will be there for all its members and to respond to queries from the industry as best as we can.

“We know that resilience is a strong factor in our survival as screen composers in Australia and the wider world and we urge you to stay strong, look after yourselves, heed the advice of our leaders and government health departments and know that in troubled times, music can soothe the soul and provide respite, inspiration and hope.”

Partos recently worked on Easy Tiger’s Doctor Doctor, Lingo Pictures’ Upright and See-Saw Films’ The End and is hopeful all will be renewed.

TVCs are the bread and butter for his business Sonar Music and while he has not observed any reduction yet in that sector he fears that may happen as advertising budgets are cut.

Fellow NSW-based composer Me-Lee Hay was elected vice-president, the first female ever to hold that position in the guild, taking over from Brett Aplin.

The incoming board of directors also includes Frank Millward, who is now Professor of Music Composition at ANU, Cameron Patrick, head of music at AFTRS, and Elizabeth Drake, who will also serve as chair of the guild’s gender equity committee, succeeding Felicity Wilcox.

Screen composers Dr Craig Morgan and Hylton Mowday also join the board, alongside Melbourne-based composers Petra Salsjö and Tom Rouch who return for another term.