Matthew Krel arrived in Australia in 1975, emigrating from the USSR. He was born in 1945 at Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. To place this in the context of the southern hemisphere, you would be half-way between Hobart Tasmania and the Antarctic Coast, in the “Ferocious Fifties” to find equivalent climatic conditions.
Matthew’s musical talent and personal drive saw him complete his education at the Gnessins College in Moscow, a College founded in the times of the Tsars and surviving through Russia’s turbulent 20th Century history.
He, his wife Faina and their daughter Helena, saw Australia as a land of opportunity. He spoke glowingly of his adopted homeland and was determined to make a difference in his field of expertise – musical and youth education.
In 1988, after meeting with Ian Hamilton and Austin Steele, employees at SBS, he persuaded them that his idea of forming a Youth Orchestra associated with SBS was in accord with SBS Charter Objectives and that he, Matthew, had the determination to sustain it. The Board of SBS was persuaded to accept Mr Hamilton’s recommendation that Matthew should be invited to form a non-profit company with which SBS could formally contract. Mr Hamilton and Mr Steele were drawn by Matthew’s enthusiasm to become founding voluntary Directors of the Company – “Youth Musical Endeavours Ltd”.
Since 1988, it is estimated that around 2000 young musicians have had some contact with the orchestra. Its reputation and vitality can be traced directly to the drive, knowledge and musical abilities of Matthew Krel.
Sadly and shockingly, Matthew contracted Viral Encephalitis in February 2009, dying on May 20th 2009.
His legacy will be heard far into the future in the sounds of young musicians striving to combine art, ideas, technical skills, intellect and vigorous musical challenges in pieces that they play. Their individual cultural diversity will be outshone by that purest of human cultural achievements – fine music.