Cover of the May 2013 issue of Limelight
|Former editors||Francis Merson|
|First issue||January 1976|
|Company||Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd|
|Based in||Suite 3, Level 4, 189 Kent St, Sydney|
Limelight is an Australian monthly classical music and arts magazine based in Sydney. Founded in January 1976, the magazine was originally published under the name ABC Radio 24 Hours, or simply 24 Hours, and relaunched as Limelight in June 2003.
Development and achievements
The magazine was originally a subsidiary of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's classical music radio station, ABC Classic FM, and existed primarily to provide program details for the station's listeners. The title 24 Hours came to the inaugural Director of ABC FM, Christopher Symons, "literally in the middle of the night. It also occurred to me ... that if we got the magazine and its title established, it would be difficult for management to cut the station back to 18 hours a day".
From 2006 to January 2014 it was published by Haymarket Media Group under licence from the ABC. From February 2014 ownership was transferred to Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd, and there is no longer any formal connection with the ABC.
In January 2012, it ceased listing detailed ABC Classic FM radio programs for the forthcoming month. This reflected a decision by ABC management to end forward programming, to allow greater flexibility.
The magazine focuses on the arts in general, but on the Australian classical music scene in particular. As of the March 2015 issue the magazine's editor is Clive Paget. Francis Merson was the editor for four years prior to this. Under Merson, Limelight was awarded the Relaunch of the Year prize at the 2012 Publishers Australia Excellence Awards. This was in recognition of the magazine’s successful relaunch in June 2012, with a new design and greater editorial focus on contemporary music and reviews. Francis Merson also earned runner-up in Editor of the Year category.
The September 2011 issue of Limelight featured an in-depth survey of musicians to reveal the best (and worst) concert hall acoustics in Australia's 20 major concert halls, for orchestral, chamber and vocal music. The survey, which gathered opinions from 200 performers, critics and audience members, ranked the Perth Concert Hall as the best overall venue and the Melbourne Recital Centre as the top venue for chamber music. The Sydney Opera House's Joan Sutherland Theatre (previously known as the Opera Theatre) was found to have the worst acoustics.
Australian orchestra ranking
Featured in the April 2013 issue of Limelight, a panel of 15 expert critics and professional musicians from around the country were blind-tested to determine Australia's top symphony orchestra. Whenever possible, repertoire was matched to ensure comparable adjudication and a fair result. In the test, each of the 15 judges was sent recordings of each orchestra on separate CDs labelled simply A to F. Ranking the orchestras from 1 to 6, the expert panel voted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in the three top spots. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was ranked in fourth place.