Limelight (magazine)

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Limelight Magazine Cover May 2013.png
Cover of the May 2013 edition
EditorJo Litson
Former editorsClive Paget, Francis Merson
Staff writersAngus McPherson, Justine Nguyen
CategoriesArts, music
PublisherLimelight Arts Media Pty Ltd
First issueJanuary 1976
CompanyLimelight Arts Media Pty Ltd
Based inLevel 1, Unit 11, 183 Macquarie St, Sydney

Limelight is an Australian website and 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.[2][3]

Development and achievements[edit]

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".[4]

From 2006 to January 2014 it was published by Haymarket Media Group[5] under licence from the ABC. From February 2014 ownership was transferred from ABC to Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd.

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 performing arts in general, but on the Australian classical music scene in particular. As of the November 2017 issue the magazine's editor is Jo Litson, a highly regarded Australian arts journalist.[6] Prior to Litson, respected music journalist Clive Paget was editor from 2013 to 2017. 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.[7]

Limelight Awards[edit]

Between 2007 and 2012, Limelight held the Limelight Awards – the only classical music awards in Australia where the public were invited to vote and help recognise well-loved musicians.[8]

Acoustics survey[edit]

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.[9] 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.[10] The Sydney Opera House's Joan Sutherland Theatre (previously known as the Opera Theatre) was found to have the worst acoustics.[10]

Australian orchestra ranking[edit]

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.[11] 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.[12]

Change of ownership March 2018[edit]

In March 2018 Limelight was purchased by a newly founded company, Limelight Arts Media Pty Ltd. The owners of the company are Sydney-based businessmen and music lovers Robert Veel and Bruce Watson. The sale of the magazine came about after the previous owners, Arts Illuminated Pty Ltd, experienced financial difficulties and announced that it did not have the funds to proceed with the March 2018 edition. In late 2018 the new owners brought in Cara Anderson as General Manager to oversee the management and publishing of the publication.


  1. ^ ABC Circulation Results December 2012 Archived 10 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine AdNews
  2. ^ About the ABC
  3. ^ Celebrating 100 Years of Radio
  4. ^ Christopher Symons, "From 24 hours to 24 Hours", 24 Hours magazine, January 1996, p. 23
  5. ^ Anni Heino (4 December 2013). "Limelight magazine faces closure". Resonate Magazine. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ a b sounded-as-good-as-she-looks-20110811-1iotn.html "Opera beauty – if only she sounded as good as she looks" by Rachel Olding, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 August 2011
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]