Gill to receive top award

NEWS is to hand that former director and chief conductor of The Canberra Symphony Orchestras, Richard Gill, is to be honoured as the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music Award in the 2014 Art Music Awards, to be held on Tuesday 26 August 26 at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne.

Gill conducting

Gill conducting

Widely credited with lifting the game of the CSO after a period in the financial and artistic doldrums during his reign from 2001 to 2007, Gill is considered one of Australia’s pre-eminent conductors.

Former CEO of the CSO and “CityNews” music reviewer, Ian McLean, commented today, “I think it’s absolutely thrilling… in my view he has not received the recognition he deserves.”

Gill has gained international respect and recognition for his work in musical education, and has worked with every major Australian orchestra in a career that has so far spanned more than five decades. Although he has found particular success in opera and musical theatre, throughout his professional career he has continually demonstrated his commitment and aptitude for honing the talents of young musicians and singers.

Starting out as a high school music teacher, Gill has, apart from this Canberra stint, been Artistic Director of OzOperaDean of the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music, Music Director of Victorian Opera. His current role is as Artistic Director of Sydney Symphony’s Education Program.

This award is the latest in Gill’s impressive collection of industry accolades. In 1994 he was presented an Order of Australia medal for his services to music, and in the same year, the University of Western Australia recognised him with an Honorary Doctorate. He received the Bernard Heinze Award for Services to Music in Australia in 1999, followed by a Classical Music Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music in Education in 2004, as well as the Don Banks Music Award in 2006.

“The award has come as a shock to me,”, Gill said in response to the news, “as it feels as if it is announcing the end of my work, which in fact is still going on and will go on for some time…hell is not ready for me yet!”

The Arts Music Awards are unique in their specific acknowledgement of the achievements of talented Australians in the fields of contemporary art music, jazz and experimental music.

Other Canberra-related nominations are Mary Finsterer for “Aerea, performed by the Monash Art Ensemble, in the Work of the Year: Instrumental section; Sandra France for “From a Black Sky”, text by Helen Nourse, performed by The Street, conducted by David Kram, in the Work of the Year: Vocal section;  and The Street Theatre for Capital Jazz Project.

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