CSU honour for man of music, arts and education

A man who has supported the development of Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the performing arts and education in the Riverina region was honoured at a CSU graduation ceremony in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 11 December.

The award of Companion of the University was conferred on Mr Adrain Wintle for his demonstrated exceptional dedication to education, literature and the performing arts in the region, and for his commitment to the University.

The official citation for the conferral of the award of Companion of the University acknowledges Mr Wintle for his pursuit of a long and distinguished career in tertiary education, church music, and arts journalism in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

Born in Brisbane and educated in Sydney, Mr Wintle studied piano at St Andrew’s Cathedral, where he was later appointed assistant organist. In journalism, he trained on the Bulletin before becoming associate music and theatre critic on the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Wintle studied at the Trinity College of Music and Durham University in 1967. As well as teaching at three London high schools, he spent five years as music critic for Musical Opinion.

In 1967 he went to Canada to study musicology at Toronto University, was assistant editor of Opera Canada before returning to Australia in 1971 as senior publicity officer in the ABC’s Federal Concerts Department.

Mr Wintle was appointed lecturer in music at the Riverina College of Advanced Education in Wagga Wagga in 1974.

In 1981 he joined the Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga becoming chief of staff and writing on music, theatre and travel. His weekly ‘Focus on Arts’ column ran for 23 years, and extracts from his theatre reviews appear in Leslie Rees’s definitive History of Australian Drama.

He also contributed reviews to Theatre Australia and was a theatre assessor for The Australia Council Theatre Board. His series of articles titled ‘The Bulletin in the Fifties’ appeared in the Daily Advertiser in 1984 and was reprinted in Southerly magazine in 1994.

In 1984 the Riverina College of Advanced Education became a cardinal force in the establishment of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. Mr Wintle was seconded to establish the new institution while teaching at a Conservatorium branch in Albury that later became the independent Murray Conservatorium. From 1993 to 1997 he served as director of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.

In 1974 Mr Wintle became the University’s organist. His first performance for the procession and occasional music for graduation was at the Civic Theatre in Wagga Wagga, playing a drawbar Hammond organ and coaxing the large choir through a performance of Stanford’s Magnificat in B Flat. In subsequent years, graduations were held was Joyes Hall at Charles Sturt University, where initially the on-stage instrument was a donated electronic organ and always referred to as the toy organ.

In 1995 the University’s then-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Blake, AO, sought Mr Wintle’s opinion for new instruments for CSU in Wagga Wagga and Bathurst. Mr Wintle’s immediate recommendations for a three manual Makin for the Wagga Wagga campus and an even larger Makin instrument for the Bathurst campus was accepted. Mr Wintle had the opportunity to play for Bathurst graduations on two occasions, and was able to demonstrate the enormous scope of that organ.

In 2005 Mr Wintle was awarded honorary life membership of the Australian Journalists Association.

In 2006 Mr Wintle returned to composition, writing choral music for St John’s Anglican Church in Wagga (an early Magnificat in G had been published in New York in 1975).

He was runner up in the inaugural 2007 ACT Royal School of Church Music Composition Competition, and in 2008 took first prize in the second competition with Psalm 150. In 2009 he was equal first prize winner (with Canberra composer Les Davey) with The Choristers’ Prayer.

In 2011 Mr Wintle was commissioned by the Riverina Conservatorium of Music to compose a work for organ, performing the piece, ‘Elegy in Memoriam MJ Byers’, initially in Wagga Wagga, then at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney.

He was appointed interim director of music at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Wangaratta in 2012, and director of music and organist at St Matthew’s, Albury, relinquishing the latter position in December 2012.

Through his position as Official Organist at CSU graduation ceremonies, Mr Wintle has strongly supported the development of this University, performing arts and education in general in this region, and his association with the University continues unabated.

Mr Adrian Wintle has demonstrated exceptional dedication to education, literature and the performing arts in the region and his commitment to the University makes him a worthy recipient for the award of Companion of the University.

The award was conferred on Mr Wintle at the 2pm graduation ceremony at CSU in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 11 December 2018.

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