I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Richard Gill AO and extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
Richard’s humble beginnings as a music teacher led him to become one of Australia’s pre-eminent and most admired conductors specialising in opera, musical theatre and vocal training. A world-renowned composer, he was internationally respected as a music educator and became an Officer of the Order of Australia for his lifetime’s work in 2017.
His career spanned decades and included many prominent roles, comprising; Dean of the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music, Chorus Director for Opera Australia, Founding Music Director of Victorian Opera and Musical Director of the Sydney Chamber Choir.
Richard’s leadership and drive in music education made a tremendous contribution to the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Australian National Academy of Music. He was a crusader for boosting music opportunities in children’s education and as a result founded The National Music Teachers Mentorship Program in 2015.
Richard was very proud of the success of the program. It has already reached 6,776 students and mentored 301 teachers in 163 schools across five states and territories.
In August, Richard was recognised with an Arts Leadership Award at the 2018 Creative Partnerships Awards. He was lauded for his advocacy for music education, and his ability to inspire and encourage private sector investment in the arts.
His enormous passion and enthusiasm for music saw him cross classical boundaries to popular culture through his many appearances on the popular ABC television music show, Spicks and Specks. He will be remembered as a talented pioneer, a maverick and a steadfast advocate for promoting music to young people.
His contribution to the arts in Australia has been enormous and his legacies will be long-lasting.