Richard Gill, AO Conductor / Music Educator

Richard Gill Conducting

‘Perhaps it’s just as well that Leonard Bernstein is dead. Otherwise he’d probably have to relinquish his great reputation as a musical educator- or at least share it with Sydney’s Richard Gill.’— John Carmody, The Sun Herald

Richard Gill, AO, Founding Music Director and Conductor Emeritus of Victorian Opera, is one of Australia’s pre-eminent and most admired conductors specialising in opera, musical theatre and vocal and choral training and is internationally respected as a music educator. Richard’s work in developing young musicians and creating opportunities for them is recognised world-wide. Richard has been Artistic Director of the Education Program for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of OzOpera, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and Artistic Advisor for the Musica Viva Education program. He is currently Music Director of Sydney Chamber Choir, Artistic Director of the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra (ARCO) and is the Founder and Director of the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program. 

Most recently, Richard Gill has had the honour of being appointed to a personal chair. The international law firm, King & Wood Mallesons, has endowed a chair in music education at the Conservatorium High School, secondary arm of the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney. Richard is the inaugural King & Wood Mallesons Conservatorium Chair in Music Education.

This year Richard continues his associations with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for Ears Wide Open, Sydney Chamber Choir, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for Unwrap the Music, Taipei American School as the Joanna Nichols Performing Artist in Residence, and the Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne as well as continuing in his role as a mentor and music educator to young musicians, teachers and many community groups in Australia. 

Recent engagements have included the International Schools Choral Music Society (ISCMS) Festival in Beijing, Anzac Commemorative and Discovery concerts (Sydney Symphony); New Zealand Symphony Orchestra National Youth Orchestra; Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for Festival of Voices, including St. Matthew Passion; Ears Wide Open and the Metropolis Festival (Melbourne Symphony); Unwrap the Music with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra; Sydney Chamber Choir; director of the National Music Camp for the Australian Youth Orchestra in Canberra; Sleeping Beauty (Pantomime), Cinderella (Pantomime), The Rake’s Progress, The Marriage of Figaro, The Play of Daniel, the Viva Verdi Gala concerts, The Magic Flute, Sing Your Own Opera, How to Kill Your Husband and The Threepenny Opera (at Sydney Theatre Company) all for Victorian Opera; Family concerts, Meet the Music and Tea with Symphony for Sydney Symphony; Classic Kids concerts with Melbourne Symphony; New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Sydney Youth Orchestra; Melbourne Youth Music and Young Symphonists (Australian Youth Orchestra).  In 2012 Richard’s memoirs “Give Me Excess of It”, described by Pan Macmillan as “warm, extremely funny, highly opinionated, occasionally rude (where warranted) and always sublimely full of the love of music”, were published.

Further works Richard has conducted for Victorian Opera include The Coronation of Poppea, Damnation of Faust, Julius Caesar, Don Giovanni, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Carmina Burana, Ariadne auf Naxos, Noyes Fludde, The Snow Queen, Così fan Tutte, Metamorphosis, Les Noces/Oedipus Rex, St John Passion, The Parrott Factory, The Cockatoos and the world premiere of Rembrandt’s Wife.

His work in the concert hall is extensive and includes concerts with all the major Australian orchestras, Sydney Philharmonia, Canberra Symphony Orchestra as well as the Australian, Sydney, and Western Australian Youth Orchestras. For the Sydney Symphony he regularly conducted their Meet the Music concerts, Discovery concerts with the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, and Sinfonietta concerts.

Richard’s repertoire for Opera Australia includes Julius Caesar, The Love for Three Oranges, Orpheus in the Underworld, the world premiere of Moya Henderson’s Lindy, Faust, The Gondoliers, The Eighth Wonder, Macbeth, La forza del destino, Rigoletto, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il trovatore, Romeo et Juliette, Pericole, The Merry Widow, Fidelio, Turandot, Pearl Fishers, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in a double bill entitled ‘Baroque Masterworks’; for Oz Opera, The Barber of Seville, La bohème, Carmen, and The Magic Flute;  for Opera Queensland he has conducted The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro.

Music theatre repertoire includes Brundibar (Windmill Performing Arts), the world premiere of Jonathan Mills’ The Ghost Wife at the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, Adelaide Festival, Sydney Festival and London Barbican, Eternity Man for Sydney Festival, The World’s Biggest Singing Lesson at the UWA Perth International Arts Festival and Sing Your Own Opera at the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts. He also acted as Chairman of the Jury for the ABC/OA Operatunity OZ project 2005/06.

He has held several other important posts including Dean of the West Australian Conservatorium of Music (1985-1990) and Director of Chorus at The Australian Opera (1990-1996) and has received numerous accolades during the course of his career, including an Order of Australia Medal, the Bernard Heinze Award for Services to Music in Australia, an Honorary Doctorate from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia for his service to Australian music and musicians, an Hon. Doc. (ACU), and the Australian Music Centre’s award for ‘Most Distinguished Contribution to the Presentation of Australian Composition by an Individual’. Richard is also the recipient of the prestigious Don Banks Award 2006 by the Australia Council and the 2014 APRA Art Music Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music.