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Adrienne Simpson

(Hugh )

( b Christchurch, Jan 5, 1949). New Zealand composer and administrator . After initially working as a civil engineer, he completed the BMus at Canterbury University, New Zealand, in 1973 and followed this with postgraduate composition studies at Southampton University with Eric Grabner and Jonathan Harvey. Since 1977 he has pursued twin careers in composition and performing arts administration. He was the chief executive of New Zealand's Ministry of Cultural Affairs (1991–7) and in 1997 became National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of New Zealand. The practical knowledge of voices and instruments gained while managing the Canterbury Orchestra (1977–8), National Opera of New Zealand (1979–82) and Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (1985–90) is evident in his music, which is notable for its clarity of thought and texture. Although underpinned by European organizational techniques, particularly serialism, his works project a strongly New Zealand spirit and imagery and are characterized by a finely judged instinct for theatrical gesture. Many of Blake's major scores reflect his concern for social issues, including the pacifist ...

Article

Werner Gallusser

(b Timaru, New Zealand, May 16, 1919; d Perth, Feb 22, 2003). New Zealand conductor, educationist and administrator, resident in Australia. He studied in Dunedin, Otago (MusB 1946) and London, where he won composition prizes at the RAM (1948). He played both the violin and bassoon in his early years, but decided to devote himself to fostering national and international cooperation in music education, working at all levels from pre-school to advanced and adult education. He taught in Dunedin from 1942 to 1953, when he settled in Perth. He was foundation professor and head of the department of music at the University of Western Australia from 1959 to 1984 and, despite the geographical isolation, built up a team of dedicated specialists. In 1967 he founded two successful periodicals: the Australian Journal of Music Education, the official organ of the Australian Society for Music Education, and ...

Article

Nancy Malitz

(b Brisbane, Dec 21, 1945). Australian director and administrator . He studied singing in Sydney and received the BA at the University of Sydney in 1967. After singing tenor roles with the Elizabethan Trust Opera Company (later the Australian Opera) from 1967 to 1974, he became senior music officer with the Australia Council, overseeing federal grants to opera companies and orchestras. In ...

Article

Elizabeth Wood

(b Boulogne, Jan 13, 1850; d Sydney, May 29, 1905). Australian musical director and composer of French birth. After lessons in Boulogne with the organist Alexandre Guilmant, he went to the Paris Conservatoire in the late 1860s. He subsequently became a violinist with the Jules Rivière orchestra at the Alhambra Theatre, London, for a year before touring the USA with the Theodore Thomas orchestra (1872–6). He left for Australia and appeared as conductor at the Melbourne Opera House in 1876, which led to his conductorship of the W.S. Lyster Royal Italian and English Opera Company. He also directed his own Caron Opera Company, giving local premières of many operas in English from 1880 to 1890. He assisted several visiting English comic opera troupes, and in July 1887 founded the Orpheus Club with leading Sydney musicians. In April 1889 he joined the J.C. Williamson Royal Comic Opera Company for its first production, the Australian première of ...

Article

Barry Millington

(b Sydney, May 1, 1952). Australian director. After study at Sydney University (1971–4) he founded Opera Factory in Sydney (1973), Zürich (1976) and London (1981–98). Developing rigorous methods of preparation and rehearsal, Opera Factory emphasized the elements of manufacture and creativity in productions assembled under specific conditions. Freeman’s highly physical productions for Opera Factory required great virtuosity of acting. Those of the classics generally involved a search for the points at which the dynamics of the work could directly engage a contemporary audience. Many plumbed new depths of emotion while creating humour that bordered on the farcical. An impressive roster of innovatory stagings in London included Cavalli’s Calisto, a conflation of Gluck’s two Iphigénie operas and the Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy, of which Così fan tutte received a striking contemporary interpretation. In association with the London Sinfonietta (1984–91), a number of 20th-century works were given, notably Nigel Osborne’s ...

Article

John Snelson

(Friedrich) [Gallas, Brian Roy]

(b Wellington, New Zealand, Feb 15, 1946). New Zealand writer on musical theatre. He studied law and classics at Canterbury University, New Zealand, subsequently joining the New Zealand Opera company as a bass singer. After moving to London he became a casting director and then a theatrical agent in musical theatre; from 1990 he devoted himself to writing and broadcasting on this subject. His pioneering two-volume study The British Musical Theatre (London, 1986), won several awards: its thorough survey of performances has ensured its place as an essential reference work. His later Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre (Oxford, 1994) is ambitious in its scope, displaying both the breadth of Gänzl’s interest and, through its selections and judgments, his characteristically personal view of the subject. His other books include Gänzl’s Book of the Musical Theatre (with Andrew Lamb; London, 1988), a companion guide in the manner of Kobbé, ...

Article

Graeme Skinner

[The Count]

(b Lae, Papua New Guinea, Sept 27, 1958). Australian composer, pianist, jazz band leader, and arts administrator. Classically trained, but having spent his early career largely in jazz, he is one of Australia’s most highly-acclaimed early twenty-first-century composers in any genre. Both as composer and performer, he has been committed to collaborative, improvisatory, and cross-cultural projects. His programming of Indigenous Australian content at the 50th-anniversary Adelaide Festival in 2010 (including a collaboration between the Ngukuur Young Wagilak songmen of southeast Arnhem Land and the London Sinfonietta) was, for the festival, a much belated but major intervention in advancing the national and international profile of Aboriginal musical arts.

He began classical piano studies in Melbourne at the age of five, and from seven to 17 was a private student of Mack Jost, a lecturer at the University Conservatorium. In his early teens he began collecting recordings of Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and Stockhausen, but he took an entirely new direction when, at the age of 16 and a secondary student at Wesley College, Melbourne, he joined the school jazz band. Exposure to recorded be-bop was especially formative, and solos by Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and Bud Powell were the foundation of his early playing style, as later was the example of the improvisatory practice of Lennie Tristano. He commenced a degree course at the Melbourne University Conservatorium (where the dean, George Loughlin, unpromisingly prohibited him from practising jazz on the Steinways), but was increasingly drawn away to the café and nightclub scene, working at Melbourne’s Last Laugh with Steve Vizard and Robyn Archer, as well as in saxophonist Dave Liebman’s ensemble at the Victorian College of the Arts....

Article

J.M. Thomson

(David Joseph)

(b Wellington, Sept 11, 1925; d Lower Hutt, Sept 6, 2004). New Zealand composer, conductor and administrator. He studied at Victoria University, Wellington (BMus 1956), and at the Royal College of Music, London (1948–50), with Gordon Jacob and William Lloyd Webber. After returning to New Zealand he played an influential role in musical life, notably as conductor of the National Youth Orchestra (1965–75), which he took on a successful tour of Europe, China and Japan. He was also musical director of Schola Musica formed from the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation Orchestral Trainees (1976–84), which toured in Australia in 1974. His other appointments included those of musical director of the Royal NZ Ballet (1966–8), musical adviser to the QEII Arts Council (1964–65), first New Zealand writer/director of APRA (1966–80), first chairman of the NZ Composers Foundation (...

Article

Thérèse Radic

(Thomas)

(b shepparton, Victoria, July 1, 1894; d Sydney, June 10, 1982). Australian conductor and musical organizer. He won a South Province scholarship in 1911 and studied at the RCM in London; during and after World War I he spent five years in the Royal Artillery. In 1920 he won a Gowland Harrison Scholarship and studied under d’Indy and Nestor Lejeune at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and later under Willy Hess in Berlin. In 1923 he returned to Australia, where in 1924 he joined the staff of the Melbourne University Conservatorium, of which he was professor from 1925 until 1956. He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 1931. In 1924 he formed the Melbourne String Quartette and drew together a number of orchestral groups to develop the University SO, which he conducted until 1932. In that year the orchestra was amalgamated with the Melbourne SO, which Heinze conducted from then until ...

Article

J.M. Thomson

(b Wellington, Feb 6, 1945; d Sydney, July 30, 1995). New Zealand harpsichordist, organist, choral and orchestral director. A brilliant student, he took the BMus at Victoria University, Wellington, in 1968. Following postgraduate study in Brussels (1972), he was awarded the Kingdom of Belgium Pro Arte Gold Medal. In 1973 he took a postgraduate diploma at the GSM, London. During these years he was choirmaster at the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Brussels, and assistant organist at St Alban’s Cathedral, England. These laid the foundations for his appointment as director of music at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Auckland (1974–85). Under his directorship the cathedral choir flourished and made several recordings. He held a senior lectureship at the University of Auckland from 1974 to 1991 and moved to the faculty of music at Newcastle University, Australia, in 1992. At the time of his death he had been appointed director of music at St James’s Church, Sydney....

Article

David J. Hough

[Thomas ]

(b Guildford, Surrey, Sept 15, 1927; d Haarlem, December 8, 2001). Australian stage designer and director of English birth . He was educated at Guildford Grammar School, the Guildford School of Art and St Martin’s School of Art, London (and expelled from all of them). He was resident designer and scenic artist for the Donald Wolfit company, London (1953–4), and senior designer for Associated Television (1955–64). The first operas he designed were Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara (1965, London, Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre), Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (1967, Ledlanet Festival, Scotland) and Manon Lescaut for Covent Garden (1968).

For Australian Opera in 1970 Lingwood designed La bohème, which has been revived many times and won an international Emmy Award in 1989. After working on the company’s La forza del destino (1970) and Nabucco (1971) he became its resident designer, ...

Article

(b Dublin, March 21, 1827; d Melbourne, Nov 27, 1880). Australian impresario . Born into an impoverished Irish gentry family, he was a soldier of fortune before turning to the stage in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1858 he became manager of a New Orleans-based touring opera company assembled by his brother Frederick. After recruiting the Americans Lucy Escott and Henry Squires, former stars of J. H. Tully’s National English Opera, the company had successful seasons in California before leaving for Melbourne, which they reached on 1 March 1861. Intending only a short tour, instead they remained in Australia until August 1868, the continent’s first permanent opera organization. During that period they gave 1459 performances of a repertory containing 42 operas. Among their landmarks were 26 performances of Les Huguenots during the 1862–3 Melbourne season, and an 11-night run of Guillaume Tell given in the same city in honour of the ...

Article

Max Loppert

(b Shanghai, Jan 8, 1946). Australian director. He was educated at Melbourne University and at Oxford, and started his career in opera when comparatively young. In 1975 he came to prominence at Covent Garden with a stripped-down, low-budget production of Peter Grimes which won enormous popular and critical success and indeed can fairly be said to have gained the opera itself a new lease of life. The production was subsequently recorded and taken across Europe and to the USA on various Royal Opera tours. Moshinsky, currently an associate producer at Covent Garden, has produced there Lohengrin, The Rake’s Progress, Macbeth, Samson et Dalila, Handel’s Samson, Otello, Die Entführung and Verdi’s Attila and Simon Boccanegra. In addition he has worked for all the leading British opera companies (he took charge of the British première of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre for ENO in 1982), at the Metropolitan, New York, and for Australian Opera; more recently he has undertaken the direction of many plays, in the theatre and on television. His operatic stagings are distinguished by their sharp intellectual focus and, at their best, by an undogmatic blend of styles that can shed fresh illumination on a score without going violently against its grain....

Article

Roger Covell

(b Sydney, November 18, 1943). Australian administrator and director. He studied production at the National Institute for Dramatic Art and then worked as a stage manager with the Elizabethan Trust Opera (now the Australian Opera) from 1963 to 1965, the Sutherland-Williamson touring company (1965) and at Sadler’s Wells (...

Article

Pollard  

Peter Downes and Charles Pitt

Family of Australian, later New Zealand, impresario. They directed a series of children’s and juvenile opera companies called the Lilliputians or Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company. The first company was formed in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1881 by James Joseph Pollard (1833–84), who had settled in Australia in 1854. From Tasmania, this company moved to New Zealand and successfully performed Gilbert and Sullivan, an English version of Planquette’s Les cloches de Corneville and other light opera, before returning for a tour of Australia. After James Pollard’s death the Lilliputians worked under the direction of Tom Pollard (1857–1922), who had changed his name from Thomas John O’Sullivan when he became a violinist with the company; he was rapidly promoted to stage director, a position for which he had an outstanding talent. The company was disbanded in 1886 because the children were growing up and losing their appeal.

In 1891...

Article

Werner Gallusser

(Mozart )

( b Sydney, April 10, 1906; d Broadbeach, Queensland, Dec 27, 1972). Australian conductor and administrator . He was among the first students at the NSW Conservatorium, where he graduated with teaching and performing diplomas for both the piano and the oboe; at the age of 21 he joined the teaching staff. In 1933 he became conductor at the ABC and remained with the organization (with two intermissions) until 1965, when he was appointed assistant director of music. In that year he became director of his former school, the NSW Conservatorium. In 1966 he received the OBE for services to music.

Post was the first Australian-born conductor to make a career in opera. He was associated with visiting Italian opera companies (1932–4) and was musical director of the National Theatre Movement opera company in Melbourne (1947–54) and of the Elizabethan Trust (now Australian) Opera (1956–7...

Article

Harold Love

(b Jan 30, 1830; d Melbourne, Nov 29, 1899). Australian impresario. A violinist of German-Jewish descent, he went to Australia in 1865 as a touring concert artist with his French wife Fannie (née Dehaes, 1835–96), a soprano. In 1866 the couple joined W. S. Lyster’s opera company, in which Fannie had great success as Sélika in L’Africaine and Martin a less shining stint as conductor. In 1876, after alternating for some years between Australia and Europe, the couple formed a touring opéra bouffe company whose chief production was Maillart’s Les dragons de Villars. When, after Lyster’s death in 1880, his successor George Musgrove withdrew from the promotion of grand opera, Simonsen seized the opportunity to recruit a large Italian company, which toured with great success in 1886–7. A second Simonsen Italian company (1888) was of lesser calibre. Depressed by encroaching deafness and blindness, he died by his own hand. Three of his daughters by Fannie became professional singers, the best known being Frances Saville (...

Article

Samuel Cottell

(Tommy )

(b Budapest, April 11, 1928; d Sydney, April 4, 2013). Australian pianist, music arranger, composer, music director, and conductor of Hungarian Jewish origin. At a young age Tycho appeared as soloist performing concertos on live radio broadcasts with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. He subsequently enrolled at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying the piano with Egon Petri and harmony with Leon Werner, but formal studies were interrupted due to internment in a forced labor camp. After the war he became the Shah of Iran’s personal pianist.

Tycho emigrated to Australia in 1951, where he began work at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation playing the piano in a series of radio broadcasts entitled A Handful of Keys, and formed his own light music ensemble, The Thomas Tycho Players. In 1956 Tycho commenced television work at ATN7 as a pianist and arranger, and by 1958 was appointed the television station’s music director, a post he held until ...