Give Us Feedback!

Richard Gill, Conductor

Richard Gill, Conductor


The Canberra Symphony Orchestra echoes the deep sadness felt by Australia’s music community at the loss of Richard Gill AO, one of the nation’s most admired conductors and music educators.

Richard was the inaugural Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and held the position from 2001 until 2005. He made his first appearance at a fundraising concert in September of 2001 at which he and the orchestra’s musicians donated their services. He played a significant role in the development and growth of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, bringing strong artistic leadership and vibrant passion to the orchestra.

“The Canberra Symphony Orchestra family deeply mourns the passing of one of Australia’s greatest musicians, Richard Gill AO. Richard was beloved by musicians and public alike. His irrepressible energy, passion for music education, and undying belief in the power of music as a force for enrichment in society will be sorely missed but never forgotten. The flame of his inimitable enthusiasm and love of music burns on in all of us who were privileged enough to work with him and to share in his profound knowledge and unassailable artistic integrity.” – Nicholas Milton AM, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director

“At this unbearably sad time, the loving thoughts and prayers of the CSO family – musicians, management, board, and his eternally loving audience, are with Richard’s family.” – Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Ret’d) Chair, Canberra Symphony Orchestra

Photo by Nick Gilbert

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 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 Artistic Director of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra and is the Founder and Director of the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program. Most recently, Richard Gill was appointed the inaugural King & Wood Mallesons Conservatorium Chair in Music Education, at Sydney Conservatorium High School.

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; and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for Festival of Voices, Hobart. In 2012 Richard’s memoirs “Give Me Excess of It”, were published by Pan Macmillan.

Richard has conducted a vast range of repertoire for Victorian Opera, including 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 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, and The Pearl Fishers

In the concert hall Richard has conducted all the major Australian orchestras, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia, the Australian, Sydney, and Western Australian Youth Orchestras, and for Sydney Symphony he regularly conducted their Meet the Music concerts, Discovery concerts with the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, and Sinfonietta concerts.

Music theatre repertoire includes Brundibar (Windmill Performing Arts), Jonathan Mills’ The Ghost Wife, Eternity Man for Sydney Festival, The World’s Biggest Singing Lesson at the Perth International Arts Festival and Sing Your Own Opera at  Melbourne Festival.

He has held several important posts including Dean of the West Australian Conservatorium of Music (1985-1990) and Director of Chorus at The Australian Opera (1990-1996) and among his many accolades are an AO, the Bernard Heinze Award, Honorary Doctorates from the Edith Cowan University of Western Australia, and the 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.

< Back to Blog