Perfect harmony: Nurturing new music

Peter Sculthorpe was renowned for creating music that captures the energy and spirit of Australia and its landscape. He brought this vision to life through his extensive body of more than 350 works, but he also gave to the world of music by encouraging others.

For 40 years Peter taught at the University of Sydney, encouraging and mentoring students who went on to become some of Australia’s best known musical identities, including composers Ross Edwards, Barry Conyngham and Anne Boyd.

Peter’s gift of music also lives on through his bequest to establish the Sculthorpe Chair of Australian Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The first of its kind in the country, the chair will promote and advance music in Australia through various channels. It will support work by Australian composers and the performance of Australian works both here and throughout the world.

The chair will also support musicians, music ensembles, music theatre, opera and the recording of Australian music.

The bequest fulfils Peter’s wish to enhance the arts within Australia. “His desire to capture and provide insight into our nation’s identity is a key element expressed in his music and we hope that this vision will continue to be realised through the bequest,” says Anne Sculthorpe, Peter’s niece.

The appointed academic will help nurture the next generation of researchers and composers, working closely with postgraduate students and emerging scholars.

Professor Anna Reid, Dean and Principal of the Conservatorium of Music, is excited by the possibilities. “Thanks to Peter’s foresight, we will be able to have a senior academic position dedicated to researching Australian music and the role of composers and musicians in the Australian music scene,” she says.