How does one begin to describe Richard Gill? The man who has for decades been at the forefront of musical education in Australia; providing young musicians with the opportunities they need to develop their musical skills and sharing his expertise as a versatile conductor.

Colour picture of Richard Gill conducting.

Richard started his career as a music teacher at Marsden High School in Sydney’s West Ryde. In 1969, with little prior experience, he took on the role of conductor at the Strathfield Symphony Orchestra in Sydney. Just two years later, Richard began studies in conducting at the Orff Institute of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. This was the catalyst for the rest of Richard’s career, which would see him on the conductor’s podium in front of countless prestigious ensembles, and eventually lead to him becoming one of the most prominent figures in Australia’s musical landscape, particularly amongst the country’s young musicians.

Here at the Australian Youth Orchestra, we have been lucky enough to benefit from Richard’s contribution on several occasions over the years. In more recent times, he has taken up the baton as Music Director at the 2014 AYO National Music Camp, and over the past three years Richard has been at the helm of the National Music Teacher Mentoring Program. This initiative is hosted by the Australian Youth Orchestra and is aimed at improving the quality of music education in classrooms around Australia. It is Richard’s knowledge and passion that has been the driving force behind its success. The program pairs experienced music educators with generalist classroom teachers in order to build their skills and confidence in teaching music. It has received continuing support from the Australian Government and the private sector and has shown a demonstrable improvement in music education throughout the schools that have taken part thus far.

Richard Gill’s dedication has changed the landscape of music education in this country, and we are very fortunate to have worked alongside him on several occasions throughout his career. Every year at AYO National Music Camp the chamber orchestra is named after a notable contributor to our community, and in January 2018 we all look forward to hearing performances by the Gill Chamber Orchestra, led by violinist Sophie Rowell.

It’s a small gesture of thanks for a man that has given so much, and we hope you will join us in celebrating the achievements of Richard Gill by coming along to hear the Gill Chamber Orchestra perform from 13–20 January at Elder Hall, Adelaide.