World News

Impromptu band plays outside conductor Richard Gill's home as he dies

The renowned Australian conductor, musician and teacher was 76 and had been ill with bowel and colorectal cancer for a year.

As the seriousness of his condition became clear, colleague and friend Paul Goodchild, associate principal trumpet in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, decided to gather musicians to play Mr Gill’s favourite piece of music – The Dam Busters March – to say goodbye.

The call went out on Facebook and Mr Goodchild said he hoped that there would be 15 or 20 people turn up to play on Mr Gill’s front lawn on Saturday.

But instead there were more than 70, including Mr Gill’s colleagues, former students, younger musicians and even the police band, who were reportedly on their way to a concert when they took a detour to pay tribute.

Mr Goodchild told the Sydney Morning Herald: “This was the perfect way of saying thank you, goodbye and a great tribute to somebody who has made so much of a difference, to not only the lives of musicians, but to everybody who really listens to music.”

As the group played, Mr Gill’s family opened the windows and doors of his Sydney home so he could hear.

He died just hours later, early on Sunday morning.

Mr Gill was involved in many opera companies and orchestras in Australia and New Zealand, including the Victorian Opera, the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Sydney chamber Choir.

One of the issues he spoke most passionately about was having quality music education accessible for all children in schools and he founded the National Music teacher Mentoring Program.

In 1994 he was honoured for his services to music with an Order of Australia Medal and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Australia.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra said “his passion for education and love of classical music was infectious”.

Victorian Opera said Mr Gill had “left an indelible legacy across the country” and the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra said he would be remembered for his “contagious energy and flamboyant rhetoric”.

Mr Gill is survived by his wife Maureen; two children and three grandchildren.

Source: Read Full Article