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PYO Inaugural Patron

Richard Bonynge AC, CBE becomes patron of Penrith Youth Orchestra

Penrith Conservatorium is pleased to announce that famed Australian conductor, pianist and widower of soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge, has agreed to become the inaugural patron of the Penrith Youth Orchestra.

Penrith Youth Orchestra (PYO) is a professional orchestral training program for young musicians in the heart of Western Sydney designed to help them build their ensemble skills in a dynamic and supportive environment. Led by tutors from Penrith Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Penrith Conservatorium of Music at Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and the world-renowned Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), PYO rehearses and performs four times per year under the guidance of PSO’s Artistic Director, Dr Paul Terracini. On occasion, the orchestra also performs in public concerts alongside Penrith Symphony Orchestra.

This patronage comes after many years of significant support from Bonynge in other areas of the Conservatorium. For many years, he has provided the Richard Bonynge Scholarship, the premiere scholarship at the Conservatorium for piano students, which has supported many up-and-coming pianists in Western Sydney to continue their studies, with many expanding out to perform in other areas of music, such as in the PYO. In 2021, he also graced the Conservatorium with a namesake for its new chamber ensemble, the Richard Bonynge Ensemble (RBE), which has quickly become the premier group of classical chamber music in Western Sydney. In December of that year, they performed at the unveiling of a new portrait by Australian painter Mathew Lyn, where the Maestro was present. They have since performed at many highly successful concerts and events.

Bonynge conducted nearly all of Sutherland’s operatic performances from 1962 until her retirement in 1990 and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to music in 1977. In 1983, he was made Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 1989 a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2009, he was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award and on 26 January 2012, he was promoted within the Order of Australia to Companion.

Photo: Eddy Summers
21 Dec 2022