The University of Sydney’s Professor Anne Boyd AM has received the 2014 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for her outstanding contribution to music in Australia. The award was presented to Professor Boyd at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music 2015 Chancellor’s Concert on Friday 21 March by the University of Melbourne’s Professor Barry Conyngham.
Boyd was the first Australian woman to be appointed Professor of Music at the University of Sydney in 1990. She is one of this country’s most distinguished composers and music educators today.
The Bernard Heinze Award was initiated in 1982, following the death of Sir Bernard Heinze, one of the pioneers of orchestral musical life in Australia. He was also the Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne for 31 years.
Professor Barry Conyngham, Dean of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne, said Professor Boyd’s contribution to music in Australia has been significant.
“Her contribution as a composer and commitment to scholarship and music education in Australia is second to none and she is a worthy recipient of this award,” Professor Conyngham said.
During her career, Boyd has received several national and international accolades for her work. In 1996 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution as a composer and music educator. In 2003 she received an honorary degree from the University of York, England, and in 2005 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Services to Australian Music at the APRA-AMC Classical Music Awards.
Boyd studied music at the University of Sydney in the 1960s, where she was one of the first students of the late Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Sculthorpe had a profound influence on her; his music was the first that she had heard, which expressed her experience of the Australian landscape.
Before returning to the University of Sydney in 1990 as a Professor of Music, Boyd spent almost two decades overseas at the University of Hong Kong as its Foundation Head of the Department of Music (1981–90) and teaching at the University of Sussex in England (1972–77).
One of her battles to maintain funding for music courses within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney was the subject of an award-winning documentary Facing the Music (2001), which gained international attention. The Department of Music was then incorporated into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at University of Sydney in 2005.
With a strong interest in Indigenous Australian spirituality, Boyd is currently exploring a collaborative ‘two ways’ approach in a trilogy of music theatre works on significant Australian women, all of whom worked closely with Aboriginal people Daisy Bates, Olive Pink and Annie Lock. The first of these is a full length opera Daisy Bates at Ooldea, which is a Conservatorium centenary commission that was performed by opera students in 2012.
Boyd writes widely for song cycles, opera, piano, choral, orchestral and chamber music and is published by Faber Music in London and the University of York Music Press. Many of her compositions have an East Asian influence, with a particular interest in the music of Japan and Indonesia.
Her works are often spiritual or meditative by nature, such as the A cappella work As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams (1975). Her musical compositions include Goldfish Through Summer Rain (1979), The Little Mermaid (1980), Black Sun (1990), Revelations of Divine Love (1995), Meditations on a Chinese Character (1996), A Vision: Jesus Reassures His Mother (1999), and YuYa (2005). Her two solo CDs include Meditations on a Chinese Character (ABC Classics, 1997) and Crossing a Bridge of Dreams (Tall Poppies, 2000).
In the past decade Boy’s commissioned works have included Gate of Water for the ‘Kammer Ensemble’; Angry Earth, a concerto for shakuhachi (Riley Lee) and the Sydney Youth Orchestra, and Ex Deo Lux for the 2007 SSO Fellows. More recent works are Ganba for Baritone Saxophone and piano (2011) and Kabarli Meditation for solo piano (2012) for the Sydney International Piano Competition.
Past recipients of the Bernard Heinze Award include Maestro Richard Bonynge, composer Carl Vine, pianist Stephen McIntyre, singer Yvonne Kenny, composer Peter Sculthorpe, conductor John Hopkins, horn player Barry Tuckwell, violinist Richard Tognetti, conductor and composer Brett Dean, conductor Simone Young and music educator Sir Frank Callaway and musicologist Roger Covell.