Peter Weiss

June 8, 2020 by Fraser Beath McEwing
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Prominent businessman and benefactor to the arts, Peter Weiss, has died in Sydney aged 85.

Peter Weiss Photo Fiora Sacco [SCO]

His success as a fashion entrepreneur, which peaked in the 1980s, gave him the means to support the arts and medical science with a series of ongoing and sizeable grants. 

He became a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia in 1995 for service to the arts and he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2013, for distinguished service to the arts, particularly orchestral music. In 2012 an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) was conferred upon him by the University of Sydney.

Peter’s greatest love was for music. He studied cello at the Sydney Conservatorium and could have been a professional musician. Instead, he followed a business career and expressed his passion for classical music through supporting musicians and orchestras, especially in Sydney. In 2007 he purchased a 1729 Giuseppe Guarneri cello and gifted it to the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

When Peter was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2012 and with lung cancer in 2018, he realised there was a shortage of researchers into COPD and decided to channel his energies into supporting them. Reflecting on the decision and his philanthropy in general he said, “There’s not a lot of joy around, these things give me joy.” He made a $4 million gift to enable University of Sydney researchers based at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) to investigate new ways of preventing and treating the disease.

Peter Weiss

Born 1935, Vienna

Died June 8, 2020, Sydney

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