Top award for George

August 27, 2013 Agencies
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APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre have awarded the Distinguished Services to Australian Music honour at this week’s 2013 ART Music Awards to composer George Dreyfus.

Jonathan, George and Mark Dreyfus

Jonathan, George and Mark Dreyfus at the awards

Dreyfus’s repertoire includes operas, symphonies, chamber works and scores for over 60 film and television productions. He received this honour before his peers last night at the National Institute of Dramatic Art’s (NIDA) Parade Theatre in Sydney.

Hosted by APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association; Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) and the Australian Music Centre, the ART Music Awards celebrate Australia’s outstanding contemporary classical, jazz and experimental music communities and will take place before a gathering of composers, performers, educators, critics and music lovers.

Host for the evening was famed jazz musician James Morrison.

George reads his acceptance speech

George reads his acceptance speech

Born in Wuppertal, Germany in 1928, 85-year-old  George Dreyfus fled his homeland with his Jewish family at the outbreak of World War II. When settled in Melbourne, young George resumed his piano lessons and sang in the synagogue choir. He went on to play bassoon for musicals, operas and ballet performances at His Majesty’s Theatre, until he joined the ABC’s Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 1953. After receiving a grant to study at Vienna’s Imperial Academy of Music, he started to write chamber works for performances by his colleagues. In fact, the very first piece he finished, Trio Op. 1 for flute, clarinet and bassoon, won the APRA Music Award for the Most Performed Serious Work 30 years later in 1986.

In the mid-1960s, Dreyfus left the orchestra to work independently. He composed, conducted, organised countless performances and was rewarded with grants, fellowships, residencies and commissions. He proved talented at writing music for Australia’s emerging film and television industry – most famously composing the theme music for the television series Rush (1974). His film scores include A Steam Train Passes, Dimboola, and The Fringe Dwellers, among many others.

Recent works include his Symphony No. 3, premiered in 2012 and a Saxophone Quartet (2007). In 1991, George Dreyfus was awarded the Australia Council’s Don Banks Fellowship. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to music.

With live performances curated by the brilliant Genevieve Lacey, the 2013 ART Music Awards featured a special tribute to George Dreyfus AM, performed by host and multi-instrumentalist James Morrison and Morrison’s sons William and Harry (playing upright bass and guitar respectively). The tribute also featured George’s son Jonathan Dreyfus on piano who joined him in performing his iconic piece Larino, Safe Haven.

George Dreyfus is the father of the current Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus who took time off the Federal Election campaign trail to be with his father on a very important night.


One Response to “Top award for George”
  1. Belinda says:

    At the APRA/2013 ART/ music awards, with George Dreyfus a wonderful composer and your son Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, my son the young polly liberal member, wonderful that I enjoyed our chat George. Thank you APRA I love and enjoy writing music too and last night was an honor to be invited for the awards, cheers,

    Regards Belinda Fielding, Singer/songwriter/composer

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