George Dreyfus AM hits a career high note

Tayla Gentle / August 28, 2013 03:02 PM

85 year-old Melbourne composer and Who’s Who entrant George Dreyfus has been awarded the highest accolade at the annual ART Music Awards.

Honoured for his distinguished services to Australian music, the respected musician accepted the prestigious award in Sydney earlier this week in front of a supportive crowd of family, friends and colleagues.

George Dreyfus hits a career high note

Credit: The Australian

A musician since childhood, George and his family fled their hometown of Wuppertal, Germany, at the outbreak of World War II and found solace in St.Kilda, where young George was encouraged to learn the piano.

From the piano he progressed to the clarinet and then onto the bassoon, before landing his big break in the JC Williamson Italian Opera season at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Travelling around Australia with “the Italians”, Dreyfus’ burgeoning talent was soon recognized by the higher powers that be and he was asked to play for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. A position he held from 1953 to the mid 1960s.

After receiving a grant to study at Vienna’s Imperial Academy of Music, Dreyfus began writing chamber music for his colleagues to perform.

The first of these written works, Trio Ope 1, went on to win the APRA Music Award for Most Performed Serious Work over 30 years later in 1986.

Fellow Who’s Who personality and jazz musician, James Morrison, led his sons William and Henry in a lively musical tribute to Dreyfus’ catalogue. The evening also saw  Jonathon Dreyfus take to the stage and play his father’s Larino, Safe Haven on piano.

The award follows a number of similar plaudits given to the composer, which include the Australia Council's Don Banks Fellowship in 1991 and the Australian National University's very first Creative Arts Fellowship.

Dreyfus was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to music in 1992 and his portrait by Brian Dunlop won the 1995 Archibald Prize.

Dreyfus plans to continue making music, living by his work ethic -“life is too serious to be taken seriously”.

In other good news, viola player, composer and Who’s Who entrant Brett Dean was awarded Orchestral Work of the Year for Fire Music, a piece inspired by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Sources: Herald Sun, jwire

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