Mr John Curro AM MBE



Mr Chancellor, 

The high standard of instrumental musicianship among young people in Australia is in large measure due to the work of John Curro. He is perhaps best known because of his long association with the Queensland Youth Orchestra, which he founded in l 966and which he has conducted ever since. The orchestra has won an enviable reputation in its many interstate tours and its six international tours under his direction. From one band it has grown into many, and the standard for entry even into the most junior is now highly competitive. 

It would be wrong, however, to think of Jchn Curro as solely a conductor of youth orchestras. His original degree was in Architecture, but even in that degree his musical interests were evident, for he won the Thesis Prize with a dissertation entitled 'Research into a New Conservatorium of Music for Queensland'. That in itself might have provided a lifetime of research, but instead Mr Curro set off for Europe to study the violin with Oscar Rosen in London, Professor Schweyda in Prague, and Professor Principe in Rome. Returning to Brisbane he played with many fine ensembles, either leading or being principal viola in the Musica da Camera String Trio, the Mayne String Quartet, the Lazaroff String Quartet, and the University of Queensland Sinfonietta. He founded and conducted the Concert Society Orchestra and was the Foundation Director of Music for the North Queensland Opera Festival. 

He studied conducting with Ezra Rachlin and is in constant demand within Australia and overseas to conduct symphony orchestras.

As a teacher of music, he tutored in violin, viola, and chamber music at this University from 1968 to 1975, but more recently has been a member of the staff of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, first in the String Department and more recently in Conducting.

His contribution to the cultural community has included service on the Board of the Queensland Theatre Orchestra, the Australia Council, the ABC Music Advisory Committee, and the Board of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. The award of Membership of the Order of the British Empire in 1981 represents some recognition of this contribution. 

Mr Chancellor, for his distinguished service to music and to music educ;ation, I present to you John Ronald Curro, Member of the Order of the British Empire, Bachelor of Architecture of this University, for conferral of the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, to which he has been admitted by the Senate of the University. 



Doctor of Music honoris causa