Ronald Farren-Price wins prestigious Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award

Professor Gary McPherson presents the 2017 Heinze Award to Associate Professor Ronald Farren-Price at Hamer Hall. Image supplied.
Professor Gary McPherson presents the 2017 Heinze Award to Associate Professor Ronald Farren-Price at Hamer Hall. Image supplied.

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Honorary Principal Fellow Ronald Farren-Price has been awarded the 2017 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award.

The prestigious award, presented annually by the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and a committee that includes membership from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, was announced during a Saturday matinee performance of Beethoven’s Eroica by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall.

Associate Professor Farren-Price, a former University of Melbourne Faculty of Music Dean (1986–1990) and Head of Keyboard, is an enduring figure in the musical landscape of Melbourne.

For 50 years, he has maintained a strong connection with Australian Music Examinations Board, both as a Federal Examiner and as the developer of the AMEB Overseas Program, and in 2005 was awarded an honorary Fellowship in Music Australia (FMusA).

In 2002, the University of Melbourne awarded him the Dublin Prize and conferred on Farren-Price an honorary Doctor of Music (DMus) degree.

His performance career, both as a recitalist and concert soloist, has taken him to the major concert halls of Europe and the United States, including the Carnegie Recital Hall in New York, the Brahmsaal in Vienna, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow.

He has appeared on the international stage as soloist with conductors such as Sir Eugene GoossensSir Charles GrovesHiroyuki Iwaki, and Antal DorĂ¡ti.

Associate Professor Farren-Price studied piano at the University of Melbourne before continuing his studies first in Germany and then in London with Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau.

He was the first Australian pianist to be invited to play in the former USSR. He has also been active in touring to China, where he has performed, given masterclasses, and where he holds an Honorary Professorship at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music.

Associate Professor Farren-Price’s remarkable service to music was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1991, when he was awarded the Order of Australia. In the company of the greatest pianists internationally, he is a Steinway artist.

University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Director Gary McPherson said he was delighted to present the award to Associate Professor Farren-Price.

“Ronald has been described as a sensitive artist and a virtuoso, which is immediately self-evident on hearing him play, and also as a highly-regarded and tireless mentor for younger pianists,” Professor McPherson said.

“To have either of those qualities would be rare – the fact Ronald has them both is quite remarkable. It brings me great pleasure to recognise Ronald with this year’s Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award.”

Sir Bernard Heinze was one of the major pioneers of orchestral musical life in Australia. He was also the Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne for 31 years.

Since 1988, and in honour of his memory, the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award is made annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to music in Australia.

Recipients of the Sir 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.