Tributes are flowing for beloved Australian conductor and music educator Richard Gill, who has died at the age of 76.
Gill died from bowel and peritoneal cancer at his home in the Sydney suburb of Stanmore on Sunday, after dozens of his friends and supporters gathered outside his house to perform his favourite song, ‘The Dam Busters March’.
Following news of Gill’s death, tributes spread quickly on social media.
Comedian Adam Hills, who hosted Gill as a guest on the ABC‘s ‘Spicks And Specks’ series, described Gill as “a wonderful, warm human being who made everyone around him love music and life”.
This is my favourite memory of Richard Gill. A wonderful, warm human being who made everyone around him love music and life. I hope he’s currently keeping the angels in tune. Farewell sir. https://t.co/Es3ajtzK9R
— Adam Hills (@adamhillscomedy) October 28, 2018
In a tribute posted to Facebook, the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra said Gill “will be remembered for his contagious energy and flamboyant rhetoric”.
“His passing is a profound loss for the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra and Australia alike,” the orchestra wrote.
“Like the fading of a beautiful sustained note, or that magical silence following a fabulous performance, a loss as significant as Richard Gill cannot be adequately explained or understood. This loss – like music – evokes, suggests and implies. But what we can do is keep making a multitude of sounds. And in every one of them, we know and celebrate that Richard is still there with us. Thank you, Richard.”
Other tributes to Gill appeared on Twitter:
Last year when I was in hospital for colo-rectal surgery, Richard Gill was in a nearby bed. He never stopped working, his mobile phone red hot! His delightful wife found time to chat to my partner and me. I kind of assumed this musical force of nature was indestructible. Vale.
— Anton Enus (@AntonEnus) October 28, 2018
This morning, we learned of the passing of Richard Gill AO, Australia’s first citizen of music and the long-serving, former Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Education Program. We send our love and condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/ht3s7wXtE0
— Sydney Symphony Orchestra (@sydsymph) October 28, 2018
Few – maybe no one – could be said to have introduced, touched and inspired as many people with music, and his passion for it, as Richard Gill. Musicians, non-musicians, people who didn’t even know much they loved, and how much they could love, music. What a legacy.
— Bernard Zuel (@BernardZuel) October 27, 2018
So sorry to hear of Richard Gill's death. I used to run into him on the train sometimes and was always amazed by his energy, kindness and the love for music that just pulsed off the man.
— Annabel Crabb (@annabelcrabb) October 28, 2018
Vale Richard Gill, the inaugural music director of Victorian Opera. We have lost a widely respected, highly charismatic conductor and music educator, but his joy in music is forever. https://t.co/ojkRbIj9ym
— Creative Victoria (@Creative_Vic) October 28, 2018
We were all devastated to wake up to the news this morning of the passing of Richard Gill AO. Richard inspired us all to listen, to learn, and most of all to have music part of our lives.
Thank you Richard. We will all miss you so much. pic.twitter.com/O2gE7Yj4Qz
— City Recital Hall (@CityRecitalHall) October 28, 2018
During his career, Gill was Director Of Chorus at Opera Australia and the Musical Director of the Sydney Chamber Choir. He also conducted the Sydney Youth Orchestra, taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, worked as the dean of the West Australian Conservatorium of Music and was the founding conductor of the Strathfield Symphony Orchestra.
Gill is survived by his wife, Maureen; children Claire and Anthony; and grandchildren Camille, Elise and Antoinette.