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9 May 2018

John Terry (1944-2018)

John Terry Image: John Terry  

Pianist, composer and music educator John Terry has died on 8 May at the age of 74.

Terry held a Doctorate in Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong, a Master of Music degree in Music Education and Composition from Adelaide University, and graduate performing qualifications from the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music, and the Trinity College of Music.

Terry was recognised as a leading secondary and tertiary educationalist. Over his career, he was a lecturer at several Australian tertiary institutions, including the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle, and the James Cook University of North Queensland, teaching a wide array of subjects from music theory and composition to performance and music education. He was for many years a senior teacher in the running of HSC programs at the Sydney Conservatorium High School. He also spoke regularly at national and international educational conferences, and was the editor of the AMEB's highly successful Piano For Leisure series 1 and 2.

John Terry had a lifelong interest in 'arts fusion' approaches. In the mid-1960s, he presented many multimedia events in and around Sydney. Performances of his musically eclectic 'psychedelic' works - some of which were presented by the International Society for Contemporary Music - involved prerecorded sound tracks and striking visual projections. He worked collaboratively with visual artist George Finey, and the international avant-garde painter David Rankin. His electroacoustic and multimedia composition Spots and Variations 1, based on Rankin's paintings, was commissioned to mark the opening of the Faculty of Arts, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (now University of Southern Queensland).

He wrote several film scores for the Commonwealth Film Unit and Film Australia, and was pianist for the feature film The Fourth Wish. He also held a lifelong interest in the theatre and, at one stage, even toured throughout Australia with Peter Scriven as a puppeteer with the renowned Marionette Theatre of Australia's 'Tintookies'. In the late 1980s, his opera Ebenezer was presented - in puppet version - by Dale Woodward Theatres and performed for a season at the Bridge Theatre in Wollongong. The opera was also performed - in live version - at the Seymour Centre, Sydney, by the School Friends of the Australian Opera, to sell-out audiences.

Terry was renowned for his stylistically diverse improvisational skills. He performed with many jazz groups and, at one stage, was resident pianist for the Adelaide New Music Players. Performances of his own works were presented by the ANMP during the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

His later compositions saw a turn from earlier 'experimental' forms and include two operas, orchestral and instrumental music, music theatre pieces for young people, songs, and works for piano. His compositions for organ have received high acclaim and have been performed internationally.

John Terry's funeral will take place at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Delhi Road, North Ryde at 2pm on Tuesday 15 May. A concert of Terry's music will take place in the evening at 7pm at Sydney Conservatorium's Verbrugghen Hall, with Richard Gill conducting.

[Updated 9 May - funeral and concert details.]

Further links

John Terry - AMC profile

John Terry - Wirripang

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