15 February 2012

Australia Day honours for members of the Con community included an AC for distinguished conductor, Richard Bonynge, AO, CBE and a special award from the National Council of Women NSW for second-year B. Mus (Education) student, Naomi Leviton.

Richard Bonynge
Richard Bonynge

Richard Bonynge, 81, the husband and lifelong musical collaborator of the late Dame Joan Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE, was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of his "eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed conductor and musical scholar, to classical singing and the promotion of opera, and through the collection and preservation of operatic manuscripts."

Bonynge studied piano at the Conservatorium in the early 1950s before taking up a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London. He then became a tutor to young singers, including Sutherland, whom he had accompanied in Sydney. After their marriage, he conducted almost all of Dame Joan's operatic performances until her retirement in 1990.

Naomi Leviton grew up on Sydney's Northern beaches and started playing violin at the age of four, adding flute in primary school and later viola. The award by NCW NSW is sponsored by the Women's Club, whose prime object is "to promote culture by encouraging and facilitating the study, practice and appreciation of music, art, science and literature." It recognises not only Naomi's musical and academic excellence but the ongoing contribution she makes to her community as a teacher, performer and conductor.

Naomi Leviton receiving her award from the National Council of Women NSW
Naomi Leviton receiving her award from the National Council of Women NSW

Leviton currently tutors primary age students in flute and violin and conducts two school ensembles and, as a special service to seniors, the Mosman Community Choir. A founder member of the Northern Beaches Youth Orchestra in 2008, she also performs in several other orchestras and ensembles, including the SBS Youth Orchestra, the SCM Chamber Choir, Warringah Concert Brass and the Manly Musical Society.

She has also been nominated for a 2012 Rotary Youth Leadership Award.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 2c31323958340b0b5a04100415261540375d203116462051327c030d