Honorary awards

Lauris Margaret Elms

The honorary degree of Doctor of Music was conferred upon the opera singer Lauris Margaret Elms by the Chancellor Sir Hermann Black at a conferring of degrees ceremony held in the Great Hall on 7 May 1988.

Lauris Margaret Elms and the Chancellor Sir Hermann Black.

Lauris Margaret Elms (left) and the Chancellor, photo, 'The University of Sydney News', 7 June 1988, University Archives.


Ms Elms' career in music began not as a singer, but as a violinist when she was Leader in the first Youth Orchestra in Melbourne. In the presentation address at the ceremony on 7 May, she was remembered for her enduring reputation as Mrs Sharpshott in the ABC's 'Village Glee Club'.

In the mid 1950s she received a scholarship to study in Paris, from where she went to Covent Garden. She made her debut in Verdi's 'Masked Ball' and from 1957 to 1959 was Principal Contralto.

At the end of the 1950s she returned to Australia where she has since based her career. She has encouraged the Young Opera Movement and been a highly significant figure in the maturation of Australian arts.

As wife of Mr Graeme de Graaf, until recently Director of International House since its founding, Lauris Elms has given great support to International House. Every year for the past 20 years she has given a recital to raise funds.

From 'The University of Sydney News', 7 June 1988