Honorary awards

Dame Janet Ritterman DBE

The degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa) was conferred upon Dame Janet Ritterman DBE at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Alumni Recognition Ceremony held at 9.30am on 18 February 2010.

Dame Janet Ritterman

The Chancellor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO conferring the honorary degree of Doctor of Music upon Dame Janet, photo, copyright, Memento Photography.


Chancellor, I present Dame Janet Ritterman for admission to the degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa)

Dame Janet Ritterman is a world leading academic, educator and musician who has used those talents in the interest of music and music education and the arts more generally throughout the world. This has been achieved through a mix of her research and the dissemination of that research, teaching, academic and artistic leadership and the sharing of her knowledge and expertise with organizations around the world. Further, she has been active on several trusts and charities.

Her music education roots go back to the NSW Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) giving an honored link for the University to an Australian who has made an outstanding contribution in her field and to the broader world society. She completed her studies in London, subsequently gaining a Master’s degree and a doctorate of the University of London.

Dame Janet has produced national reports on orchestral provision and on opera training, has delivered addresses on music and music education at national and international conferences and published on subjects connected with performing and teaching. She has continued her contribution to Australia and Australian music education, regularly delivering lectures and acting as expert consultant for a wide range of institutions and music organizations.

Much of her professional career has been in higher education, first at Middlesex Polytechnic (now Middlesex University), then at Goldsmiths’ College (University of London) and at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, initially as Head of Music and latterly as Principal. For much of her career she has focused on the development of approaches to teaching and research in the performing arts. At Middlesex Polytechnic she helped to establish the UK’s first performing arts degree program; at Goldsmiths College, University of London, she devised and ran the first UK Masters course in music performance, at Dartington, where she was appointed Head of Music, then Dean and latterly Principal, she developed and introduced new interdisciplinary programs involving theatre, dance, music and visual performance. From 1993 to 2005 she was Director of the Royal College of Music London, one of the world leading and most prestigious music institutions, and Visiting Professor of the University of Plymouth. Now a Vice-President of the RCM, she continues to act as an adviser and consultant on the arts and higher education.

Dame Janet has served on the Board of Management of the British Arts & Humanities Research Board (AHRB), on the Board of English National Opera and on the Governing Body of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and was Chairman of Arts Research Ltd Advisory Council, and of the Publishing Company of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. While a member of the Arts & Humanities Research Board, she chaired the UK’s national Postgraduate Committee and was a member of the British Academy review committee which prepared the report, That full complement of riches, on the contributions of the arts, humanities and social sciences to society and the economy. Committed throughout her career to strengthening links between education in the creative arts and the creative industries, she has been extensively involved in devising and assessing cross-arts projects and community-based outreach work, and was a founder member of the Creative Industries HE Forum for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

In short, she has been one of the world’s most influential people in fostering music and arts education and its contribution to society.

Chancellor, I present Dame Janet Ritterman for admission to the degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa) and I invite you to confer the degree upon her.