Honorary awards

Roger Robert Woodward

The degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa) was conferred upon renowned Australian pianist Roger Robert Woodward AC OBE at a ceremony held at 9.30am on 1 March 1996.

Roger Woodward

Roger Woodward, photo, Tracey Schramm, 'The University of Sydney News', 28 March 1996.


Presented by the Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor D J Anderson


I have the honour to present Mr Roger Woodward for admission to the degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa).

At the age of 22, Roger Woodward, a Sydney Conservatorium of Music diplomate, won the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition with a performance of Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto. He then studied composition as well as piano at the Warsaw Academy of Music for the next four years, and in his third year there he won first prize in the 23rd International Chopin Festival.

Since 1969 he has won acclaim as a soloist and has performed with practically all the great orchestras and conductors. He is not content just to perform. He has written an important analysis of Beethoven's Sonatas, and is preparing an analytical study of all Chopin's works, and another on twentieth century music.

Apart from performing his own compositions - including Sound by Sound, which was commissioned for the celebrations in Paris of the Bicentennial of the French Revolution - he has encouraged contemporary composers and given world premieres of many of their compositions, including some written by our own Professors of Music, Boyd and Sculthorpe, and Conyngham, a former student now Vice-Chancellor of Southern Cross University.

But this is not all he has contributed to musical life in our time. On his return from Poland he worked with Sir Bernard Heinze and Nancy Salas on a plan for a Piano Competition in Sydney. Some years later, the now famous Sydney international Piano Competition of Australia was established.

In the seventies he founded and was the first artistic and administrative director of the Contemporary Music Festival at the Round House in London, and Australian Music Rostrum. In 1990 he founded the Sydney Spring International Festival, in 1992 he co-founded and directed a new International Music Festival in Austria, and in 1994 the Saarema Summer Music Days in Estonia. Yet he still found time to help the solidarity movement in Poland.

A Fellow of the Chopin Institute Warsaw, in 1993 he was awarded the Polish Order of Merit, Commander Cross, for services to human rights and to Poland. In the previous year he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Chancellor, I have great pleasure in presenting Roger Woodward, for admission to the degree of Doctor of Music (honoris causa).