Death of Australia’s go-to conductor, 85

Patrick Thomas, who once held the title of conductor in residence for all the ABC orchestras, has died at 85.

A founder member of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, he conducted hundreds of times across the continent, possibly more than any conductor before or since. In addition to the radio orchestras, he conducted the Australian Opera, the Ballet and the Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras.

Abroad, he guested in Moscow, Manchester, Munich and many places beyond.

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  • As a teenager I worked with him several times playing extra trumpet in the Sydney Symphony, remembering a moment he smiled towards us which meant too loud! At my first professional conducting audition with the West Australian Symphony, he was on the judging panel and remarked to me afterwards that during my run through of Stravinsky’s Jeu de cartes, that he felt like dancing which tipped it in my favor.I am so sad to hear of his passing.

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