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Richard John Mills AM,[1] DMus BA(Hons) Qld,[2] (born 14 November 1949) is an Australian conductor and composer. He is currently the Artistic Director of Victorian Opera, and formerly Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera and Artistic Consultant with Orchestra Victoria. He was commissioned by the Victorian State Opera to write his opera Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1996) and by Opera Australia to write the opera Batavia (2001).



Mills was born and grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland, and went to Nudgee College in Brisbane. He studied in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and worked as a percussionist in England and for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Mills started conducting and composing in the 1980s.[3]

In 1988, to celebrate the Australian Bicentenary, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) commissioned Mills to re-orchestrate Charles Williams's Majestic Fanfare, the signature tune of ABC news and television broadcasts, in a more modern, Australian idiom.

He was engaged to conduct Opera Australia's first complete production of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in the State Theatre, Melbourne, in 2013, the bicentenary of the composer's birth.[3] On 5 June 2013, he withdrew from the Opera Australia Ring cycle.


He won the Albert H. Maggs Composition Award in 1982.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1991.[1]

He received the Green Room Award in 2001 and 2002, and the Helpmann Award in 2002 for his opera Batavia, in 2006 for his conducting of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and in 2007 for Best Musical Direction of his opera The Love of the Nightingale. He also received the Ian Potter Foundation Award for Established Composers.

Mills was Musica Viva Australia's featured composer for 2008.


Works for the stageEdit

Vocal and choral worksEdit



  • Bamaga Diptych (1989)
  • Tenebrae (1992)
  • Pages from a secret journal
  • Symphony of Nocturnes (2008)

Chamber worksEdit

  • Sonata for Brass Quintet (1985)
  • String Quartet No. 1 (1990)
  • Four Miniatures (1992) for violin, clarinet and piano
  • Here where death and life are met (no year) for high voice and piano, text by Judith Wright
  • Requiem Diptych for Brass Quintet (1997)
  • Songs without Words (1998) from the poems of Ern Malley for oboe and string quartet
  • Jamaican Entertainment (2002) arrangements of music by Arthur Benjamin for flute, clarinet, soprano and piano, see: Two Jamaican Pieces).
  • A Little Diary (2002) for clarinet and string quartet
  • Woman to Man (2004) song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano, text by Judith Wright
  • String Quartet No. 2 (2007)
  • Impromptu, after Schubert (2014)
  • Lachrymae, Chorales… Postlude (2014) for string octet

Instrumental worksEdit

Educational worksEdit

  • Little Suite for Orchestra (1983) for student orchestra
  • Miniatures and Refrains (1986) for student string quartet
  • Sonatina for String Quartet (1986) for student string quartet

Awards and nominationsEdit

APRA AwardsEdit


  1. ^ a b "Australian Honours". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  2. ^ "Senate Meeting Summary". University of Queensland. 10 October 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b "In for the long haul" by Matthew Westwood, The Australian (26 March 2011)
  4. ^ Musica Viva Concerts 2008 Program for Cheryl Barker, Peter Coleman-Wright and Piers Lane
  5. ^ "Winners – Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 April 2010.

External linksEdit