Hugh Jackman, Ita Buttrose, Meryl Tankard and Li Cunxin are among the many arts figures recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours, as well as the Australian World Orchestra’s CEO and co-founder Gabrielle Thompson.
Actor Hugh Jackman was appointed a Companion of the Order (AC) for “eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed actor and performer, and to the global community, particularly as an advocate for poverty eradication” as was the ABC’s new chair Ita Buttrose, “for eminent service to the community through leadership in the media, the arts, and the health sector, and as a role model.”
Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for “distinguished service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as a dancer and artistic director”. Also appointed as an AO were choreographer Meryl Tankard, for “distinguished service to the performing arts as a dancer, actor, producer, innovative choreographer and theatre director,” and actor Sigrid Thornton for “distinguished service to the performing arts as a film, television and stage actor, and to professional arts organisations.”
The Australian World Orchestra’s CEO Gabrielle Thompson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to the performing arts, particularly to music.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this way,” she said. “I remember being very proud when the Australian World Orchestra was on our first tour of India with Maestro Zubin Mehta, and he introduced me to his Indian Corporate sponsors as the ‘mother of the whole orchestra’. That may not be Corporate speak to which we are used, but to me it warmed and gladdened my heart as I felt it encompassed every aspect of my management role with the organisation, the musicians, and working with our long-time supporters and sponsors. To bring to the public, both In Australia and internationally, performances that are of such a high level of excellence makes the challenges and hard work absolutely worthwhile.”
Actor Eric Bana was also among those named a Member of the Order (AM), as was arts benefactor Kathleen Freedman, singer Guy Sebastian, baroque recorder player Sally Melhuish and Melbourne arts support David Li, who is serving as Deputy Chairman of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and member of the board for 3MBS.
Graeme Wall and Margot Cory-Wall, who founded Opera Scholars Australia, a not-for- profit program which offers young singers professional development and concert opportunities with leading opera and stage music performers, were awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), as was The Australian Ballet Associate Artist and Principal Coach Fiona Tonkin “for service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet”, composer David Reeves, for “service to the performing arts, particularly through music composition”, and entertainer and television host David Campbell.