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WEBB, Peter Roderick, OAM

WEBB, Peter Roderick, OAM

Musician and Conductor, Peter Webb was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2007 for ‘services to the arts as a musician, conductor, composer and teacher’.

He was involved in music from his very earliest days at the Geelong College Preparatory School where he commenced in 1952. He played in school groups, community orchestras, attended music and played under Music Director, Mr Bill Martin. At the Senior School he was a Shannon House Prefect and a member of the Music Committee from 1963 to 1965 winning both the Music Prize and the E R Scott Prize for best instrumentalist in 1965. It was in 1961, following an oboe recital by David Woolley AM (OGC 1938), professional musician and Old Collegian, that Peter took up the oboe as his main instrument, a decision which later led to his becoming the Principal Cor Anglais player with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) for twenty years. After leaving School in 1965 he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music and Philosophy. After some years teaching music at secondary school level, Peter turned to orchestral playing as a profession. This led to a number of contract positions and in 1975 a permanent appointment to the ASO.

While Peter's career as a performing musician flourished, he also established himself as a composer of international renown, with over forty compositions to his name. Works of his are performed regularly by professional, community, and student musicians and singers in Australia and around the world. For many years Peter also conducted a community orchestra, the 75-player Unley Symphony Orchestra. He particularly enjoys working with this group, as they cover every decade in age - from teenagers to 70-year-olds - a true reflection of the community. Also, after retiring from the ASO, Peter was offered the conductorship of a community choir, Choir Cecilia, a role he has, in 2007, occupied for more than ten years.

While now unable to play music himself due to irreparable noise-induced hearing loss, Peter has set out to become an ambassador for music in the community. He sees his Order of Australia Medal as truly belonging to the musicians who have passed through his care over many years - the players, vocalists, students, and audiences to whom he has offered his time, talents, and experience. Additionally, as a Council member of the Young Adelaide Voices, teacher, regular adjudicator at eisteddfods, lecturer for various interest groups, and performer on the didjeridoo, Peter's commitment to music extends well beyond his own community to the benefit of many.

Peter's father, Don Webb, was a staff member at Geelong College.

Sources: Ad Astra No 113 December 2007 p32.
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