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Sir Eugene Goossens

1893 – 1962

Sir (Aynsley) Eugene Goossens (1893-1962) was an English conductor, composer and violinist. He studied in London, where he was assistant conductor to Sir Thomas Beecham in opera season. After conducting in the USA for over twenty years he came to Sydney in 1945 to conduct a series of concerts for the ABC. Two years later he took on the dual roles of Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Director of the Conservatorium of Music. At that time the city's enthusiasm for music was only accommodated in the Town Hall, where acoustics were poor and seating was limited. Goossens lobbied Joe Cahill to convene a group to press for a Sydney Opera House. Cabinet sanctioned the Opera House in May 1955 - so long as no public funds were committed to it. By that time Goossens, as Director, was turning the Sydney Conservatorium into a world-class institution and making a profound contribution to local opera, dramatically raising performance standards and the quality of training for musicians; he also received tremendous acclaim as a composer.

Updated 2018