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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

James Morrison with flugelhorn, 1994

Kerrie Lester

oil and hand-stitching on canvas (frame: 205 cm x 245.5 cm)

James Morrison AM (b. 1962), jazz musician, composer and virtuoso performer, started to play the cornet at the age of seven and was sixteen when he made his international debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He went on to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and there met Don Burrows, who became his mentor. In the early 1980s, having joined the Conservatorium’s teaching staff, he and his brother John formed the Morrison Brothers Big Band, which continues to tour. Morrison’s range includes all wind instruments, as well as piano and vocals, and his career has included performances alongside a diverse range of international acts, among them Ray Charles, BB King, Wynton Marsalis, the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic, INXS, Dave Brubeck and Whitney Houston. More recently, he has become involved in instrument design, had a stint as a host of Top Gear Australia, and in 2012 he was the Artistic Director of the Queensland Festival. Like Burrows, Morrison has made a significant contribution to music education, and in 2014 established the James Morrison Academy of Music of the University of South Australia, where he is an adjunct professor. Kerrie Lester entered this portrait of James Morrison in the 1996 Archibald Prize.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
Courtesy of the Corrigan family and Stuart Purves
© Estate of Kerrie Lester

Accession number: 1999.2

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Kerrie Lester (age 41 in 1994)

James Morrison (age 32 in 1994)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell
Paul Kelly, 2004 Jon Campbell

Face the Music

Previous exhibition, 2005

Australia has become recognised for the range and talent of its musicians, composers, conductors and celebrities in general associated with the music industry

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The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.