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Don Burrows at work
, 1998

by Barry Walsh

oil on canvas (support: 176.5 cm x 152.0 cm)

Don Burrows AO MBE (b. 1928) is Australia’s best–known jazz musician. He began his career playing in a corner of Palings Music Store in Sydney on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and later worked in radio bands, dance halls and nightclubs. After studying at the Sydney Conservatorium in the early 1940s, he became principal clarinettist with the ABC Sydney Studio Orchestra, and later played with the ABC Dance Band. As his career progressed he collaborated with jazz stars around the world, including Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole and Stephane Grappelli. In 1980 he became Director of Jazz Studies at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, and in 1994 he received a large government grant to facilitate a nationwide school jazz program. Inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1991, Burrows has been on the list of Living National Treasures since 1989 and in recent years has gleaned three honorary doctorates along with the Australian Performing Rights Association’s Ted Albert Award for his outstanding contribution to Australian music.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds donated by Patrick Corrigan 2000
Accession number: 2000.2