Richard Mills is deservedly one of Australia's most sought after composers and music directors. In recent years he has pursued a diverse career as a composer and a conductor, which has seen him working with a large number of the nation's music organisations.
Richard is currently Artistic Director of Victorian Opera. This year he conducts ‘Tis Pity: An Operatic Fantasia, which he also composed and arranged, and La Sonnambula in concert for Victorian Opera. Other engagements will include the 3MBS Mozart Marathon and delivering the 50th Callaway Lecture for the University of Western Australia. He previously held the post of Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera from 1997 – 2012. In 2008 he was Musica Viva’s Composer of the Year, and from 2002 – 2008 held the post of Director of the Australian Music Project for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, he works as a freelance conductor throughout Australia and overseas and in 2007/8 was awarded an Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship.
Some of Richard’s most recent conducting engagements include Lucia di Lammermoor and Laughter and Tears (featuring I Pagliacci), The Flying Dutchman, I Puritani, a Mother’s Day concert, La Traviata, Norma, and The Riders (Grandage), a Gala concert at Monash Robert Blackwood Hall, and an ANZAC remembrance concert, for which he had been commissioned to compose a work, as well as composing The Pied Piper, all for Victorian Opera. He conducted the ANZAC remembrance concert for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 2015 and returned to the TSO and the Australian Composers School last year. He has also conducted The Barber of Seville, Norma, Die Fledermaus, La Sonnambula, Peter Grimes and Elektra (West Australian Opera); Proms Concert (Canberra Symphony Orchestra); The Love of the Nightingale (Opera Australia); Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, premiering his new Organ Concerto, and the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Victorian State Opera commissioned Richard to write an opera of Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, which premiered in Melbourne in 1996, and received Sydney performances in the Opera Australia season in 1999. Batavia was commissioned by Opera Australia and premiered at the Melbourne Festival in 2001 to great critical acclaim, consequently receiving a number of Green Room and Helpmann Awards including Best Opera and Best New Australian Work. In 2004, he conducted a revival of Batavia in Perth, when it was presented as a joint production between the Perth International Arts Festival, Opera Australia and West Australian Opera. It was mounted again in the Opera Australia Sydney winter season in 2006. Richard’s third opera, The Love of the Nightingale, premiered at the 2007 UWA Perth International Arts Festival conducted by Richard with further performances in Melbourne for Victorian Opera and Brisbane for Opera Queensland that year. This opera received several nominations for 2007 Helpmann Awards including Best New Australian Work, Best Opera and Best Music Direction and received four Awards including that of Best Music Direction for Richard, and was presented by Opera Australia in Sydney in 2011.
Some of Richard Mills’ most recent compositions include a score for the Australian Ballet and his Passion According to St. Mark which premiered around Australia in 2009. His song cycle Songlines of the Heart’s Desire received its European premiere at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival and his Organ Concerto was premiered with Calvin Bowman and the Melbourne Symphony in August 2011.
Other notable conducting engagements have included La Cenerentola for Opera Australia, the world premiere performance of Peter Sculthorpe’s Requiem with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at the Adelaide Festival, the world premiere of his double concerto for clarinet and violin with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and a concert performance of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde with the Australian Youth Orchestra for the Queensland Music Festival, which won a Helpmann Award for Best Classical Concert in 2005.