Tassie choreographer Graeme Murphy Awarded

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The Queen's diamond jubilee year has been a cause of celebration for those in and outside of Buckingham Palace, as top performers, regular concertgoers and an honour roll of quiet achievers all bask in the glow of her majesty’s 60th year.

Among the Australians recognised for their outstanding professional achievements during the official birthday observance here was high profile Tasmanian choreographer Graeme Murphy.

Almost 30 years after he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia, the former artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company (SDC) has now been named as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Murphy's national and international contribution to the performing arts, especially in the area of ballet and contemporary dance, were cited as the reason for this latest appointment.

"This award is for the fine, creative people I work with. It helps the arts in Australia, lifting its profile," he said.

Always the consummate performer Murphy was quick to point out the important role those who love to watch the best in dance play in promoting this industry, as well as its key talents.

"And I'm grateful that audiences still want to see my work. My success is dependent on people wanting to see my work," he enthused.

During his time at the SDC Murphy oversaw more than 50 productions and collaborated with the Australian Ballet on The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake – the  latter is currently on its way to New York and ready to wow US audiences.

When asked about the future of dance in Australia the 61-year-old made it clear that part of the success of local productions was due to the country's contemporary vision and willingness to try new things. Tasmania too has paid its part in redefining Australia’s artistic vision with the opening two years ago of MONA in Hobart.

Murphy joined the Australian ballet as a dancer and choreographer from the age of 18 after an upbringing in Launceston.

Graeme Murphy - Image Credit: Brand Tasmania

Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon - Image Credit: ABC

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  • John Ellison Davies says:

    I was a dance critic for Nation Review and the National Times in the late 1970s. “Living Treasure: Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon” is available now as a Kindle eBook from Amazon. It is a brief memoir of how everything began for them. I hope your readers may be interested in this portrait of them as they were before they became legends.

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