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Olive Anderson (1917-1995) : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Mosquitoes (unaccompanied piano) by Olive Anderson, from the CD Classics of Australian music.


Born in Walthamstow, England, on 21 April 1917, Olive Anderson lived in Australia from the age of two. She studied piano with Shadforth Hooper, a noted piano teacher of the 1930s, while at Ascham School, in Sydney, then attended the NSW State Conservatorium High School. She travelled to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music there, but was obliged to return to Australia in 1939 with the outbreak of World War II. She studied composition also with Mirrie Hill, Alex Burnard, Godfrey Samson and Colin Brumby, and piano with Frank Hutchens, Max Pireni and William Lovelock.

For Anderson, marriage necessitated moving around Australia, and wherever she was she participated in local musical activities, or encouraged interest in music in places where there had been none.

She spent the last quarter of her life near Buderim, in Queensland, where she established the Sunshine Coast Community Youth Orchestra. She conducted this orchestra for a number of years and wrote many orchestral pieces for it. She organised for recitals and master classes to be given by professional musicians from Brisbane and elsewhere in a small theatre which she had had built beside her home. These greatly enriched the cultural life of the community.

In her long and productive life, Anderson wrote much orchestral and chamber music, piano music (including a Sonata and the Glasshouse Mountains Suite), songs, and instrumental pieces. She completed a chamber opera shortly before her death in 1995. A music teacher for many years, Anderson also composed much educational music, and published a piano tutor towards the end of her life.

Olive Anderson died on the 25th February, 1995 in Nambour, Queensland.