Richard Mills Richard Mills is deservedly one of Australia's most sought after composers and music directors and he is now in the forefront of senior Australian composers. He has pursued a diverse career as a composer, conductor and artistic director which has seen him working almost all of the nation's music organisations.
Currently, he is Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera, a post he has held since 1997. In 2008 he was Musica Viva's Composer of the Year. He has also held the post of Director of the Australian Music Project for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (2002 - 2008). Additionally, he works as a freelance conductor throughout Australia and overseas. In 2007/8 as well as being awarded an Ian Potter Foundation Fellowship, he also conducted the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras as well as Orchestra Victoria and Aida and The Magic Flute for West Australian Opera.
Richard Mills conducts all the major orchestras in Australia and regularly performs in major Australian Festivals. He made his debut as an opera conductor at Opera Queensland with The Magic Flute. Now, through his work with West Australian Opera, he has a large repertoire of standard works, as well as a reputation for conducting contemporary opera and his own compositions. He is one of the few Australian composers who have been commissioned to write operas for main stage performances in Australia, and whose works have been performed in a number of seasons. 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 at both ceremonies 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 Festival conducted by Richard with performances in both Melbourne for Victorian Opera and Brisbane for Queensland Opera during 2007. 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.
In 2009 his most recent composition, the Passion according to St Mark was performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and The Queensland Orchestra.
Other notable conducting engagements have included La Cenerentola for Opera Australia and Norma for West Australian Opera, 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, a project which won a Helpmann Award for Best Classical Concert in 2005.