With the passing of Dr Tony Gould in March last year, Australia lost one of its most fervent arts champions. Unfortunately plans for Tony’s Memorial had to be put on hold due to COVID this time last year, however we have remained determined to intentionally honour his remarkable life and career. One year on, we celebrate a dear friend, colleague and fierce advocate and leader of the arts in Queensland.
Appointed as QPAC’s founding Director in 1979, even before our building opened in 1985, Tony is fondly remembered as someone who was not only passionately supportive of the performing arts but also cared deeply for the people behind the art. Without Tony, we would not be the organisation we are today and one could argue, the cultural life of Queensland might not be as it is today. He was a champion of our local and state companies every bit as much as he was the driving force behind bringing the world’s best international performing arts companies to our stages. He was instrumental in putting Brisbane on the international map culturally and played a key role in arts events that define our city even today including founding and serving as the Artistic Director of Brisbane Festival from 1996-2004.
Never afraid to make bold programming decisions, Tony was key to QPAC becoming the home of major touring musicals in Queensland, which it remains to this day. He was progressive in understanding and valuing the social impact of the arts right through to partnering with international producers and companies to bring world-renowned artists and companies to Brisbane.
During Tony’s 23 years at the helm of QPAC, more than 8 million people attended more than 12,000 performances at the Centre. In 1994 he was awarded an Order of Australia for services to the arts and on his retirement in 2002, QPAC’s exhibition space was renamed the Tony Gould Gallery.
His legacy to our organisation, the arts industry and the cultural life of Queensland was recently celebrated in a memorial in our Concert Hall attended by his family, friends, past colleagues and members of the arts industry. In a service peppered with performances of some of Tony’s favourite songs, he was honoured in speeches by the QPAC Chair Prof Peter Coaldrake AO, industry leaders, his wife Jenny Gould and his adult children Kate Gould and Anthony Gould. The recording of this heart-warming service can be viewed until Monday 22 March via the event page.
Our Chief Executive, John Kotzas, recently sat down with Rebecca Levingston on ABC Radio Brisbane to remember a mentor, colleague and friend.
We pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestors of this land, their spirits and their legacy. The foundations laid by these ancestors – our First Nations Peoples – gives strength, inspiration and courage to current and future generations, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, towards creating a better Queensland.