Richard Letts: Short Biography

High schools

  • Fort St Boys High School
  • Sydney Boys High School


  • AB, PhD, University of California at Berkeley 1972


  • Director, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Richmond and Berkeley, California, 1973-80
  • Director, MacPhail Center for the Arts, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1980-2
  • Director, Music Board, Australia Council, Sydney 1982-7
  • Director, Australian Music Centre, Sydney 1987-1992
  • Founder and Executive Director, Music Council of Australia, Sydney 1993-2013
  • Founder and Director, The Music Trust/Australian Arts Trust, Sydney 2013-
  • Also musician, teacher


  • Sounds Australian, journal of the Australian Music Centre
  • Resonance, journal of the International Music Council
  • Music Forum, journal of the Music Council of Australia
  • Various projects as a researcher with topics including music education, community music development, musical diversity and sustainability; others as instigator or director including a national survey of school music education, a guide to musical careers.


  • Your Career as a Composer, and Self-Promotion for Musicians, commissioned by the Australia Council and published by Allen and Unwin, 1996
  • The Arts on the Edge of Chaos, commissioned by the Australia Council: looking to arts futures via complexity theory, unpub., 1995
  • Study into the Future Development of Orchestras in Australia (the Tribe Report, principal author), Australian Government Printing Service, 1985
  • Hundreds of submissions, policy proposals, articles in professional publications and the press.

Volunteer positions


  • Vice President, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, USA
  • Vice President, International Association of Music Information Centres, Netherlands
  • Chair, Australian Institute of Eastern Music, Sydney
  • Chair, The Song Company, Sydney
  • Chair, Music Council of Australia
  • President, International Music Council, Paris


  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
  • APRA/AMC Award for Lifetime Contribution to Australian Music
  • Music Council of Australia Honorary Lifetime Membership
  • Member of Honour, International Music Council
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