Issued April 9, 2008
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE CELEBRATES ARCHITECT JØRN UTZON'S 90TH BIRTHDAY
Sydney Opera House today celebrated the 90th birthday of its extraordinary and beloved architect, Jørn Utzon.
From the Concert Hall choir stalls, staff sang an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday” accompanied by the Sydney Symphony conducted by Paul Daniel. The event was recorded and sent to Mr Utzon.
Utzon was reunited with the Opera House as its architect in 1999, and staff have a tradition of sending him a birthday greeting.
“This is a milestone birthday for Jørn, who is an incredibly important member of the Opera House family. We wanted to send our best wishes in a special way,” said CEO Richard Evans.
“We have shared a remarkable year with him - Sydney Opera House was recognised as one of the most treasured buildings in the world by its addition to the World Heritage List.
“Meanwhile, his latest design project - the renovation of our western theatre foyers - is well underway.
“The relationship between the man and the building has extended for more than 50 years and Jørn is still adding to its potential.”
Utzon planned to spend the day with his wife Lis and family at home in Denmark. A special event will be broadcast on Danish TV channel DR2 in the evening (Danish time) to mark his birthday.
Sydney Symphony Managing Director Libby Christie said the orchestra was delighted to join in the celebrations.
“As Australia’s premier orchestra, we are so proud to call Sydney Opera House our home, having played here for 36 years - nearly half the life of the Orchestra,” Ms Christie said.
“The building’s boldness, creativity and innovation symbolise something that we strive for every day - and is a constant reminder of what is possible.”