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2010 Corporate Media Release - Fergus Linehan named Head of Contemporary Music

Media Release: Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sydney Opera House appoints Fergus Linehan as Head of Contemporary Music

Sydney Opera House today announced that Fergus Linehan has accepted the position of Head of Contemporary Music commencing immediately.

Currently working as International Program Advisor to Sydney Opera House, he recently oversaw the Vivid LIVE festival curated by Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed.

Dividing his time between Sydney and London, Fergus will enrich and extend Sydney Opera House’s existing international partnerships and relationships.

In the last three years, Sydney Opera House has adopted an artistic vision and set of programming principles and priorities reflective of the organisation’s place in the Sydney, national and international community. Part of this vision is to ensure that audiences have access to a balanced global cultural offering of diverse artforms recognising that music provides the critical link to the broader community. 

“I am beaming in delight at the opportunity to welcome the extraordinary Fergus Linehan back to Sydney,” Chief Executive Office Richard Evans said. “Fergus has a love and knowledge of Sydney audiences, and is uniquely placed to work with our Director of Performing Arts Rachel Healy and her team as we strive to bring the most interesting programs and artists from around the world to Sydney, and Australia.”

Joining the existing four Artform Heads – Wendy Martin (Theatre & Dance), Virginia Hyam (Contemporary Culture), Ann Mossop (Public Programs) and Bridgette Van Leuven (Education & Performances for Young People) – Fergus will be responsible for overseeing all music programs at the House including, but not limited to:

 Vivid LIVE
 Contemporary Music
 Full Swing (jazz)
 Hemispheres (world music)
 Utzon Music Series
 World Orchestras

Widely known for his role as Director of Sydney Festival from 2006 to 2009, prior to this Fergus was Artistic Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious events, and is currently Artistic Associate at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Thrilled and honoured to join the team at such an exciting time in the organisation's development, Fergus said the last few years had seen a significant expansion in the contemporary music program at the Opera House.

“While the classical and operatic repertoire will always be at the centre of the House, jazz, rock, pop, folk, world and electronic music have shown they have an enormous contribution to make,” he said.  “I hope that we can continue the great work that is being done to ensure that all Sydneysiders and visitors to the city feel welcome in this magnificent building.”

More recently Sydney Opera House presented some of the world’s best contemporary artists, including Lou Reed and Laurie Andersen, Moby, Antony and the Johnsons, Marianne Faithfull, Ben Folds, Mariza, Joanna Newsom, Michael Nyman and Andrew Bird.

About Fergus
Fergus Linehan is an internationally recognised curator, producer and commentator in the areas of arts, festivals and events.  He has led the growth and development of two major international festivals in Ireland and Australia.  As Director of Sydney Festival he introduced a number of initiatives including Festival First Night, About an Hour, Festival Garden and brought artists such as Brian Wilson, Bjork, Grace Jones and Elvis Costello to Sydney.

While at the Dublin Theatre Festival he was responsible for doubling the festival’s turnover, the introduction of a producing unit and the establishment of a now thriving Fringe Festival. He introduced Dublin to the work of artists such as Peter Brook, Robert Wilson and Romeo Castallucci and co-produced new Irish writing from Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle.

Outside of work Fergus a keen supporter of Arsenal Football Club and the Sydney Swans, of which he is still an Ambassador. He has served on numerous boards including the Sydney Chamber of Commerce’s CEO body Sydney First and the Advisory Council of the National Theatre of Ireland.

He has given several keynote addresses including the Philip Parson’s memorial lecture (Australia), the address to the Annual General Meeting of the Guthrie Theatre (USA) and the Tashin Bank Arts Awards Address (Taiwan). Fergus was the recipient of the inaugural Sydney Music Arts and Culture Award (SMAC) for 2008.  He has written from numerous newspapers and journals including The Australian, The Punch and The Irish Times.

Vanessa Duscio, Head of Public Relations, Sydney Opera House
02 9250 7678 /


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