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2009 Corporate Media Release - Utzon Memorial

 Media release: 1 March 2009


“I like to be on the edge of the possible.” Jørn Utzon

The Hon Nathan Rees, NSW Premier and Minister for the Arts, today announced a State Memorial for Sydney Opera House master architect, Jørn Utzon, who died in Copenhagen on 28 November last year. The Jørn Utzon State Memorial will take place in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall on Wednesday 25 March at 11am.

The Premier said, "All who knew Jørn Utzon spoke of his humility, his sense of humour, his professional integrity, and the warmth and loyalty of his dealings with colleagues and friends. He was a man greatly loved for his personal qualities as much as his professional achievements. We are indebted to the man who gave Sydney one of the great buildings of the world and the acknowledged symbol of our nation, and the gateway to our great city.”

Chair of the Sydney Opera House Trust, Mr Kim Williams, added, “It is only fitting that we pay tribute to Jørn Utzon with a State Memorial featuring some of the artists and personalities that brought life to its venues and gave so many people pleasure over the past 35 years.”

Sydney Opera House CEO, Mr Richard Evans, continued, “The State Memorial will be a celebration of the creative genius and enduring spirit of Jørn Utzon. Sydney Opera House is a place for all people and we invite the community to share in the celebration.

“The State Memorial will include performances, readings and recollections from performing arts companies and their representatives including Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet and Sydney Theatre Company. Jørn Utzon’s son Jan and daughter Lin will attend the State Memorial.”

Richard Evans also announced that Sydney Opera House has created a special website where people can write tributes to Jørn Utzon and enter the ballot for tickets to the State Memorial.

In June 2007, Sydney Opera House was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list as “a masterpiece of human creative genius.”  The expert assessment of the nomination stated that Sydney Opera House “stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”.

For further information contact:
Vanessa Duscio +61 2 9250 7678 I + 61 409 977 312 I
Christopher Wynton + 61 2 9250 7836 I + 61 403 461 005 I


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