Max Olding and Pamela Page

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Max Olding AM (4 July 1929 – 17 November 2021) and Pamela Page (born 4 April 1934) were a distinguished Australian husband and wife team of duo-pianists. They performed separately in recitals and as concerto soloists, chamber music performers and accompanists both nationally and internationally, but were best known as a piano duo.

They met when they tied for first place[1][2] in the inaugural Royal Concert Trust Fund Competition in London in 1954.[3] They married in Vienna in 1955.[4]

They performed as a duo for the opening of ABC Television in 1956. They gave many recitals in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Austria, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. In Australia they appeared with all major and many regional orchestras.

Their repertoire was extensive and included original two-piano works and concertos as well as arrangements and transcriptions. Larry Sitsky composed his Concerto for Two Solo Pianos for this duo.[5][6][7] Olding and Page recorded this work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1977 on the World Record Club label.[8] Many other works have been dedicated to them by composers including Felix Werder, Peter Sculthorpe, Philip Bračanin, John Carmichael and Margaret Sutherland.[6]

In the 1950s, Olding and Page were duo-pianists who broadcast recitals on Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio, including repertoire by Australian composer Margaret Sutherland.[9]

In 1975, Olding and Page appeared on TV, performing music for four hands in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's educational television series, All About Music.[10]

During the 1970s,[11] 1980s[12] and 1990s,[13] Olding and Page performed together in concerts that were also broadcast nationally on ABC radio.

Max Olding and Pamela Page have one son, the violinist Dene Olding.[14][3]

Max Olding[edit]

Maxwell Charles Olding was born on 4 July 1929. He grew up in Launceston, Tasmania, where as a pianist he often competed against Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, who later joked that he turned his focus to composition because he could never beat Olding in piano competitions.[15] In 1950, at age 21, he was appointed an Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) Examiner. He won the Commonwealth final of the 1952 ABC's Concerto Competition.[16]

He began his tertiary teaching career at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. He was an adjudicator at the 1952 City of Sydney Eisteddfod and has since adjudicated at most of Australia's major music competitions, has chaired many of them and has acted as external examiner for higher degrees at the Universities of Melbourne, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Southern Queensland and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Olding adjudicated at the 2010 National Young Performers Awards in Invercargill, New Zealand.[17]

In 1952 he was a state finalist in the ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition.[16]

He was a patron of the Music Teachers Association of Queensland, the Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild and was a Fellow of the Queensland Conservatorium. He gave many master classes and seminars nationally and internationally.

He was deputy chair and principal examiner (Instrumental) for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) in Queensland.[18] In later years he also worked extensively in Southeast Asia and New Zealand for the board in examining and promotional activities.

Max Olding held positions as president of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Society and deputy chair of the Brisbane Institute of Art. He was patron of the Queensland Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild, and was a Life Member of the Accompanists Guild of Queensland Inc.[19]

Olding was a Churchill Fellow, awarded in 1970 "To investigate new methods and techniques relating to pianoforte teaching and instruction at advanced and tertiary levels - Japan, Russia, Hungary, France, UK, USA".[20]

Olding recorded chamber music including cello and piano works by Australian composer Dulcie Holland, on the CD, Study in Green: Music of Australian Composers;[21] Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms with violinist Dene Olding on Great Violin Sonatas;[22] and several pieces with Dene Olding on the compilation album, The Essential Violin.[23]

Max Olding recorded solo piano examination repertoire for the AMEB.[24]

He was also involved in conducting symphonic, choral, operatic and theatre works as well as teaching, administration and as organist and choirmaster.

In 2011, Olding (along with Page) received a Doctor of Music honoris causa from the University of Queensland, where he had taught piano for many years.[25] He also held senior teaching and administrative positions at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University[26] (deputy director and principal lecturer in piano); QUT (acting head and senior lecturer); and City University of New York (visiting professor).

He died on 17 November 2021, aged 92.[27][26]

Pamela Page[edit]

Pamela Harcourt Page was born on 4 April 1934.[3] She won an Empire Overseas Scholarship to study at Trinity College of Music, London, where she was awarded the Maude Seton Prize for the most outstanding student. She later performed on BBC radio and television and gave solo and concerto performances in London and the English counties. She was subsequently accepted into Walter Gieseking's master class in Saarbrücken.

Back in Australia, Page provided the close-up scenes of the pianist's hands in Wherever She Goes,[28] a 1951 biographical film about Eileen Joyce (whose character was otherwise played by Suzanne Parrett).

During the 1950s and 1960s, Pamela Page was a pianist for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, now known as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC),[29] including as a solo pianist.[30][31]

Page has performed as a pianist in a recording with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.[32]

Page gave many concerto performances in all capital cities, recitals on ABC radio, live TV appearances and also hosted a TV children's show.

Later, Page was appointed senior lecturer at the Faculty of Music, University of Queensland.

Pamela Page is also a painter, and has performed Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition accompanied by the display of her art.[33]

Pamela Page has recorded solo piano examination repertoire for the Australian Music Examinations Board.[24]

Pamela Page is a Life Member of the Accompanists Guild of Queensland, Inc.[34]

In 2011, she (along with Olding) received a Doctor of Music honoris causa from the University of Queensland, where she had been employed in a teaching capacity since 1968.[25]

Honours and awards[edit]

In January 1991, Max Olding was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM)[35][36] "for service to music and to music education".[35]

The Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) in Queensland has named its auditorium the Max Olding Auditorium.[37]

Both Pamela Page[38] and Max Olding[39][40] were awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.


  1. ^ "AUSTRALIANS' MUSIC PRIZE". The Daily Telegraph. London. Australian Associated Press. 2 December 1954. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Max Olding in competition tie". Advocate. Harris & Co. 2 December 1954. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Lim, Naomi (31 March 2014). "Classical musician Pamela Page is planning an 80th birthday concert with husband Max Olding at QPAC". No. SouthEast. The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  4. ^ "Programmes And People". Vol. 17, no. 42. The ABC Weekly. 22 October 1955. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Concerto for two solo pianos : piano duo by Larry Sitsky (1967)". Australian Music Centre. Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b Pleskun, Stephen (2012). A Chronological History of Australian Composers and Their Compositions (Volume 2: 1955-1984). Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-4797-5752-7. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  7. ^ Collett, Morwenna. "A Lifetime of Teamwork". Resonate Magazine. Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Concerto for woodwind quintet and orchestra (1971) : Concerto for two solo pianos (1967) / Larry Sitsky". WRC: R 04694. 1977. Retrieved 21 August 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ "All the RADIO programmes". The ABC Weekly. 21 (22): 16. 3 June 1959. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Look in ... on your week of television". The Bananacoast Opinion. No. page 6. 5 February 1975. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  11. ^ "2CY Monday to Sunday". The Canberra Times. No. 17. 2 September 1974. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Today's radio". The Canberra Times. No. 17. 28 March 1985. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  13. ^ "ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT". The Canberra Times. No. 10. 13 August 1990. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Olding Joins Ensemble". Uniken. 1982 (3): 4. 19 March 1982. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Backstage with Dene Olding", Limelight, January 2016, p. 24
  16. ^ a b "Young Performers Award Past Winners". Symphony Services International. Symphony Services International. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  17. ^ Lamont, Sarah (17 October 2010). "Youngsters' talents win praise". Stuff. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Australian Music Examinations Board Examiners". Australian Music Examinations Board. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  19. ^ "AGQ Life Members". Accompanists Guild of Queensland. Accompanists Guild of Queensland, Incorporated. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Winston Churchill Trust: Our Fellows". Winston Churchill Trust. Winston Churchill Trust. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  21. ^ "CD Study in green: music of Australian composers". Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  22. ^ "Great Violin Sonatas: Dene Olding, Max Olding". Presto Classical. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  23. ^ "The Essential Violin". Presto Classical. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  24. ^ a b Bailey, Kerin & Olding, Max & Page, Pamela (2005). Piano for leisure: recording & handbook (Series 2). Melbourne, Australia: Allans Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86367-484-3. Retrieved 21 August 2020.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ a b "Musical pioneers honoured (in UQ's Contact Magazine Summer 2011 issue)" (PDF).
  26. ^ a b ABC Classic, Vale Max Olding
  27. ^ Univoersity of Queensland School of Music
  28. ^ "News and Gossip: Young pianist for London... A T. S. Eliot rumour scotched...L-P records... Barry Tuckwell". The ABC Weekly: 26. 4 August 1951. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  29. ^ "Annual report of the Australian Broadcasting Commission" (1968/1969). 1969: 50. Retrieved 21 August 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  30. ^ "ABC Weekly". Vol. 19, no. 22, page 33. Australian Broadcasting Commission. 1 June 1957. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  31. ^ "ABC Weekly". Vol. 19, no. 31, page 15. Australian Broadcasting Commission. 3 August 1957. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  32. ^ "Concert Classics [EMI]". [sound recording]. 1975. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  33. ^ "Australian Festival of Chamber Music 2009 Programme". 31 July - 8 August 2009: 44. Retrieved 26 January 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  34. ^ "AGQ Life Members". Accompanists Guild of Queensland. Accompanists Guild of Queensland, Incorporated. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  35. ^ a b "Award Extract: Mr Maxwell Charles OLDING (Member of the Order of Australia)". Australian Honours Search Facility. Australian Government: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  36. ^ It's an Honour: Max Olding - AM
  37. ^ "Venue Hire". Australian Music Examinations Board. Australian Music Examinations Board. 3 June 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  38. ^ It's an Honour: Pamela Page - Centenary Medal
  39. ^ "Award Extract: Mr Maxwell Charles OLDING (Centenary Medal)". Australian Honours Search Facility. Australian Government: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  40. ^ It's an Honour: Max Olding - Centenary Medal

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