Roger Covell

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Roger David Covell AM FAHA (born 1 February 1931 in Sydney) is an eminent Australian musicologist, critic and author. He is Professor Emeritus in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney,[1] and continues to contribute articles and reviews to the Sydney Morning Herald, where he served as principal music critic from 1960 until the late 1990s.

Published in 1967, Covell's monograph Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society was the first comprehensive study of the history, development and performance of Western serious music in Australia, and is now regarded as a seminal text in Australian musicology. It has been widely referenced among succeeding generations of Australian composers, practitioners and critics of serious music, and by Australian cultural historians generally.

Roger Covell was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 1986 in recognition of service to music.[2] He was awarded the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing in 1993 in recognition of his services to music criticism in Australia.[3] Roger Covell accepted the Long-Term Contribution to the Advancement of Australian Music award at the 2006 Classical Music Awards, presented by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and the Australian Music Centre, in acknowledgement of his lifetime of distinguished achievement and commitment to Australian music.[4]

In February 2013, Professor Covell received the 2013 Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award for his outstanding contribution to music in Australia.[5]



  • Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society (Sun Books, Melbourne, 1967)


  • Morning-song for the Christ Child: for unaccompanied mixed chorus, with music by Peter Sculthorpe (Faber Music, c1966)
  • Sea chant: for unison voices and orchestra, with music by Peter Sculthorpe (Faber Music, c1968)
  • Autumn Song: for unaccompanied mixed chorus, with music by Peter Sculthorpe (Faber Music, c1972)


  • The Currency Lass, or, My Native Girl (a musical play in two acts) by Edward Geoghegan (Currency Press, c1976)


  1. ^ "School of English, Media & Performing Arts - Prof Emeritus Roger Covell". University of New South Wales. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Covell, Roger David". Australian Government. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Pascall Prize for Critical Writing". Geraldine Pascall Foundation. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  4. ^ "2006 Winners - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "Celebrated musicologist and critic Roger Covell to receive Bernard Heinze Memorial Award". Retrieved 29 November 2013.