University of WA Alumni Named Among Australia’s Greatest Ever Musicians

University of WA Alumni Named Among Australia’s Greatest Ever Musicians
University of Western Australia (Adobe Stock)
Steve Milne

Australian classical guitarist and former student of the University of Western Australia (UWA), Craig Ogden, has been chosen by BBC Music Magazine as one of Australia’s best 11 musicians of all time.

In an article titled “Eleven of the Best Australian Musicians,” the periodical included Ogden among the likes of sopranos Dame Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland, composer Percy Grainger, and saxophonist Amy Dickson.

Ogden was flattered to be included on that list, UWA reported.

“To be mentioned alongside the other musicians and venues on that list was extraordinary,” he said

“I’ve had some wonderful opportunities in the course of my career, and I’ve always tried to make the most of them.”

Graduating from UWA’s Conservatorium of Music in 1989 with a Bachelor of Music, the 55-year-old is considered one of the greatest classical guitarists of his generation, once being described by BBC Music Magazine as “the natural successor to Julian Bream”, the internationally acclaimed English classical guitarist and lutenist.

There, his name appears alongside classical guitarist greats such as Andrés Segovia, John Williams, Bream, and Xuefei Yang.

After his time at UWA, Ogden received a fellowship from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (RNCM), becoming the youngest instrumentalist to have received the award. Since then, he has toured the world, performing with many of the world’s leading orchestras.

Ogden currently resides in the United Kingdom, where he is considered the most sought-after guitarist for chamber music.

When asked about his years at UWA, Ogden said he had nothing but fond memories.

“The four most formative and enjoyable years of my life were undoubtedly at UWA. To be surrounded by people who were as focussed and enthusiastic about music as I was, was amazing,” he said.

“I loved everything about my time at the university, and many of the people I met there are still my best friends despite the fact that we are spread around the world.”

Professor Alan Lourens, Head of the Conservatorium of Music at UWA, congratulated Ogden on making the top 11 list.

“Craig richly deserves this acknowledgement. His body of work is exemplary and represents a long and illustrious career,” he said.

“Craig regularly gives back to current students at UWA, investing in the next generation. His experience and expertise have helped propel a whole new generation of musicians.”

Ogden said that the music of John Denver first inspired him to pick up a guitar, but once he started learning, he gravitated towards a classical style of playing and the classical guitar.

“And the thing about it I think I would say that I love the most is just the beautiful sound that it makes,” he said. “It’s such a beguiling and evocative sound world, and I’ve never lost my love of it.”

Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at [email protected].
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