- 20 November 1897
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Margaret Sutherland's life's work as a composer saw her produce over 90 compositions and attain renown as a pioneer of 'new music' and of women's involvement in music. Her only opera - the Young Kabbarli (1964), based on Daisy Bates - was the first Australian opera recorded in Australia.
Sutherland's work promoting music and the arts included her years (1943-1956) as an initiator, organiser and secretary for the Combined Arts Centre Movement, a group which worked to promote the formation of a cultural centre in Melbourne after World War II, and her membership of many other councils and organising bodies such as the council of the National Gallery Association of Victoria (1950s-1960s).
Recognition of Sutherland's prolific life as a composer and champion of the Arts in Australia has included an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Melbourne (1969), the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), and her appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 13 June 1970 and an Officer of the Order of Australia on 8 June 1981.
Sources used to compile this entry: Lofthouse, Andrea (ed.), Who's who of Australian women, Methuen Australia, North Ryde (NSW), 1982, 504 pp; Australian Music Centre, http://www.amcoz.com.au/comp/s/msutland.htm.