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Dr Judy Bailey OAM


Don Banks Music Award




Congratulations Dr Judy Bailey OAM, recipient of the 2022 Australia Council Don Banks Music Award! 

Judy Bailey is a New Zealand-born pianist, jazz musician and composer who has lived in Australia since 1960. From the age of ten she commenced formal piano studies and six years later, obtained the ATCL (perf.) qualification.  

Judy was highly involved in the musical life of Sydney through regular performances at the legendary El Rocco Jazz Cellar (with John Sangster, Don Burrows and Graeme Lyall to name but a few).   

As pianist/arranger, Judy was employed over a period of eight years with Tommy Tycho’s Orchestra (Channel 7), Don Burrow’s Septet (Channel 2), John Bamford’s Orchestra (Channel 9) and Jack Grimsley’s Orchestra (Channel 10). She became the resident pianist for the ABC Radio Program Kindergarten and introduced ‘music and movement’ programs for young children at Currambena and Lane Cove West Primary Schools. Judy also became a founding faculty member in the Tertiary Jazz Studies Program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music – where she continues lecturing to this day. 

Judy was appointed Musical Director (Jazz) for the immensely successful Bennelong series at the Sydney Opera House and became Musical Director for the Sydney Youth Jazz Ensemble Association. 

Judy has gained several prestigious awards, including the inaugural APRA Award for jazz composition, an Australian Entertainment Industry ‘MO’ for jazz performance, and in 2004 an OAM for services to music and education. In July 2008, as part of the Annual Classical Music Awards (APRA and AMC), Judy received the Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music. Judy’s nomination was unique in that it was the first ever granted to an outstanding jazz musician.  

In January 2008 Judy was chosen as one of ‘Sydney’s top 100 most influential people’ in The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘the (Sydney) magazine’. In 2014 she was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame (Bell Awards). 



Meet the other recipients

The 2022 Australia Council Awards will be showcased on this page on 8-12 August 2022. Each of these artists in their own way reflect the vibrancy of Australia’s diverse cultural life.

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