The conductor joins his late wife Dame Joan Sutherland as Companion of the Order of Australia.

Maestro Richard Bonynge has been named Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2012 Australia Day Honours list, in recognition of his “eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed conductor and music scholar”.

The 81-year-old was previously appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and Birthday 1977 Honours List, then became an Officer of the Order of Australia in The Queen’s Birthday 1983 Honours.

Bonynge’s late wife, soprano Dame Joan Sutherland, received the country’s highest honour in 1975. The pair was opera’s power couple for more than three decades and he acted as vocal coach and mentor to Dame Joan in the early stages of her career, helping to shape her uniquely powerful and agile instrument.

“I am not so young anymore, but not so old that I cannot feel an immense thrill to have been awarded this highest honour by my own country,” Bonynge reflected on the accolade from his home in Switzerland. “Music has been and continues to be my life and has brought me extraordinary happiness and fulfillment.

“It is a great...