The noted conductor and a legendary director of music for the ABC has passed away at the age of 86.

The British-born conductor, musicologist and for ten years a visionary Federal Director of Music at the ABC from 1963 has died.

John Raymond Hopkins was born in Yorkshire in 1927. He showed his musical brilliance early becoming assistant conductor of the BBC Scottish Orchestra in 1949 at the tender age of 22. In 1952 he was appointed conductor of the BBC Northern Orchestra, a post he held for five years before moving to New Zealand in 1957 to succeed James Robertson as conductor of what became the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. During his time in the country he founded the New Zealand National Youth Orchestra, an organization with which he maintained strong ties throughout his life,

He crossed the ocean to Australia in 1963 to take up the post of Federal Director of Music for the Australian Broadcasting Commission, a job he held for ten years. While at the ABC he was known as a keen innovator, starting an Australian Proms series in Sydney in and taking a lead role in programming international avant-garde classical music by the likes of...