The Australian conductor and founder of Queensland Youth Orchestras, John Curro has died at the age of 86.

“Mr Curro was admitted to hospital on Wednesday morning 6 November and passed away in the afternoon,” Queensland Youth Orchestras said in a statement.

“John Curro inspired many thousands of musicians and music lovers,” the statement said. “His impact on Australia’s orchestral and music education sectors has been extraordinary. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the Curro family.”

John Curro John Curro (1932–2019)

Born in Cairns in 1932, Curro was introduced to music by his father, who played the violin, but initially trained as an architect at the University of Queensland before making a career in music. He founded Queensland Youth Orchestras in 1966, going on to conduct its ensembles for more than 50 years, and completing 13 international tours. With Queensland Youth Orchestras he established the National Youth Concerto Competition– which boasts amongst its winners Richard Tognetti and Ray Chen – in 1976.

He also conducted many of Australia’s professional orchestras and opera and ballet seasons, as well as the Australian Youth Orchestra and ensembles around the world, including the London Virtuosi,...