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Donald Kingsmill


Tutoring in:  American Classical Music
 
Donald recently returned to live in Melbourne after an absence of 75 years.  He finds it much changed - he can no longer ride up Bourke Street in a cable tram.  After retiring in 1996 from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade he joined U3A Canberra where, for 16 years, he participated in a course of music appreciation, from time to time leading the class.
 
Donald is not a musician but a listener to music.  This pastime began in 1945 with Schools Concerts by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Bernard Heinze, and in 1947 with a production by the Sydney Conservatorium of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.  In later years he saw operas at such places as the famous Court Theatre at Drottningholm in Sweden which was built in 1766 and still has its original machinery, at the renowned Vienna State Opera House, and in the neo-Renaissance gem that is the Budapest Opera House.  In more recent years, he has attended concerts and operas in Melbourne and Sydney, in London, Paris and Berlin, and in Leipzig where, in 2012 and again in 2014, he attended the 11 days of that musical city’s annual Bachfest.
 
In his 37-year career in the Australian Foreign Service, Donald served in Laos, New Caledonia, Egypt, Lebanon, Cambodia and Jordan, and as Australian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (1976-9), Greece (1984-7) and Hungary (1992-5).  He is the author of 444 Hungarian Verbs, which is a book of grammar and conjugations, and editor of There Are Roumers, which is drawn from letters and recollections recording his father’s service in the Australian artillery in Egypt, at Gallipoli, and in France and Belgium from 1914 to 1919.  He speaks French, and at various times has made practical use of Lao, Arabic, Cambodian, German, Greek and Hungarian.