When Eugene Goossens was invited to Australia to take up the position as the first permanent conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Director of the NSW Conservatorium inhe was already a well known international conductor and composer. Having worked constantly in London since by the early s he was being referred to as a music wizard, before moving to America to conduct in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and Cincinnati. So when in March he was charged with importing prohibited material into Australia in the form of pornography, to say Sydney society was shocked was an understatement.
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First published in Good Weekend on July 3, About 8 am on the morning of March 9,just weeks after being invested with a knighthood for his services to Australian music, Sir Eugene Goossens descended the steps of a Qantas Constellation at the end of a long and exhausting flight from London to Sydney. Goossens was 62 and at the height of his fame. British-born but of Belgian extraction, he was a conductor and composer of international standing.
He held these positions concurrently until Marchwhen he was forced to resign after a major public scandal, only a year after being knighted. Norton was known as an artist of the grotesque and for her interest in the occult and erotica, which Goossens secretly shared. They conducted an intense affair, exchanging a number of passionate letters; although Goossens asked Norton to destroy all of them, she kept a bundle hidden behind a sofa. Although he was not immediately arrested or charged, Goossens naively agreed to attend a police interview a few days later, where he was confronted with photographs of Norton's "ceremonies" and his letters.
He studied music at the age of ten in Brugesthree years later in Liverpooland in in London on a scholarship at the Royal College of Music under composer Charles Villiers Stanford and the violinist Achille Rivarde among others. He was a violinist in Thomas Beecham 's Queen's Hall Orchestra from to and performed in the Philharmonic Quartet before coming to attention as Beecham's assistant conductor with a performance of Stanford's opera The Critic In he decided to make conducting his career and founded his own orchestra; with this ensemble he made a number of gramophone records for Edison-Bell's Velvet Face label.
Magazine article American Harp Journal. Eugene Goossens III and his other siblings had long, illustrious musical careers. Brother Leon Goossens became an eminent English oboist and was well known as a world famous concerto soloist, chamber player, recording artist, and orchestral musician.
Sir Aynsley Eugene Goossens was an English conductor, composer and violinist. At that time the city's only concert venue was the Town Hall. Goossens lobbied Premier Joe Cahill to convene a group to press for an opera house, which was cautiously sanctioned by Cabinet in May By that time Goossens was acclaimed as a composer and was dramatically raising training and performance levels at the Conservatorium.
Sir Eugene Goosens was a British-born musical genius who had a life-long fascination with the occult. But he was abruptly sacked and forced to leave Australia in disgrace after being arrested with pornography in his luggage. Goosens, who had become besotted with a notorious self-styled witch, Rosaleen Norton, died in London, penniless and alone.