There are so many pluses as we move into the later stage of life that occasionally a minus comes on to the scene. Last Friday we became aware that Peter Sculthorpe, the brilliant Australian composer, had passed away. He has left a legacy of wonderful music for us although as someone pointed out there won’t be any more new works.
When I was doing my research on older Australians who were achieving, I wrote to Peter asking if I could interview him. He wrote back suggesting I might like to talk to him in his studio where he wrote his music. What a wonderful opportunity. I had three main areas of his life I wanted to talk about (these were common to all the achieving older Australians I interviewed). I wanted to know what he was most proud of so far in his life, what he was currently doing and what his plans were for the future. We sat and talked with no thought for the precious time he was giving up for me. He even invited me to have a cup of tea afterwards.
He later told me that encouraging older people to have plans for the future was a cause that was very close to his heart. I had heard him at a public talk mention my research and saying how important it was as he talked about his own future plans.
Peter had a wonderful gift to write so much beautiful music but the loving, caring, thoughtful and generous person he was he himself had created. The world is a much better place because Peter lived in it, not only for the musical legacy he has left behind which we can enjoy forever, but for the inspiring person behind the music. Thank you Peter for all you have given us. Life will be less rich because you are no longer sharing it with us.