“As an artist himself, a composer, Jonathan understands the arts from a personal perspective. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the humanities, music especially, and a clear, elevated aesthetic: in his position as Director of the Edinburgh Festival, he has kept fellow Australian artists in mind without ever compromising his remarkably high standards. At the same time, he continues to bring back to Australia the knowledge and experience which will benefit us all for years to come.” – Robyn Archer AO
Sir Jonathan Mills is the Australian Director and Chief Executive of the Edinburgh International Festival. Appointed in 2006, initially with a five-year contract, Jonathan has extended his term twice – first for a year to include the 2012 Olympics and then up to 2014, the year of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. 2014 will be Sir Jonathan’s eight and final year.
Sir Jonathan has stamped his own unique mark on the Festival, using themed festivals as a device to both explore cultures and, more pragmatically, to build sponsorship links with other countries. In 2008 it was the Fringes of Europe, in 2009, Enlightenment, and in 2010 and 2011, two years looking at the New World and Asia. In 2013, it was technology. In recognition of his services to culture, this year Jonathan was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours.
Prior to Edinburgh, Jonathan was the Vice-Chancellor’s (Professorial) Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Director of the Alfred Deakin Lectures and an Artistic Advisor to the new Melbourne Recital Centre & Elisabeth Murdoch Hall. He was also the Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Melbourne Federation Festival, the Melbourne Millennium Eve celebrations and the Brisbane Biennial International Music Festival.
Sir Jonathan was a visiting Professor at both Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier Universities, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Chair of the British Councils’ Advisory Board. He was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011.
In parallel, Jonathan has nurtured a career as a musician and composer, creating a series of modern operas. As a composer Mills is regularly commissioned in Australia and increasingly in Europe and the UK. He received the coveted Prix Italia for his Sandakan Threnody solo tenor, choir and orchestra in 2005.
Born in Sydney, Sir Jonathon studied Architecture, focusing on Acoustic Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and then studied Music at the University of Sydney, specialising in composition with Peter Sculthorpe.
Meet Sir Jonathan Mills, winner of the 2014 Advance Global Australian Creative Industries Award.