Media Releases

22 November 2019

Singing their praises: Willoughby Symphony wins Community Awards

Willoughby Symphony and their legendary 92-year-old principal bassoon player Mr John Cran have each been awarded a 2019 North Sydney Community Award from Mr Trent Zimmerman MP.

The annual award recognises volunteers and community organisations that undertake exceptional work on Sydney’s lower north shore, at the benefit of the entire community. Mr Zimmerman presented the award to Symphony representative Sarajane Hansen and Mr Cran on 21 November.

For almost 50 years the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir has been enriching the local community with world class performances. Led by Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Dr Nicholas Milton AM, the orchestra is passionate about providing opportunities for emerging artists.

Mr John Cran has been the principal bassoon player in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. Previously, Mr Cran held the position of Principal Bassoon at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for just over 40 years. He performed for Her Majesty the Queen at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973 and has been an inspirational force as a player and mentor in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. 

Mr Cran generously donates his time to support fellow musicians who greatly benefit from his skills, experiences and fabulous repertoire. Many of his students have gone on to become professional bassoon players internationally and outstanding ambassadors for Australian music.

Dr Nicholas Milton AM said: “We believe the Willoughby Symphony represents the pinnacle of community music-making in Australia. The symphony and John are honoured to receive these awards in recognition of the joy and enrichment that our performances bring to our community.”

Outside of the symphony the musicians share their love of music as teachers, doctors, community leaders, cultural ambassadors, parents and grandparents. They are a tight-knit group with a rich and supportive culture of musical professionalism, and their enthusiasm and passion for music is obvious at every concert.

Catch the Willoughby Symphony and Mr Cran in the Symphony’s 2020 season Exhilarating Inspiration.

Tickets available at

Media Contact:
Julia Phipps
Media & Marketing Team Leader
Phone: 9777 7896

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or