Our Founder

Vale John Gould, our founder, conductor and friend. You inspired us all. Rest in peace, love, light and music.

6 September 1940 – 21 November 2023

John Gould began his career as a violinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 1958. He played principal viola with most of Australia’s major orchestras and ensembles including some contemporary groups. John worked and toured with several leading European orchestras including four years with the London Symphony Orchestra, and in Australia was a founding member of the Carl Pini String Quartet.

John was also extensively recorded by the ABC, was a concerto soloist with the London and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, and gave master classes in Europe and America. His former students can be found in orchestras around the globe, including the illustrious Vienna Philharmonic. 

An ardent ‘music camper’ himself and a member of the first Australian Youth Orchestra, John tutored at National Music Camp for 13 years. He led the expansion of classical music teaching and performance in Orange as music director of the Orange Regional Music Centre for nine years. Students from Orange now feature in the Australian Youth Orchestra and swell the ranks at National Music Camp; several have moved into the profession, and more are studying at various Australian tertiary music institutions. 

John wanted to share his love and experience of the great orchestral repertoire with as many people as possible. With the help of many supporters, John established the Maruki Community Orchestra in Canberra in 2005, after his retirement. The word ‘Maruki’ means ‘harmonious energy’ – where, like boulders in a strong river, the players are rounded and buffeted to become smooth harmonious pebbles. The MCO gives all musicians the opportunity to play in a full symphony orchestra and build their musical, performance and instrument skill level up to a high ‘polished’ standard – to be the best we can be. John’s philosophy was for us to “just play as many notes as you can and enjoy the music”. He was a wonderful teacher and friend to many and will be greatly missed.


John Gould ConductingJohn Gould playing Viola