Wollongong music duo recognised with OAM

Anne and John Brennan Keats. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Anne and John Brennan Keats. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Queen's Birthday Honours

Wollongong's Anne and John Brennan Keats have been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for promoting Australian music through their publishing company, Wirripang.

The couple have published more than 2000 pieces of Australian classical and jazz music since they first discovered a stash of unpublished works by Mr Keats's father, written before World War II interrupted his composing work.

Known as Brennan after the poet Christopher Brennan, Mr Keats did not want his father's music buried with him. Keeping his works alive brought back happy memories and it wasn't long before other Australian composers came knocking.

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"I was told my father was writing ahead of the times," the 75-year-old said.

"It's about the quality of the music.

"Composers want their music to survive."

With a background in music and accounting, all he needed was his wife Mrs Keats to add her marketing touch - their publishing company was noticed by the ABC and it's been growing ever since.

The couple believed one of their greatest achievements was recognition from the Music Teachers' Association of NSW and contributions to education syllabi in Australia and England.

Australian composers had a lot to offer, Mrs Keats said.

"We have climate, beaches, animal and natural life, and these composers pick up on that," she said.

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