Vale John Cran

A Tribute from Nicholas Milton

I wanted to express to his beloved daughter Lucinda and to all of us who knew and loved John Cran our shared and deepest condolences for the heart-wrenching and devastating loss of such an extraordinary and lovely human being. A deep sadness is being felt by all of us whose lives were so blessed by knowing and working with John. At this unimaginably difficult time, all of the Willoughby Symphony’s musicians, council, artistic committee, family members, and audiences, as well as the thoughts of generations of Australian musicians who were touched by John’s warmth and beautiful artistry can reflect on a unique legacy. On a personal level, John was a special and dear friend to me. I loved him, and never ceased learning from his quiet grace, effortless wisdom, inimitable modesty and incomparable human and artistic integrity. I have so many fond and happy memories of John, dating back to my time as a student at the Conservatorium High School, and then extending into the last twenty years when I had the privilege to work with him in his capacity as an inspiration and an artistic leader of our Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. I am so glad he could play with us until his very last days, and I believe his being among us gave us all hope and inspiration for our own lives as musicians. I know that he was respected and deeply loved by all of the musicians of the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, and he will be forever and deeply missed among our ranks. It will be impossible for all of us not to constantly think of him when we are next together. We will always reflect on his work ethic and his unfailing grace, kindness and elegance, and for the magical moments he created in music for all of us. John was full of such life, energy and wisdom, and although we will all miss him deeply, his joyful enthusiasm for orchestral music will also always stay with all of us who were privileged enough to know and love him. Our principal bassoon chair will always have his name engraved upon it, and will henceforth be known as the John Cran Principal Bassoon Chair. His is a legend that will never be forgotten by any of us musicians, or by the audiences who were always so happy to celebrate his performances. John’s family is in our thoughts and prayers. On behalf of all of our musicians, we express our deepest condolences on the loss of an extraordinary man, father, musician and a true Australian musical treasure.

A tribute from Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the news of the passing of treasured Willoughby Symphony Orchestra musician and valued community member, Mr John Cran, who died peacefully in his sleep last night with his adored daughter Lucinda by his side.

Known for his quick smile and quiet determination, John was the principal bassoon player in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. Previously, he held the position of Principal Bassoon at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for just over 40 years.

An outstanding musician, John performed with many professional orchestras all around the world, including the Tasmanian and Western Australian Symphony Orchestras, playing under the great conductors. He also performed for the Queen at the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973.

An inspirational force as a player and mentor in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, John generously donated his time to support fellow musicians who greatly benefited 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. He also helped the bassoonists of the orchestra in maintaining their instruments, with many an emergency repair just before or during a concert.

It was my great pleasure to join John in November last year has he was awarded a 2019 North Sydney Community Award from Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, recognising volunteers and community organisations that undertake exceptional work to benefit the entire community. This award was very much deserved and I was very proud that John and Willoughby Symphony were honoured in this way.

John continued to perform and help people in their love of music until almost 92 years old and was an absolute inspiration to hundreds of musicians and thousands of audience members. Shortly before his 90th birthday celebrations he said, “I’m lucky that I still really enjoy playing the bassoon and have never tired of it”. I’m sure you join me in saluting him and his wonderful legacy. He will be sadly missed.

My deep condolences go to his daughter Lucinda, his family, friends and of course you – his musical family. At this unprecedented time, we are unable to gather to celebrate John’s life but look forward to doing so in the not so distant future.

WSOC footer banner