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Richard Rourke graduated with merit from the Sydney Conservatorium in 1988, having studied clarinet with Gabor Reeves and John St George. He spent two years freelancing in London, studying under Margaret Archibald and John McCaw.
Since 1992, Mr Rourke has been a permanent member of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, performing at the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet. He has worked with international conductors including Richard Bonynge, Simone Young and Richard Hickox, and with singers including Luciano Pavarotti and Bryn Terfel.
Mr Rourke has performed and recorded widely as a soloist and as a chamber musician. He is a member of the contemporary ensemble The Gallery Players under the directorship of Sydney composer Alan Holley, with whom he has had a close association for 20 years.
In addition, Mr Rourke has worked with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australia Ensemble. He played with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on its transatlantic tour in 2010, performing at the Tanglewood Festival in the United States and at major European summer festivals.