Max Olding and Pamela Page are a distinguished Australian husband and wife team of duo-pianists. They have performed separately in recitals and as concerto soloists, chamber music performers and accompanists both nationally and internationally, but are best known as a piano duo.
They met when they tied for first place in the inaugural Royal Concert Trust Fund Competition in London in 1954. They married in Vienna.
They performed as a duo for the opening of ABC Television in 1956. They have given many recitals in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Austria, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. In Australia they have appeared with all major and many regional orchestras.
Their repertoire is extensive and includes original two-piano works and concertos as well as arrangements and transcriptions. Larry Sitsky composed his Concerto for Two Pianos for this duo while he was lecturing at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. Many other works have been dedicated to them by composers including Felix Werder, Peter Sculthorpe, Philip Bračanin, John Carmichael and Margaret Sutherland.
The career of Maxwell Charles Olding AM has embraced conducting symphonic, choral, operatic and theatre works as well as teaching, administration and as organist and choirmaster.
He was born on 4 July 1929. He grew up in Launceston, Tasmania, where as a pianist he often competed against Peter Sculthorpe, who jokingly said he would concentrate on composing because he could never beat Olding in piano competitions. In 1950, at age 21, he was appointed an Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) Examiner. He won the Commonwealth final of the 1952 ABC's Concerto Competition.
He began his tertiary teaching career at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium. He was an adjudicator at the 1952 City of Sydney Eisteddfod and has since adjudicated at most of Australia’s major music competitions, has chaired many of them and has acted as external examiner for higher degrees at the Universities of Melbourne, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Southern Queensland and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
In 1952 he was a state finalist in the ABC Concerto and Vocal Competition.
He has held senior teaching and administrative positions in the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (Deputy Director and Principal Lecturer in Piano); QUT (Acting Head and Senior Lecturer); and City University of New York (Visiting Professor).
He is a Patron of the Music Teachers Association of Queensland, the Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild and is a Fellow of the Queensland Conservatorium. He has given many master classes and seminars nationally and internationally.
He is Deputy Chair and Principal Examiner (Instrumental) for the AMEB in Queensland. In recent years he has also worked extensively in Southeast Asia and New Zealand for the Board in examining and promotional activities.
Max Olding has held positions as President of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra Society and Deputy Chair of the Brisbane Institute of Art. He is Patron of the Queensland Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild and is a Life Member of the Queensland Accompanists Guild.
He is a Churchill Fellow.
Pamela Harcourt Page was born on 4 April 1934. She won an Empire Overseas Scholarship to study at Trinity College of Music, London, where she was awarded the Maude Seton Prize for the most outstanding student. She later performed on BBC radio and television and gave solo and concerto performances in London and the English counties. She was subsequently accepted into Walter Gieseking’s master class in Saarbrücken.
Back in Australia, she provided the close-up scenes of the pianist's hands in Wherever She Goes, a 1951 biographical film about Eileen Joyce (whose character was otherwise played by Suzanne Parrett). She gave many concerto performances in all capital cities, recitals on ABC radio, live TV appearances and also hosted a TV children's show. Later she was appointed as Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Music, University of Queensland. She is also a painter.
Max Olding and Pamela Page have one son, the violinist Dene Olding.
In January 1991, Max Olding was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his service to music and to music education.
The AMEB in Queensland have named their auditorium the Max Olding Auditorium.
Both Pamela Page and Max Olding were awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.