June 10, 2019

Music industry pioneers recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours

Music industry pioneers recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours

Four pioneers of the Australian music industry were among those gonged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Monday (June 10).

They received the Member of the Order of Australian (AM) or the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).


Frank Stivala started out as a booking agent in Melbourne in 1974, and went on to promote the careers of thousands of musicians as managing director of Melbourne’s Premier Artists, and as partner in Sydney’s Harbour Agency and partner and director of Frontier Touring, currently third largest tour promoter in the world.

“I’m very humbled,” Stivala told TMN this morning.

“I had a great passion for music. Not being a musician, the next best thing was to become in the back-scene and be a pioneer of the music industry.”


Fifa Riccbono started out in 1968 just out of business school as a secretary to an executive at Alberts, then worked up to A&R manager, general manager and finally became the first female CEO of an Australian music company.

She helped oversee the rise of Alberts, which after #1s with The Easybeats and Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs in the ‘60s, went on to strike hard with AC/DC, John Paul Young, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Flash & The Pan, Stevie Wright, Cheetah, The Choirboys, and Ted Mulry, among others.

Fiercely protective of her acts, Malcolm Young of AC/DC said of her, “She was always there, from the first day, really.”

APRA awarded Riccobono the Ted Albert Award for her contribution to the industry at the 2015 APRA awards.


Ian James was managing director of Mushroom Music Publishing since 1986 until stepping down last December to consult. He continues as its on the boards of APRA, AMCOS, the International Confederation of Music Publishers and the Independent Music Publishers Forum.

A sharp negotiator, James led his company to being one of the Mushroom Group’s consistently profitable divisions.

He also highly regarded for articulating the industry’s push for copyright protection and protection of songwriter and composer rights, and the face of Australian music publishing by executives around the world.


Setting up Peter Rix Management (‘PRM’) in 1972 in Sydney, Rix spent 15 years looking after with great marketing savvy the careers of Marcia Hines, Jon English, Richard Clapton, Mark Holden, Hush, Billy Field, Sharon O’Neill and Anne Kirkpatrick.

He was also event producer of the ARIA Awards for 14 years, the APRA awards, the Narara festival, the 1979 ‘Concert of the Decade’ on the steps of the Sydney Opera House before 250,000, as well as the entertainment manager for various sporting code grand finals.

In 2011, Rix received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Australian Event Industry, manages Hines, and is the creator/producer of burlesque, circus, disco theatre show Velvet.

Companion of the Order of Australia  (AC)

Hugh Jackman


Ross Cunningham received the outstanding contribution to the live performance industry in 2017 at the Helpmann Awards, which is one initiative he helped set up. He ran venues as Brisbane’s QPAC and Sydney’s Entertainment Centre and Capitol Theatre.

R&B singer-songwriter, producer mentor and charity activist Guy Sebastian

Margaret Fischer, chair of Adelaide’s LGBTIQ+ festival Feast.

Comedian and actor Eric Bana and longtime supporter of youth issues  including Youth Off The Streets

Frances Gerard for services to South Australia’s hospitality industry, and to the arts.


Darren Hayes, a co-founder of Savage Garden, turned actor.

Singer and performer David Campbell.

Radio and television personality Carrie Bickmore.

Perth social political songwriter Bernard Carney whose work reflects his interest in refugees, First Nation rights, landmines and the arms industry.

Kelvin McWhinnie, one-time director of Sydney’s Theatre Royal.

Kathleen Peters, “for service to the entertainment industry on the Gold Coast.”

Sydney composer David Reeves, who work covers musicals, orchestral, and opera.

ABC radio presenter and one time at AFTRS, lecturer Lisa Sweeney, turned author.

Karate master Constantino Aka-Tino Ceberano, father of musicians Kate and Phil.

Roland Gridigerr, Sydney lawyer and executive officer of 37 years of the Music & Opera Singers Trust.