Julie-Anne O’Reilly

Julie-Anne O’Reilly graduated from the Qld Conservatorium of Music after 5 years study during which she was leader of the Conservatorium Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. She was also leader of the Qld Youth Orchestra which traveled and performed extensively throughout Australia and overseas.
She then moved to London to study with the renowned Frederick Grinke and performed in numerous concerts with the London Mozart Players.  Julie-Anne has played with the Qld and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, She has also been Concert Master of the Qld Pops Orchestra since 1992 and celebrated 21 years in that position in March 2013.  In her time as Concert Master, Julie-Anne has led the Orchestra on tours to Sydney, Melbourne and Wellington, New Zealand. She has also been guest Concert Master of the Wellington Sinfonia in New Zealand and of the State Orchestra of Victoria. She has also been the leader of the orchestra for the Australian Opera’s Brisbane seasons of “My Fair Lady” and “Pirates of Penzance”

Julie-Anne has had an exciting career to date spanning symphony orchestras, opera, ballet, chamber music, recordings, teaching, theatre, radio and television.  She has worked with many accomplished performers and groups including Tommy Tycho, Anthony Warlow, Eric Idle, Billy Joel, Dionne Warwick, Julie Anthony, ELO and the late Colin Harper, Rob Guest, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Michael Bolton, Sarah Blasko and Glen Frey.

Julie-Anne teaches violin to numerous students of all ages and is an AMEB string examiner.


As Concertmaster, Julie-Anne O’Reilly has led the Queensland Pops Orchestra through more than two decades of transition and progression. Under our respective Conductor/Music Directors Colin Harper AM MBE, Barrie Gott and Patrick Pickett CSM, Julie-Anne has played an integral role in molding the Pops into what it is today: a dedicated group of musicians, all with one thing in common – a sheer love and desire to entertain  audiences with great orchestral and vocal music from all genres.

Before being appointed Concertmaster by Colin Harper in 1992, Julie-Anne was well established as a violinist of recognized stature. In 1979 Julie-Anne – then a student at the Queensland Conservatorium – became Concertmaster of the First Queensland Youth rchestra (now known as the Queensland Youth Symphony), and upon  graduation she undertook two years of further studies in London.

Julie-Anne has performed with professional orchestras in both England and Australia,  including the Queensland Symphony and the former Queensland Philharmonic. But the role for which she will most fondly be remembered is that of the Pops’ beloved ‘first lady’ – one Julie-Anne has cherished and nurtured over twenty-three years of superb stewardship.

Where does one start when reflecting on Julie-Anne’s contribution to the success of Australia’s favourite light entertainment orchestra? A good starting point would be 1988 – the year Brisbane hosted World Expo – and a year jam-packed with concerts and corporate functions. Julie-Anne had joined the ranks of the Pops’ first violin section, and she quickly established herself as a dynamic contributor who, only four years later, would rise to shepherd the Pops to great acclaim as Concertmaster.

Once described in-house as a founding member of the ‘Pops Arsonists Society’ (a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement that Julie-Anne could singlehandedly set off an alarm when she played molto vivace), it is her professionalism and untiring dedication to the orchestra that will leave a lasting legacy of fond memories for us all. Wherever the Pops has performed – from dusty, rainy, windy outdoor concerts to the elegant sanctuary of the QPAC Concert Hall – Julie-Anne has been a trusted beacon of authority, always on hand to provide guidance, assistance and reassurance.

Julie-Anne has performed many sensational solo turns during her tenure as Concertmaster, including her unforgettable front-of-stage sequences in The Gael and Lord Of The Dance, which headlined our hugely successful “Scotland The Brave” concert tours to Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand in the early 2000s. Pops audiences will hold their own special memories of Julie-Anne’s exquisite playing, whether they be the classic solo passages in Love Unspoken, Fiddler On The Roof, Schön Rosmarin, Meditation, or Romance from The Gadfly.  Perhaps you remember some magic  moments from our film canon, which has included Julie-Anne’s heart-rending  performances of the themes from Schindler’s List and Cinema Paradiso.

A particularly special occasion was our “2 By 2” concert in October 2005, when Julie-Anne was joined on stage by her daughter Cara to play the beautiful slow movement from Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor. And who could forget Julie-Anne’s masterful leadership when the entire violin section took  centre stage to perform show-stopping renditions (from memory no less!) of the legendary Scottish Fiddles medley … note-perfect and smiles all round, as is Julie-Anne’s way.

The role of Concertmaster of a professional symphony orchestra is not for the faint-hearted. It entails many weeks of preparation in advance of staging a concert –ensuring all the strings parts are correctly bowed, and of course a regular practice schedule to cover all those memorable and technically demanding solos.  Then when all this is done, the long highway drive to and from Julie-Anne’s home on the Sunshine Coast … how’s that for commitment!

As a fellow long-time member of our beloved Pops Orchestra, I recall with great fondness my first meeting with Julie-Anne, when we both found ourselves “on the job” together for a Pops concert in King George Square during that incredible Expo year.  I knew of Julie-Anne through our mutual association with the QYO, but I’d never had the pleasure of meeting her.  I’ll never forget the huge smile she gave me across the podium as we sat ready to play; a smile Julie-Anne has continued to share ever since, as we have joined forces for every conceivable musical occasion – from string quartets to Mozart dress-ups at tropical resorts to palm court salon ensembles to full-scale Pops concerts … and we’ve enjoyed them all.

Julie-Anne, on behalf of all your friends, colleagues and the wider Pops  community, we thank you for your superlative musicianship and commitment.  We salute you for the immense contribution you have made to The Queensland Pops Orchestra’s success. We pay tribute to your talent and expertise, and hope that the next chapter of such a rich and rewarding musical career will bring you much happiness and fulfilment in the years ahead.

To quote the great Cole Porter, you’re the top!

Christopher Patrick (Cello)