Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Jonathan Chancellor

16 May 2015

Peter and Doris Weiss buy composer Peter Sculthorpe's Woollahra cottage with philanthropic intent

Peter and Doris Weiss buy composer Peter Sculthorpe's Woollahra cottage with philanthropic intent

The longtime Woollahra home of the late composer Peter Sculthorpe sold at auction this afternoon.

It was sold at $3.75 million to Peter and Doris Weiss, who Title Tattle gleans are set to establish a music fellowship in residence centre, in Sculthorpe's honour.

There were four bidders at the onsite Goodyer auction which saw bidding open at $2.6 million for the three bedroom cottage that sits on a 302 square metre block diagonally opposite the Lord Dudley Hotel.

There was an initial 84.4% weekend auction success rate for Sydney, according to Australian Property Monitors, down slightly on last weekend's revised 86.2% result.

Peter Weiss was spotted in the leafy street well ahead of the 2pm auction, while Doris only turned up when bidding was at $3.4 million.

The internationally renowned composer was best known for his orchestral and chamber music, most notably his 1988 piece Kakadu.

His generosity in life continued after he died last August, aged 85, with a bequest to establish a chair in Australian music at Sydney University, funded in part by the sale proceeds. 

Now it seems likely charming Holdsworth Street cottage, which Australia's most famous composer purchased in 1976, will become a music fellowship in residence centre. 

It had a price guide of more than $2.75 million through Goodyer's Pauline Goodyer.

Neighbours were the underbidders. Music students appeared to be in attendance. 

Sculthorpe's portrait by artist Eric Smith won the Archibald prize in 1982, which can be viewed in the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra having been purchased with funds from the Basil Bressler Bequest 2004.
The original 1967 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra recording of Sculthorpe's 1961 classic, Irkanda IV, with violin soloist Leonard Dommett and conductor John Hopkins (recorded in 1966) was among the 2008 inductees into the SOUNDS OF AUSTRALIA national registry.
Peter Weiss is one of Australia’s most successful businessmen and arts philanthropists. Born in 1935 in Vienna, Peter came to Australia in 1939, brought up in a musical family where from childhood he had a passion for playing the cello.

Peter was educated in Sydney and developed his business “Weiss”, almost four decades ago to become a highly successful leader in the fashion industry.
He has focused his known charitable energies on the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Symphony and the University’s Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where Weiss studied.
After the auction he advised the Sculthorpe studio will remain a home for music

The Weiss's may periodically live in the Holdsworth Street house - they reside at the other end - but the intention is to turn the studio into a venue for masterclasses and recitals.

“I wanted to cherish it and keep it there for the purpose of music, particularly for young people,” he said.