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At the heart of the music with Ian Suren

At the heart of the music with Ian Suren

With a laugh, Ian describes his late wife Hilma as “a music-loving Kiwi”. From his special memories and funny stories, it is clear music played a unique and special role in their lives together.

Hilma Marie Suren

“By her own admission, Hilma simply loved classical music, without necessarily knowing much about it.  Back in 1954 when on our Honeymoon and driving up to Scotland, she asked what was the beautiful music playing on the car radio. I told her it was Schubert’s Die Forelle.”

“For our 50th wedding anniversary, I wrote to the ABC to request this be played for Hilma on the morning of our celebration. Emma Ayres called me, and, to my surprise, she allowed me to record my voice introducing and dedicating the piece. As it went to air during our celebration, everyone was delighted and surprised - especially Hilma. However, unbeknown  to me, she had also written to the ABC a few days later, requesting the same thing! So, the next minute, Hilma’s voice was heard on air and Die Forelle played again!”

“Very sadly, Hilma died in July 2017.  We had been married for 63 years and were followers of classical music in all its different forms and in concert halls around the world.  Some 30+ years ago when I was working in Montreal for the UN, we attended a Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert with Yehudi Menuhin as soloist. To cap off the evening, we were then invited to Zubin Mehta's house for dinner with Yehudi and other family members!”

“My wife and I were among those privileged to have been invited to attend the official opening of Melbourne Recital Centre’s Elisabeth Murdoch Hall back in 2009, and then to attend the following opening concert. We often wondered why we had been so honoured, and over the years since then, attended many concerts there and, more recently for me, in the Salon.” “I have magical memories of music with Hilma in seats S31 and S32. We loved to sit near the back, on the end of the row. During intervals we would quickly escape downstairs: I would grab two glasses of champagne, while she saved us two armchairs in the foyer!”

Seat S32 is dedicated “Hilma Marie Suren (1922-2017)”

Ian Suren is one of Melbourne Recital Centre’s inaugural Name a Seat patrons. Naming a seat at Melbourne Recital Centre is a unique way to honour a special person, commemorate a significant event, or simply celebrate a love of music.

To find out more about how you can Name a Seat in Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, please contact Leonie Thompson, Philanthropy & Bequests Coordinator, on (03) 9207 2648 or

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