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At the heart of the music: Milton Stevens

At the heart of the music: Milton Stevens

Milton’s life was devoted to music. He was one of those blessed people whose passion was his work as well as his hobby.

Milton And Kiera

Milton left school to work in radio. After three years at radio stations 3XY and 3AW, he moved to the ABC, where he stayed in various roles for 40 years. Much of that time was spent in the record library, preparing programs of classical music, and occasionally presenting them. He developed an extraordinary knowledge and love of a wide range of classical music.

Colleagues remember Milton’s irreverent sense of humour and ham acting. A close friend and former colleague said, ‘Milton could be Marcel Marceau with a dash of Groucho thrown in, for he was a very funny man with a sublime wit who has left all his friends a glorious legacy of remembered fun and laughter. In essence though Milton was a serious man, concerned with the profound issues of life. He was also very diffident, and it was this balance between his seriousness and his comic self that so delighted us all.’

Outside of work, Milton was a devoted father to his two children, Miranda and Richard. He also loved cricket and football; he remained a loyal Richmond supporter throughout his life.

For eight years he worked as Planning Officer with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, where he enjoyed contact with many famous local and overseas musicians, composers and performers. These include Percy Grainger, Krzysztof Penderecki, Aaron Copland, Jacqueline du Pré and William Kapell.

His time at the ABC also prepared Milton for other work which combined music, administration and teaching. He was a record reviewer for a range of publications including The Age, The Sunday Herald and The Bulletin. He presented pre-concert talks at Arts Centre Melbourne and coordinated concerts at St. Michael’s Uniting Church on Collins Street. He was a successful tutor at the Council of Adult Education and coordinated a Red Cross program, which introduced music therapy in nursing homes. In 1988 he coordinated a bicentenary project which gave older Australians training in radio production. 

In his retirement Milton became a volunteer at the community radio station, 3MBS, where he met his future wife, Kiera. Drawing on the vast knowledge acquired during his working life, he often devised special programs, including a series celebrating Bach. 

Milton found it hard to understand how someone could live without music. When asked if he believed in God he would reply ‘If there is a God, he spoke through Mozart and Bach.’

Kiera Stevens has dedicated seat A27 in Milton’s memory. 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