Alan Hodkinson: musician, innovator and benefactor

07 Nov 2022
Canberra lost a musical trailblazer last year with the death of Alan Hodkinson, founder of Glo Audio - Canberra's first professional music recording studio. Those who knew him reported that it was a project of love, passion and commitment and a source of support to many burgeoning musicians in our area. 
Born in the UK, Alan had started drumming when he was 9 years old and saw many legendary performers at a young age.  Later during his studies at Birmingham University, Alan jammed with a young Spencer Davis, however, Alans' preference for jazz drummers led him to a period where he played in a number of clubs in a quartet with UK free-jazz pioneer Evan Parker. 
During the early days of computing Australia was short of expert programmers and, in 1967, Alan was recruited in the U.K by the Australian Government and, together with his wife, Rona, emigrated to Canberra where Alan's expertise as a software developer and engineer lead to a long and successful career in the Australian Bureau of Statistics and then in his own company - Visasys. 
Alan had converted a garage at the rear of his house, in suburban Waramanga, into a sound-proof space for him to practice drums. It was during recording of some drum tracks that Alan's need for a better equipped recording studio gained momentum. In 1973 the conversion of Alan's drum studio into Glo Audio studios began.
In 1974, Glo Audio was formally opened and a new era in supporting the many creative musicians of Canberra began. This was done a collaborative partnership with Rob Thomsett and John Gyffyn, friends and colleagues.
Over the later period, Alan became an accomplished guitar player, in addition to being an accomplished drummer, and loved to play challenging pieces such as the Hendrix classic Little Wing.
The world of digital technology has changed the recording and studio scene dramatically making studio-quality recording available to anyone with a computer. However, for a brief but significant moment, Alan and his beloved Glo Audio studios were a core focus of Canberra's innovative and boundary-less music scene.
As Alan's health was deteriorating, he spoke to his wife Rona and son Michael, about what should become of his extensive collection of guitars, drum kits, recording equipment, etc. It was then realised that the ANU School of Music and the staff and students there could make great use of these items. We are honoured to be the carrying on the legacy of Alan Hodkinson and his passion for music making with these donated items. It is a fitting memorial to Alan as he facilitated the careers and aspirations of young Canberra based musicians for close to 50 years in a variety of ways.
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