He is a conductor born in Sydney, Australia, and his surname is pronounced “Bonning”.
He studied piano at the Royal College of Music in London but gave up his scholarship, choosing to continue private tuition in the piano and as a singing coach. One of his pupils was the soprano Joan Sutherland , and after accompanying her on tour they married and worked together on recitals until 1962 and since then he has been her conductor on most of her appearances.
He is also passionate about ballet and he has recorded many of the well-known ones alongside the ones that have been neglected over the years.
His service to music was recognized in 1977 when he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). in 1983 he became an Officer of the Order of Australia which was promoted to Companion in 2012, in 1989 he was made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2009 he received the Sir Bernard Heinze Memorial Award.