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Composers

Each Wirripang composer is making a unique contribution to its stable of works which in turn is creating and leaving a lasting and available legacy for Australian culture.

Lindsay Aked’s melodic and clearly structural style is ideal for much of his music written with children and young performers in mind. Composer, once a musicologist, Jane Andino, with a grounding in classical music, then some jazz studies, a trip to South America all gave her a unique voice. Michael Atherton, writes works encompassing the screen and numerous other genres, including musical therapy, and collaborates with Indigenous Australian performers.  Paul Ballam-Cross started off in the Wirripang New Composition scheme and then he quickly became accepted as a full composer.  His interest lies in new music and is also fired by a desire to expand the use of the classical guitar into contemporary new music. Time spent in Papua New Guinea ignited in Betty Beath a lasting interest in the new sounds and rhythms of non-western music and she later expanded this interest by studying in Indonesia, the result of which is reflected in her instrumental, orchestral and vocal writing and her works have been performed extensively overseas. Early involvement in socio-political issues coupled with an interest in Aboriginal music led Colin Bright  to adopt Peter Sculthorpe as a mentor in composition. He explores the concept of awareness of space and place in his work.   Many of our composers foster the work of Australian authors, one being Diana Blom, who also writes works for piano, strings, percussion and now is including electronics into her music.  Colin Brumby is one of Australia’s most frequently broadcast and performed composer with a formidable list of works in many different genres.  In the 1970s he turned against atonality, which was prevalent at this time and his works from then onward feature his distinctive style of tonality.  Robert Burrell has enjoyed considerable academic success which has now extended into his compositions which have attracted world wide exposure. Joanne Burrows is a passionate educator, and in pursuit of this calling she has been very successful  in writing music education compositions. To say music is in the blood of Gregory Butcher is an understatement - he is a fourth generation musician.  He is both a performer and composer  of considerable note and achievement.  Kim Cunio's interest in world and Islamic music has led to a number of awards and commosions including film and TV.  He has taken this love into his academic career.  The scholarly pianist, composer and innovator, Nigel Butterley, has left a lasting legacy for many generations to come. His work has been influenced by Tippett, Messiaen, Cage and of late, Gubaidulina.   Her 70th birthday saw Ann Carr-Boyd chosen in the top 100 of ABC Classics survey of chamber music.  Her output has resulted in performances in Europe and extensive performance in Australia and her involvement in music has been lifelong following in the footsteps of her musical and artistic parents.  Another teacher is Steve Clark who also conducts and draws on tonality and atonality as he uses, amongst many other areas, his interest in astronomy.  Teaching frequently extends into participation of music camps and Ian Cooper is one who took this road in addition to composing for brass and the many diverse ensembles that are found therein.  Colour and quotations from the Pacific locale added to European heritage (lyricism and structural sense) mixed into a jazz improvisation context characterise the works of Bruce Crossman whose interests in abstract expressionist painters and poetry, drawn from the Pacific region, may be seen in each of his compositions.  Writing for brass also attracted teacher and performer, Hugh Dixon who composed extensively in this area and then expanded to include voice writing for his daughter, Wendy, Dixon as well as including horn works for his son, Michael.  Conducting played a large part in the career of John Wayne Dixon who lectured and tutored at Wollongong University while somehow finding the time to compose a number of outstanding orchestral, ensemble and vocal works.  Playing in orchestras leads to composition as is the case with Michael Dixon who has his own ensemble for which he composes producing brass, percussion and vocal works enjoying performances throughout Australia and the world.  A profound interest in American music coupled with an Irish quirkiness (see some of his titles) characterises Houston Dunleavy who is a scholar and composer extraordinaire in a broad number of genres. Carmelo Galea began musical studies at an early age and became a professional Bandmaster, which led him to composition. Helen Gifford's initial interest in theatre music expanded to wiriting for film and later large choral and orchestral works.  For her considerable cultural output she has been awarded on OA and honourary Doctorate of Letters. Vincent Giles, a self taught jazz musician turned to composition in a serious way, studying at both conservatorium and university, a study which is ongoing at the time of writing.  His passionate interest lies in central and south-east Asia and will no doubt expand to other areas in the fulness of time.  Classical training together with studying jazz vibraphone and jazz harmony and arranging, influenced the work influenced  Ed Goyer, a performer and teacher in the main but he is now producing compositions fusing musical elements, in particular from Japan and East Asia, with his jazz interests.  Inspired by the sound of nature and birdcalls Michael Hannan  has composed extensively for concert hall, stage, screen, and digital distribution, he also is involved in musical experimentation. Diversity of musical interests and influences inhabit the sound world of Amanda Handel giving her a distinctive voice evidenced in her compositions which embrace, piano, flute, saxophone, percussion and brass.  Visual images and text are a source of inspiration for Andrew Helberg an expat living in South Korea. Alan Hinde was a student of piano and started composing for that instrument, until later in life he completed his Ph.D in theorectical organic chemestry.  His interest in music continued, using synthesisisers conventional  and new acostical instruments.  He has also composed piano and orchestral works. Acting provided May Howlett with an income for many years until she found time to teach music which lead her back to her original love, composition where she seeks to explore the more unusual aspects of the instrument for which she is writing. The icon, Miriam Hyde remains one of the foremost Australian pianist and composers of the 20th century; her work encompassed teacher, examiner, lecturer and writer of numerous articles and analyses for musical journals.  Her contribution to Australian music will endureFor atmosphere and evocative music characterised by beauty, intensity and richness of material look to Jonathan Little whose work is well known overseas.  A diversity of background is demonstrated by Brennan Keats the son of professional musicians who always had music in his life albeit in an amateur capacity and came back to it strongly when Wirripang changed from a book publisher to  music publisher.  Composition was just like coming home after a long period in a vast wilderness he has been knwon to say.  Horace Keats has been described as the “Schubert of Australia".  He was essentially a songwriter but also composed for radio plays, film, ballet and other incidental music; his contribution as a songwriter has endured since his untimely death in 1945.  Shaking the hand of Benjamin Britten at the age of six ensured the musical carrer of David Keeffe, offspring of musical parents, would continue and flower as it surely has done.  His works have been extensively performed by orchestras, including the MSO and bands over many years. Also from an artistic and creative background is Jocelyn (Jo) Kotchie who embraced an earlier career in fashion design before moving back to teaching piano and composing, specialising in works for young people. Jenny Lee-Robins has spent a lifetime in music both as a teacher and performer. She is passionale about women composers and has promoted them extensively. Ji-yun Lee is driven by her Catholic faith to create music as a way of supporting migrant people experiencing difficulty in a new environment; her composing is cross-cultural in nature with a strong feminine inter-cultural identity in her work.  A warm and vibrant performer, Gavin Lockley, baritone, composer and academic has written works with a strong Australian flavour, including “Symphony of Australia” and a series of songs based on bush ballads.  John Martin’s considerable experience as a vocal coach and pianist lead him to write a number of works reflecting his love of voice and jazz.   Mark Matthews’ other life centres around teaching, not only piano but civil engineering, however, he is more at home on the platform and for this he has written a number of piano works that not only benefit students but are finding their way into musical therapy. Renaissance repertoire has extensively influenced the work of Clare Maclean.    Mark McEncroe is largely influenced by the French Impressionists coupled with a love of Japanese gardens and other aspects of the East help him with his eclectic compositional skills.  Justin McKay uses his considerable performing experience as a source of compositional inspiration.  Organist and conductor, Brett McKern, has sourced his living from Church musical appointments and it is here that he has written extensively for organ and choirs; he is strongly influenced by the rich liturgical and music traditions of the Anglican and Catholic churches.  Expressing the timberal sounds conceived by his imagination has enabled Peter McNamara to write a number of successful orchestral works that have been internationally recognised and as well, being extensively performed in Australia. Ric Mills extensive interest in screen music   has expanded to other areas including orchestral and choral.  Musical directorships, composing and producing are all familiar to Frank Millward who also lectures in composition, jazz, popular music and music technology at various universities as he explores the cross-disciplinary relationship between science, technology and art and all its implications.  Kenja Communication Training has played a large part in shaping the music of Carolyn Morris with its focus on the subtle energies of communication permeating her works. Piotr Nowotnik is a musician with eclectic tastes with a strong interest in the diverse instruments of the world from which follows in his desire to create world music, ranging from ancient traditions to the present day. The sounds of inland Australia in jazz are found in the works of Stephen O’Connell who has ‘gone bush’ on a number of occasions and recorded his experiences and impressions in musical notation and sound.  Paul Paviour is a composer and organist who feels very strongly that the health of any musical culture lies not within the flagship companies but with the local choral societies and chamber instrumental groups, and it is here that he has directed much of his writing. Adrian Pertout has an extemely impressive academic record, an equally impressive record of commissions, performances as well as being a prolific published writer of numerous articles on music, CDs musical technology and book reviews.  A keen interest in tonal idioms as well as the energy and rhythmic propulsion in many popular music styles influences the work of John Peterson is heard extensively in Australia and overseas.  Influences of Rimsky Korsakov, Mahler, Bax, Walton, Janáček and Delieus, to name only a few maybe found in the works of Kevin Purcell whose compositions are performed both at home and overseas.  A career of physical education balanced with a participation in choirs characterize the life of Sylvia Rice whose compositions are strongly melodic with a dance-like rhythm evidence of a strong and passionate nature.  Working as a piano and guitar teacher John Spence is also a freelance composer who has explored a number of solo instruments, in particular, the harp. The work of Andrew Schultz covers a broad range including chamber, orchestral and vocal works which have been performed and broadcast internationally.  The highly awarded academic and composer Larry Sitsky, continues to make an substantial contribution to the promotion of music worldwide.  Robert Stove writer, editor, broadcaster, organist and choir master has composed since his early years; he writes mainly in the area of religious music and is strongly influenced by Hindemith, Walton, Honegger and Reger.  One of the best known promoters of Australian composition is Margaret Sutherland who once said, “they [Australian composers] experience public indifference and a profound sense of isolation”; she was a legendary teacher and source of inspiration for young poets, composers and artists and remained throughout her lifetime a tireless ambassador for the promotion of music.  Wendy Suiter in her mid 30s, decided to follow her passion for music through the formal study of composition.  She is influenced by the intellectual rigor of both counterpoint and serial techniques and searches for the passion of the romantics.  Hollis Taylor blurs the lines between classical, jazz and folk music and lectures “the music of nature and the nature of music” which is fed by regular field work documenting a number of Australian birds.  Being recognized as a leading secondary and tertiary educationalist is only part of the talent of John Terry who extends this to writing film scores, being a pianist and holding a life-long interest in theatre. The overwhelming sense of antiquity in the ancient rain forest and rushing waterfall in her property gives Jennifer Trynes a source of inspiration; hers has been a lifetime interest in music education and composition from which she has produced a wide variety of piano works as well as tutor books for junior students. Nicholas Vines has been described as compelling original, extravagant and wild, what else can a composer want? Phillip Wilcher was described by Miriam Hyde “as one composer who can succeed in a medium of sensitivity in spite of the ugliness and violence predominating in so many countries”.  He has further been described by Dr Jeanell Carrigan as one who can “transport the listener to a café in Paris or to the top of a mountain in Java, his skillful use of harmony, rhythm, tempi creates the perfect atmosphere”.  Tony Wheeler has a fascination with Chinese composition and this is shown in his works particularly for woodwind instruments while he maintains a busy teaching schedule.  Keyna Wilkins flautist, pianist and composer draws her inspiration from the French impressionists, Asian folk music and contemprary Australian composition. Stephen Yates' greatest love is writing for small ensembles, solo instrumentalists and especially for voice and harpsichord.