Richard Chew

Professor Richard Chew is Director of the Arts Academy at Federation University Australia. He studied at the University of Birmingham and the Royal College of Music, and began his professional career as a singer, before focusing on composition, under the mentorship of Judith Weir CBE and Mark Anthony Turnage CBE. He subsequently undertook Advanced Composition studies with Louis Andriessen and Peter Sculthrope at Dartington.

Richard’s music encompasses works for solo voice, choral and instrumental music and music for theatre and film. His music is often inspired by visual or literary source material and is charactised by its transparent, lyrical melodic lines, subtle rythmic shifts and complex, jazz-inflected harmonic voicing.

Richard co-founded the professional a cappella vocal ensemble The Shout with fellow composer Orlando Gough in 1999.  This group recorded and toured internationally for over a decade, winning many awards and established ‘a blueprint for 21st century choral singing’ (The Times). Richard’s choral work Tall Stories became the centrepiece of a ‘staged song-cycle’ directed by Rufus Norris (Director of the National Theatre), which toured the UK, USA and Vienna Festival. He collaborated with Norris on two further projects, the opera The Spirit Level for English National Opera’s Youth Company The Knack, directed by Rupert Goold CBE, and Sleeping Beauty, for Young Vic Theatre Company (Barbican, London and New Victory Theatre, Broadway).

Richard’s commissioned works include operas and music theatre works for the Baylis Programme at English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Music in the Round (Sheffield Crucible, Lindsay Quartet), Wonderful Beast Theatre Company, Ensemble 360 and Lindbury Studio, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His oratorio Stari Most, commisioned for the 750th Anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral, has also received performances in Adelaide, London and Ballarat, in a Concert for Compassion, featuring guest artist Lior. This work was the focus of his PhD, (completed at UniSA in 2015), which looked at the role of music and performance in the memorialising of tragic events and as a pathway for peace and reconciliation.

Richard’s music has been widely performed in the major concert halls in the UK, including the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall (Southbank Centre), Barbican Theatre, Wigmore Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Sage Gateshead, Bridgewater Hall Manchester and Millenium Centre, Cardiff.  His music has featured in the Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Festival of Arts and Ideas (Connecticut, USA), Vienna Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Three Choirs Festival (Hereford Cathedral), Norfolk and Norwich Festival (Norwich Cathedral), Amsterdam Choral Biennale, Haarlem Festival (Holland), Waterloo and St. John’s Festival (London), Bath International Music Festival, Purcell Room and National Portrait Gallery (London).

Richard’s solo piano work The Last of England was premiered at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2016 as the official opening event of the Australian Historical Association’s Annual Conference, with a specially-curated exhibition The Last of England: Emigration in Prints. In 2021, he founded the Inscape Piano Trio, with international concert violinist Dunja Lavrova and cellist Lachlan Dent.

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