Did you know?

There are about two hundred active composers in Victoria. As their works appear in events on the Continuo website, we will add information about them here. Or at least we will try to keep up as more and more works by local composers are programmed.

In the meantime, you can check out composers at the Australian Music Centre website.

Katy Abbott

The music of Katy Abbott (1971) leads the listener through a narrative of sound, exploring concepts of home, place, connection and human nature, frequently exhibiting a cheeky humour and cleverly juxtaposing contemporary flavours on traditional settings. 

Abbott’s compositions have been performed, published and recorded around the world, brought to life by many of leading Australian chamber ensembles including HalcyonThe Song Company, Syzygy EnsembleFlinders Quartet and Sydney, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. Her works have been performed in UK, Europe, Asia and the USA and featured in many Australian and International music festivals.

Michael Bakrnčev

Multi-award-winning Michael Bakrnčev is one of Australia’s most highly driven and successful young composers.

Michael was awarded  a highly coveted Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), studying with acclaimed composers Elliott Gyger and Brenton Broadstock.

Bakrnčev’s music has been performed extensively throughout Western and Eastern Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

Nat Bartsch

 

Nat Bartsch is an ARIA-nominated, multi-award-winning Australian pianist and composer who creates lyrical, ethereal work that explores the space between classical and jazz genres. Her sound is influenced by Australian piano luminaries Luke Howard and Andrea Keller, studies with ECM pianists Tord Gustavsen and Nik Bärtsch, and the indie heroes of her upbringing: Sufjan Stevens, Elbow and Radiohead. She has released seven recordings of original music, toured domestically and internationally, and collaborated with some of Melbourne’s finest artists.

Nat also composes chamber music, with commissions for Plexus Collective, Solstice Trio, The Muses Trio, Matt Withers & Sally Whitwell.

Andrew Batterham

Andrew is a composer, trumpet and keyboard player. Classically trained but experienced in the commercial and contemporary music industries, he likes to blend all of these. His screen and corporate work includes short film scores, TV commercials, live arrangements, music for corporate events and a little for theatre. He’s equally at home synthestrating with samples or recording live musicians in the studio. Several playlists and podcasts use his music, whilst some songs have been included in Australian TV soundtracks.

Dr Calvin Bowman

Dr Calvin Bowman is a distinguished composer and performer who has been a prominent figure in Melbourne and the wider Australian classical music scene for many years. A Fulbright scholar and Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University, his major focus is the composition of art song, with his ‘Touch the Air Softly’ nominated for numerous awards.

He is a laureate of the Ned Rorem Award for Song Composition, the Diana Barnhart American Song Competition, the English Poetry and Song Society Artsong Award, and been commissioned and performed widely by ensembles throughout Australia, the UK and the USA.

 

Deborah Cheetham

Deborah Cheetham AO, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator has been a leader and pioneer in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Cheetham was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for ‘distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance’.

Cheetham’s list of commissions for major Australian ensembles continues to grow, including works for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Australian String Quartet, West Australian Symphony Orchestra String Quartet, Rubiks Collective, Plexus Ensemble, Flinders Quartet and the Goldner Quartet.

Lisa Cheney

Lisa Cheney (b.1987) is an Australian composer of acoustic and acousmatic music, hailing from Queensland and now living in Melbourne. Her body of work incorporates orchestra, chamber, voice, acousmatic collaborations, arrangements and works for theatre and ballet.

Her music has been commissioned and performed by The Southern Cross Soloists, The Australian Voices, Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, Plexus, Syzygy, Sydney Antiphony, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Ballet amongst others.

Meta Cohen

Meta Cohen (she/her or they/them) is a queer composer, sound designer, performer and dramaturg. Their work spans music, theatre and interdisciplinary art. They are currently based in Melbourne, Australia, on the unceded land of the Yaluk-ut Weelam people.

Meta’s music has been commissioned by ensembles such as the Sydney Children’s Choir, Luminescence Chamber Singers and Mosaic Voices, and performed in diverse venues ranging from the Powerhouse Museum to the Sydney Opera House. Recently, Meta was the first non-male composer to have a piece performed by an Orthodox Jewish choir in the United Kingdom. In her composition work, she particularly loves to explore the properties and theatrical potential of the voice, often combining this with electroacoustic elements. She is currently composing a commissioned work for ABC Classic FM.

Barry Conyngham

After studies with Peter Sculthorpe (1965–69) in Australia and with Toru Takemitsu (1970) in Japan, Barry established himself in the following decades as one of Australia’s international composers, with premieres and performances of his works in Japan, North and South America, Europe, the UK and at home. Notable premieres in the last few years have been in Palma, Hong Kong, Boston, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, Vienna, and St Petersburg.

Over his career he has published almost 100 works (Universal Edition and Hal Leonard) and released over 60 recordings and videos, including those by the London, Netherlands Radio, New Zealand, and all Australian Orchestras, as well as ensembles and soloists from Poland, Japan, the UK, Europe, Russia, America and Australia.

In 2016 he was appointed Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne. In 2021 Conyngham returned to full-time composition.

 

Tim Dargaville

Tim Dargaville is a composer, pianist, percussionist, and teacher who is a distinctive voice in recent Australian contemporary music. Central to his work is a nurturing of authentic musical expression that encompasses cultural diversity.

Tim Dargaville’s compositions include work for the concert platform, theatre, and dance, and have received international recognition with performances at festivals in many countries. In Australia his music has been broadcast on ABC national radio and television, featured in the Melbourne and Sydney International Festivals, awarded the prestigious Albert Maggs award, the Jean Bogan prize and an Ian Potter Music Commission.

Kym Dillon

Kym Dillon is a composer; arranger; orchestrator, pianist and conductor, who is currently based in Melbourne and Geelong. Starting out her career as a jazz pianist, Kym’s interest soon turned to composition, and her work now regularly spans multiple genres and areas of musical practice.

She completed a Bachelor of Music Performance Honours in composition at the Victorian College of the Arts, studying under such teachers as Anthony Lyons, Mark Pollard, and John McCaughey.  Kym has had original works commissioned by such groups as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Astra Chamber Music Society, and Musica Viva. Her work is often inspired by reflections on the nature of imagination and creation — what it means to create and what our creative compulsion says about us.

Melody Eötvös

Melody Eötvös (1984) was born in the Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia. Her work draws on both multi-media and traditional instrumental contexts, as well substantial extra-musical references to a broad range of philosophical, biological, and ancient topics as well as a sustained interest in late 19th-century life and literature.

Eötvös has had her music performed by ensembles and orchestras such as the London Sinfonietta, BBC Singers, The Australian String Quartet, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and has participated in several electronic music festivals including SEAMUS 2011 (US), ACMC 2012 (Australia), and ICMC 2011 (New Zealand). She has also participated in numerous festivals and workshops internationally, most recently as a composer in residence with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz (2019).

Current commissions include The Philadelphia Orchestra (USA), The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra (USA). Eötvös is a Lecturer in Composition and Aural Studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Mary Finsterer

MARY FINSTERER is a composer whose practice extends from the concert stage to the screen. Credits include her award–winning opera, Biographica. Presented by Sydney Chamber Opera and Ensemble Offspring in association with Carriageworks, it enjoyed a sold-out at Sydney Festival in 2017. Film credits include Shirley Barrett’s feature film South Solitary, her score of which was a finalist in the Film Critics Circle Awards. Fellowships include a NUFFIC Royal Netherlands Government award and Churchill Fellowship.

She has been the featured composer in the ABC Classic FM Pedestal Programme and numerous portrait concerts including ANAM Australian Voices, Melbourne Recital Centre and Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Opera House. Other accolades include Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize, IRCAM|Ensemble Intercontemporain Award and numerous Australian Art Music Awards. She has represented Australia in five International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals.

Kenji Fujimura

Dr Kenji Fujimura is pianist, chamber musician, and a multi-award-winning composer.  Self-taught, he explored and researched an extensive range of compositional styles and idioms from traditional Western music notation to visual and graphic scores, aleatoric music to world music styles. His current musical language reflects upon history and tradition. His works have been performed throughout USA, Romania, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. New commissions to be premiered in the 2021-2022 seasons include works for solo piano, cello/piano duo, and piano trio, including a new work supported by the City of Melbourne. His music is distributed by Universal Edition (Vienna).

Stuart Greenbaum

Having studied composition with Broadstock and Conyngham at the University of Melbourne, Stuart Greenbaum holds a position at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music as Professor and Head of Composition. He is the author of over 230 works including 23 sonatas, 7 string quartets, 5 piano trios, 7 concertos, 5 symphonies and 2 operas.

Greenbaum’s music is heard regularly in Australia and abroad. Nelson, a 3–act opera with libretto by Ross Baglin, was presented in London in 2005 and premiered in full at the 2007 Castlemaine State Festival. Their second opera, The Parrot Factory, received a 5-show season in 2010 staged by Victorian Opera at The Malthouse. Major choral works include The Foundling (1997) and Brought to Light – Symphony No.5 (2020), commissioned by Cantori New York and From the Beginning commissioned for the sesquicentenary of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in 2003.

Luke Howard

Australian Music Prize long-listed composer Luke Howard has been described as “absolutely heavenly” (Mary Anne Hobbs, BBC Radio 6) and his music as “an ambient masterclass” (Musos’ Guide), but words cannot capture the potency of Howard’s enthralling compositions. A pianist since childhood, Howard has scored films and performed with artists as diverse as Lior and Jeff Mills, capturing audiences with contemporary classical arrangements that curl and twist around the boundaries of a particular emotion. Though wordless, Howard’s songs perform a function unique to music as a medium – that of evoking without describing, bringing listeners to a feeling which defies articulating.

Alice Humphries

Alice Humphries is a highly versatile and eclectic composer working across and in-between the contemporary classical, jazz, and experimental worlds. Her music has been described as “bursting with life and fun, as well as great, great beauty” and “deeply thought-provoking…offering both moments of incredible intensity and sublime serenity.” Her output includes electro-acoustic, chamber, and orchestral music, as well as music for dance, documentary and film. She seeks to create evocative, immersive, and engaging sound worlds that take inspiration from natural phenomena, and intersections between humanity and nature.

Gordon Kerry

Gordon Kerry is a composer and writer based on north-eastern Victoria. In 2021 his work has been featured in an extensive tour by the Omega Ensemble (Clarinet Quintet), at the Adelaide Festival’s Chamber Landscapes Series (Clarinet and Viola Quintets, and in concert with the Australian Chamber Choir (Seven Last Words). Forthcoming performances include his Sinfonia concertante with Alison Mitchell, Irit Silver and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Christchurch Monody for The Marais Project, a new Mass and a Violin Sonata for Musica Viva.

Recent works include music for Plexus, Elysian Fields, Acacia Quartet and Halcyon; his Piano Trio No.3 for Firebird Trio, The Snow Queen (his fourth opera, to a libretto by John Kinsella) for Victorian Opera, a violin concerto, and a Second String Quintet for the Australian String Quartet and cellist Pieter Wispelwey. Other operas include Midnight Son (to Louis Nowra’s libretto) for Victoria Opera and Medea (to Justin Macdonnell’s libretto). His orchestral music includes works commissioned by the ABC, BBC, Symphony Australia, and the Australian and Sydney Youth Orchestras and includes seven concertos, a symphony and various tone-poems. He was ANAM’s inaugural composer-in-residence in 2008.

Linda Kouvaras

Professor Linda Kouvaras is a musicologist, composer and pianist. She holds a continuing position in Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, the University of Melbourne, and publishes in contemporary music, both classical and popular, focusing especially on Australian music, postmodernism and gender issues in music.

After several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s playing in rock and New Wave/Punk bands and for theatre productions, Linda resumed classical piano studies in the UK in 1984, returning to complete her studies at the Faculty of Music, University of Melbourne, under A/Profs Ronald Farren-Price and Max Cooke, culminating in a Masters Degree in Piano in 1991. Her research work was supervised by Dr Brenton Broadstock, Dr Naomi Cumming, and historian Dr David Goodman and led to her PhD in Musicology in 1996.

Recordings of her works and piano performances appear on Move Records, ABC, Cicadia and Irida Classical labels, and on independent release. Her compositions are played at recitals and festivals nationally and internationally. She has full composer representation with APRA-AMCOS and also publishes with Reed Music. Her solo CD is Kouvaras: PianoWorks (Move Records, 2000) and the most recent CD recording to feature her music is “Art and Life”; “Sleeping Girl”, Myrsini Margariti, Soprano, Effie Agrafioti, Piano, on Greek Muse (Athens: Irida Classical, 2020). A three-CD release of her Chamber Music is planned for recording through Toccata Classics (London), 2022.

Matt Laing

Matt is a freelance composer and viola player currently based in Melbourne, Australia. His music, “described as thought provoking and unusually beautiful”, is fundamentally driven by an interest in story telling through sound, typically around themes of social connection and environment.

Matt has been writing music since he started university, sketching ideas whilst training to be a viola player. Following a successful participation in the Flinders Quartet’s 2017 composer workshop, his first big commission Out of Hibernation was premiered by the Quartet in 2019 through which he was awarded an Ian Potter Cultural Trust grant to work on the quartet with mentoring from Brett Dean in London and Berlin.

Matt’s first work premiered overseas, Portrait of Blood, was performed in London on a tour by Affinity Quartet and Lotte Betts-Dean in February 2020. Other compositional engagements have included works for the Australian String Quartet, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Players, ANAM and Wattleseed Ensemble, with current commissions including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Affinity Quartet and Z.E.N. Trio through Musica Viva. Matt is a Musica Viva FutureMaker for 2021-23.

Photo: Sharon Gertner Photography

Cameron Lam

Cameron Lam (b.1989) is a freelance composer, the Artistic Director of Australian hybrid-art production company, Kammerklang, and the Art Music Specialist at the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA AMCOS).

Named in 2020 as one of The Music Network’s 30 under 30 future leaders of the music industry, Cameron’s career has focused on collaboration, interdisciplinary practice, and entrepreneurship. His music has been described by Limelight Magazine as “a fantastical world in which mythological stories come to life” and “infused with a Northern European sensibility – dark, emotional, restrained”.

May Lyon

Composing in the leafy outer east of Melbourne, Lyon’s music explores a range of themes, from deep human emotions, representations of nature to mathematical concepts, as well as the lighter side of life. Stylistically eclectic, Lyon’s compositions move from dramatic and intense, to quirky. Narrative, precision, duality and rhythm are all strong recurring elements. Lyon is currently studying a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney as part of the 2020-21 Composing Women Program. In 2022 Lyon’s first opera, Pieces of Margery, is planned to be performed by More Than Opera under the baton of Alan Cook. Upcoming collaborations are with Ensemble Offspring, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows.

Kevin March

Kevin March is an award-winning composer whose works have been performed nationally and internationally by Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria, Edmonton Opera, One Ounce Opera, PLEXUS, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, Ironwood Ensemble, Halcyon, Sarah Curro, the Arcko Ensemble, the ASTRA Chamber Music Society, Chronology Arts, Brave New Works, and the New York City Opera.

Caerwen Martin

Caerwen is a cellist and composer who works internationally as a new music specialist and improviser. Caerwen has worked at some of the world’s major festivals and venues in Australia, USA, Western Europe, Scandanavia, The Balkans, South Africa, Japan, Taipei and New Zealand with internationally celebrated musicians, composers, film directors and actors. Caerwen is the artistic director of Silo String Quartet, which she founded in 1998.

Her compositions are broadcast and performed internationally. Caerwen is represented by the Australian Music Centre, having written for performers and ensembles such as the ACOCollective, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Arcko Symphonic,  Inventi Ensemble, SiloSQ and Syzygy Ensemble.

Richard Mills

Richard Mills is deservedly one of Australia’s most sought after composers and music directors. In recent years he has pursued a diverse career as a composer and a conductor, which has seen him working with a large number of the nation’s music organisations.

Some of Richard Mills’ most recent compositions include a score for the Australian Ballet and his Passion According to St. Mark which premiered around Australia in 2009.  His song cycle Songlines of the Heart’s Desire received its European premiere at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival and his Organ Concerto was premiered with Calvin Bowman and the Melbourne Symphony in August 2011.

Ian Munro

Ian Munro is one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians with a career that has taken him to thirty countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. As a composer, Ian is the only Australian to have been awarded the Premier Grand Prix at the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Composers (2003).

Since 2003, his works have been frequently heard all over Australia, with broadcasts on the ABC and BBC. Commissions from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra through a Symphony Australia residency led to ‘Blue Rags’ (2005), ‘Drought & Night Rain’ (2005) and ‘O Traurigkeit’ (2006), written for soloist Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello). In 2011 he was Featured Composer for Musica Viva’s international season, in which his piano trio ‘Tales from Old Russia’ (2008), String Quartet no.1, Clarinet Quintet and Piano Quintet no.2 were toured by the Eggner Trio, Brentano Quartet, Sabina Meyer and the Modigliano Quartet, and the Goldner Quartet with Munro as soloist.

Andrián Pertout

Andrián Pertout was born in Santiago, Chile, 17 October, 1963, and lived in Gorizia, Northern Italy for several years before finally settling in Melbourne, Australia in 1972. In 2007, he completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at the University of Melbourne on Tweddle Trust, Australian Postgraduate and Melbourne Research scholarships, studying composition under the guidance of Brenton Broadstock. He is the recipient of many awards for composition and of numerous commissions. As well as being a freelance composer, he additionally works as composition lecturer, teacher, supervisor and examiner at various institutions at Bachelor, Masters and PhD levels.

Jaslyn Robertson

Jaslyn Robertson is a Melbourne-based composer navigating an emerging career in music with advocacy for diversity in the arts. An excitement for unusual forms of expression, alternate tuning systems and innovation in notation has drawn her to unique instruments including the Theremin, double bell trombone, quartertone flugelhorn and analogue synths.

She has had pieces performed at the Bendigo International Festival for Exploratory Music and Tilde New Music Festival. In 2020 she received the Monash Animated Notation Ensemble commissioning prize with an online premiere and a commission for Ossicle duo supported by Creative Victoria and City of Melbourne.

Charlie Sdraulig

Intimacy, nuance, and quietude are the core themes of Charlie Sdraulig’s creative practice. His work often draws attention to the social dynamics of musical situations, focusing on subtle sonic and gestural behaviours.

Highlights include headlining I N T I M A T E, a festival produced by Kinetic (UK), where Gwenaelle Rouger (France), Marco Fusi (Italy), and Winnie Huang (Australia) performed one to one—a meditative, hour long experience for one audience member at a time. His music has been presented at numerous festivals internationally, and recently in ANAM Set (Australia). His works have been performed and commissioned by major soloists and ensembles in many countries.

He is currently a teaching associate at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and a tutor at Trinity College, The University of Melbourne.

Johanna Selleck

Johanna Selleck is a composer, flautist, and musicologist.

A prominent theme in her work is the connection between ourselves and the environment. Her research interests include cultural history, creativity and collaboration, and practice-based research. Much of her creative work at present centres around the  Melbourne Composers’ League and Asian Composers’ League concerts and annual international festivals.

She completed a PhD in composition at the University of Melbourne in 2006 studying under Brenton Broadstock.  She currently teaches composition  at the university, where she is an honorary fellow.

Luke Severn

Concert cellist, composer, and musical director, Luke Severn possesses a musical voice of great versatility and passion. Noted for his expressive performances and dynamic and engaging personality he is emerging as an artistic tour de force in the Australian musical landscape.

As a composer, Luke’s works represent a deep level of empathy towards time, place and emotions, with a particular focus on the intimacy of chamber ensembles. 2018 marked the premieres of two new chamber works, Beneath the Surface for soprano and string quartet (commissioned and premiered by Australian soprano, Kelsey Cotton) and “…when the world was young” for cello and piano. Both works represent a personal reflection on changes experienced through life, both in love and loss and the shared experience of a changing environment.

Clare Strong

Clare Strong (née Johnston) is an Australian composer and piano and theory teacher based in Melbourne. She has a Masters of Music in Composition from the University of Sydney where she was one of four participants in the inaugural National Women Composers’ Development Program run by the Sydney Conservatorium. She holds a Bachelor of Music in composition and piano from the University of Melbourne and an AMusA in piano.

Her works have been recorded by PLEXUS, the Goldner String Quartet, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and other soloists and duos.

Louisa Trewartha

Louisa completed a BMus in 2010 at the University of Melbourne, and in 2013 studied at the Australian National Academy of Music, mentored by trumpet pedagogues David Elton and Tristram Williams. 

Louisa completed a Masters in Scoring for Film and Visual Media in 2016 at Pulse College, Dublin, and in 2017 participated in the Australian Composers School with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She has since been commissioned to write larger ensemble works for groups such as Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, The Regional Centre for Culture, and The Mid America Freedom Band, and chamber works for Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Solstice Trio, Duo Eclettico, and Three Shades Black.

Alex Turley

Alex Turley is an Australian composer whose work explores the subtleties of musical texture through a fine atmospheric lens. Praised as ‘brilliantly accessible’ (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and possessing a ‘refined sense of texture and atmosphere’ (Partial Durations), his music has garnered international recognition.

Recent collaborative projects include Barra-róddjiba: a cross-cultural collaboration with all-woman rock band Ripple Effect and Kunibidji elders, a collaborative orchestral show with electronic music duo Electric Fields and New Homes: a concerto for Veena co-composed with virtuoso Hari Sivanesan. Alex was featured in the multi-composer initiative The ANAM Set.