About

I was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and lived in Australia from 1969-1978 and from 1989 to the present day. For ten years I lived in the USA, Hong Kong and Malaysia and the sounds of these countries are heard in some of my music. I’m a composer and keyboard player – piano, harpsichord, toy piano – and am currently recording new works for viola and piano by Australian composers for the project ‘Australia East and West’, with violist Dawn Bennett. I am very interested in Australian and New Zealand writers and have set to music words of David Malouf, Helen Garner, Jocelyn Ortt-Saeed, Chitra Fernando, Tim Malfroy, Robyn Ravlich, Peter Goldsworthy, Lloyd Jones, Basil Dowling and Jennifer Rumsey, plus some Walter de la Mare poems. Two of the settings are what I call long songs – a setting of a Garner short story, an excerpt from a Goldsworthy novel ‘Maestro’, and an excerpt from Jones’s novel ‘Here at the end of the world we learn to dance’. Scores are published by Wirripang Pty. Ltd., Orpheus Music and Wai-te-Ata Press, and some of my music and piano and harpsichord playing is available on CD.

In the last few years I’ve been collaborating on projects with other musicians in which music is written especially for the project.

‘War Letters – musical settings of WW1 letters’ was funded by an ANZAC Centenary Local Grant Program. Four commissioned works by Larry Sitsky, Diana Blom, Elliot Gyger and Nicole Murphy, were performed 7 and 10th November 2015 in the Ku-ring-gai Town Hall, Pymble, by Halcyon – Artistic director, mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong, Alison Morgan (soprano), Clive Birch (bass), James Wannan (viola), Josephine Allan (piano) and Kaylie Dunstan (percussion). The Cavalcade of History and Fashion presented a display, Home Front Keepsakes and Nurses Uniforms, at the concerts, and support for the War Letters project was received in-kind from Ku-ring-gai Council and Western Sydney University.

‘Multiple Keyboards’, co-curated with Michael Hannan, features music for 2-4 pianos/toy pianos, with new works by Andrián Pertout, Paul Smith, Michael Hannan, Diana Blom, Felicity Martin performed by Antonietta Loffredo, Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg, Michael Hannan, Diana Blom, Jennifer MacRitchie, Paul Smith, Paolo Puentes, Felicity Martin. The performance in Sydney was 8th December, 2016, and the CD has being recorded for release in 2017. Many works from the program will be performed in the Salone Enrico Musa, Concert season of the Associazione Carducci, Como, Italy, on 16th May, 2017 by Adriana Mascoli (pianoforte e toy piano), Antonietta Loffredo (pianoforte e toy piano), Sabina Concari (toy piano), Sivia Padovani (toy piano).

‘Playing with Fire’ is a project of new music for live acoustic piano and electroacoustics co-curated with Ian Stevenson. Ten Australian composers have written works for the project and Australian pianist, Tamara Anna Cislowska, has performed and recorded the works. The CD ‘Playing with Fire’ is currently being mastered by Ian Stevenson.

Perth-based, viola player, Dawn Bennett and I asked composers to write for ‘Australia East and West’, a project of new music for viola and piano and we’ve played several of the works in concerts in Perth (Dawn’s city) and Sydney in 2013, thanks to an APRA grant. We’ve given several lecture/recitals of the works, and are currently recording them for a CD.

‘Antarctica’ is a project of new music for piano and/or toy piano, with Antonietta Loffredo. An international group of composers has written for the project, and Geoff Paul and some of his associates have assembled images of Antarctica to go with the project’s concerts. A CD was released titled ‘Antarctica’ by Wirripang Pty. Ltd.

‘Shadows and Silhouettes’, a project that began in a Shanghai restaurant, consists of piano pieces composed for the project by Australian, Singaporean, Italian and Malaysian composers, exploring the Chinese-Western confluence. Some of the pieces were first played in Shanghai, but Antonietta Loffredo has played the works in Sydney, Wollongong and several concert venues in Italy. We asked David Cubby, a photograph with an interest to China, to provide images and these often accompany the ‘Shadows and Silhouettes’ concerts. A CD ‘Shadows and Silhouettes – new music for piano with a Chinese-Western confluence’ has been released through Wirripang Pty. Ltd.

‘Childhood in Music’ is the brainchild of Italian pianist, Antonietta Loffredo, and she gave live performances plus we produced a CD in Sydney (the second CD in the project) of piano pieces by Australian (UWS staff and students) and Italian composers.

My music studies were at the University of Canterbury (NZ), the University of Sydney (PhD on minimal music as a student compositional impetus) and the University of Michigan (musicology). Composition studies have been with Peter Sculthorpe and Ian Farr. In 1974 I was Composer–in–Residence with the Australian Opera who commissioned a children’s opera, ‘The Pied Piper’. Other theatre and film works include music for an ABC-TV series ‘Daisy Bates – four essays for televsion’; music for Alitji in Wonderland, the Marionette Theatre of Australia’s shadow puppet translation of ‘Alice’s Adventures’ into Pitjantjatjara; and music for ‘After the Rain’ a short film by Noeline Lucas. Several music theatre works have been written for children – ‘The Muffin Fiend’ (book by Daniel Pinkwater), ‘Twelve Characters in Search of Christmas’ (libretto Kate Hardy and Pauline Courtney), ‘Journey to Australia’, ‘The Swagman’ (libretto by Amy McGrath), ‘The Golden Bird’ (book and libretto by Chitra Fernando) – and these have been performed in Australia and Hong Kong.

I have been teaching in Music in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Music, Western Sydney University, since 1994 when the Music department was opened. With Matthew Hindson and Damien Barbeler, I’m co-author of ‘Music Composition Toolbox’, a textbook for upper secondary and tertiary composition students, published by Science Press. Research articles have been published in British Journal of Music Education, Research Studies in Music, Psychology of Music, International Journal of Music Education plus Sounds Australian. Poems for children have been published in ‘The School Magazine’, a publication for primary school children in New South Wales.