About Me

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I was born in Northern Ireland, live in Australia, and am a composer, conductor and actor. I am Head of Composition and Production at The Australian Institute of Music and Musical Director of the Sydney Male Choir. I've been Visiting Composer at Universities and schools and my music has been performed in Australia, the USA, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, China, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico by many international concert artists and ensembles. My compositional interests include music for orchestra, the theatre (including dance), the voice and the church, the combination of electro-acoustic and acoustic resources especially in real time, the exploration of virtuosity and indigenous Australian music. I've conducted in festivals and concerts all over the world, as well as acted in too many professional theatre works to list here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

...one more thing....

Todays is my 16th wedding anniversary. You'd think I'd get tired counting, but no: it's nowhere near enough.

This is why I teach

I teach because I get the chance to meet with, mentor and learn from talented people who, at least in the case of the program I currently teach into, may not have anywhere else in this country to study. We can say all we like about our pedagogical method, our financial viability, future plans etc., but the proof of what we do comes out, in the end, in the quality and originality of music that these young artists produce.

For want of a better term, we are an experimental music composition program. We use what we have to hand, be it the latest gadget on the computer market (preferably free of shareware!) or a second-hand viola, or a bicycle wheel - anything that makes a sound in fact. The more dramatic and visual it can be the better at times. Our students have created instruments for their works that are as much sculptures as they are musical instruments, and they are encouraged to break down the barriers between what might be considered more pedestrian definitions of "music", "sound", "sculpture", etc. This is hardly a new idea, but it's very surprising how challenging it is to the artistic community even now, and how it really doesn't seem to be something the rest of the community has embraced either - at least on a conscious level.

In the coming weeks, I'll post some pics and video of the concerts the students have recently mounted, which will all be available on youtube. Meanwhile, to whet your appetite, and to illustrate what I'm talking about, here's a video my Faculty made last year of our first year students performing improvised music live and outdoors, some with instruments they had found/bought recently/built.

It contains an interview with me, but you can fast forward through that. I seem not to have slept for the previous two years if this shot is anything to go by.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A second chance

It's been a long time since I blogged. It just hasn't seemed like I had anything to say. I think it's time gave blogging a second chance though, because right now I feel that I've been given one over the last six-to-eight months.

Soooooooo here I go again. I'm not going to use this as a platform for what to say or even my opinions of other people. This will be only about music - mostly mine, and anyone else's which happens to take my fancy.

It's the most interesting thing I can think of - far more so than the minutiae of my daily life, or my musings on events and things about which I know precious little. For heavens sake, I know little enough about music and that's supposed to be what I'm best at!

Also, because I'm a cheapskate, this can do double duty as my website :))