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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

December Premiere!!

It's started already: the publicity for the premiere of my concerto for Viola and Symphonic Winds called "A Kiss Before The World's End", written in memory of my friend and former student, Daniel Pearl, who was beheaded by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan in 2002. Along with my string quartet "Absence", this work forms my tribute to Danny as we approach the tenth anniversary of his death on 1st February 2012.

Both of these pieces are scheduled to be performed this year, with "Absence" to be premiered in October in Los Angeles and "Kiss" to receive its first performance by American viola virtuoso Brett Deubner and the Granger Wind Symphony, conducted by Roland Yeung at Melbourne's Iwaki Auditorium on Saturday 3rd December, 2011.

Here's the poster for this concert!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sydney Male Choir at the Sydney Town Hall

Yes, it's the BIG one for the year. In a year of great concerts, this is the one that stands out as the Sydney Male Choir takes over the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday, 4th September at 2 pm. As it's Father's Day, the concert's theme is "A Father's Life and Love", and it will focus on pieces that reflect the full experience of being a father ‐ from the love and devotion he has to his partner in life to the stresses and joys of dealing with what makes him a dad ‐ kids!

Bookings can be made through the choir's website. Get in early to avoid being disappointed! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Yes, Peter Sheridan has done it again - created a marvellous CD and work of art called "Monologues and Dialogues" on the legendary Move Records label. He has recorded my "Serenade" for contrabass flute. Click here to order! I can't tell you the excitement I get when this happens! Someone other than my wife thinks my music is good! :)


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A quickie...

It's simply this, which sort of answers the title of this blog in a way I didn't expect from a Christian writer.

"The journey is the goal. And the road is made by walking".... Rev. Kurt Neilson.

I like this :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Upcoming premiere

In the midst of everything else that's exciting and wonderful here, I'm having a fairly old piece, which has been revised a number of times, premiered in Adelaide by some pretty nifty young players. If you live in Adelaide and are reading this, you should go. Sadly, I can't - so I'm counting on YOU!

The concert is called:

Panorama: A Selection of Australian Chamber Music from the last 20 years

Just click on the link above to get the details!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Back again!!!

It has been  a VERY long time since I made an entry to this blog. I didn't  get swamped with tons of questions about where I was or why I wasn't blogging! lol!

I suppose what with Facebook and living a fairly active freelance life these past few months, I haven't given this blog much thought - either about what to put in it or whether or not to make the time to do so.

Simply put, what is the purpose of this blog when I've already got a website, a publisher and a Facebook page (I have not yet sunk to tweeting) which all trumpet my little life over the ether?

Well, with this post anyway, I will sum up may last few months and let you get on with your life once you've read it.

I've been conducting a lot with the Sydney Male Choir so far this year. I've actually stopped counting the number of concerts we've had since March. I think it's in the region of 10 or so, with about as many to come. The choir is undergoing a slow but steady transformation in repertoire and singing style, which is a little uncomfortable for some. However, they are sticking with it. They are brave men - and never more so at the 4:30 am service on Anzac Day!

I had a very quick trip to Bangkok to take part in Tubamania 2011, where my piece "Flying in Paradise" for four euphoniums and two tubas was premiered. It will be performed at a number of Festival around Asia this year, as well as at the 2011 Melbourne International Festival of Brass. As well as these other performance,s two new piece came out of that Festival - one for Matt van Emmerick for euphonium and piano, and one for Steve Rosse for tuba and piano They will be premiered in the USA and Portugal respectively. There are a lot of new piece happening for me in other areas too: a string quartet in Los Angeles, a solo piano piece in Newcastle, England, choral pieces in Newcastle and Syndey NSW and goodness know what else.

I've also become a CD reviewer for Music Forum magazine, which is the magazine of the Music Council of Australia. To read the mag either in paper or online, you simply become a member of the MCA (quite easy) go to http://www.mca.org.au/index.php and follow the prompts to obtain membership :)

I'm also doing some teaching at the Australian Institute of Music which is in Sydney. So there's a tough commute once a week (and whenever I'm needed to fill in for someone else - it's useful being an academic generalist :). It feels good to be teaching again - and very nice to be paid again, though I should point out that my gig with the Sydney Male Choir is paid as well!

Well, that's a start. It's a general picture of things in my life right now. It'll be time to get specific in the next blog post. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sydney Male Choir at the Basketball!!

I had a great time on Friday night! The Sydney Male Choir, whom I have the honour of conducting, debuted at the Sydney Entertainment Centre singing the National Anthem and two other pieces (including a version of "The Saints Go Marching In" which was re-titled "When The Kings Go Marching In") as both warm-up and halftime entertainment for the Sydney Kings basketball in front of 9,000 people. The Sydney Kings Lion and announcer, Rodney O, joined in the latter, much to everyone's delight. It was a serious blast for everyone involved! Dignitaries and high fives everywhere!

This image is the choir singing the National Anthem. A terrific night for all of us, and plenty of "you have to come back" remarks. The Premiere of NSW, Barry O'Farrell even said, "You Were Good!" I wonder is he's going to be Minister for the Arts in the new state government?

So the lads go marching form strength to strength. It's going to be a great year!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Flying in Paradise

Here's the video of the premiere performance of this piece at the 2011 Tubamania Festival by Matt van Emmerick, euphonium, Steve Rosse, bass tuba and the E-tan quartet, conducted by James Ogburn.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Live from Bangkok

I've just spent a couple of extraordinary days at Steve Rosse's brilliant Tubamania Festival, held in Bangkok this year. My work for four euphoniums and 2 tubas, "Flying in Paradise" was premiered on Thursday night here (youtube video will apparently follow!)

There are lots fo great players from around S.E Asia here, many from Europe and the USA orginally, who are all very much at home here. The food has been brilliant, and Bangkok is its usual energetic, friendly, chaotic self, full of smells and sound - a complete assault on the senses.

I leave here with a long list of things to do, new friendships made and tremendous respect for a large group of players who specialise in low brass and who are as committed to their craft as any other serious musician.

I've also taken my first rides in a tuk-tuk and have come away knowing I have now stared insanity in the face and refused to blink. Those drivers are crazy!

And Bangkok is sinking. In 25 years much of it will be underwater. What shall we do for a new one?

Back to Sydney in a few hours to conduct the Sydney Male Choir in Kiama on Sunday afternoon. What a time to be alive.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking forward to 2011!

After a summer of Shakespeare, in which I played Dogberry in a professional production of "Much Ado About Nothing" (including some really nice scenes with my daughter, Margaret, see one below!)
it's time to get 2011 organised from the point of view of being a composer and conductor!

Full details are on my website but here are a few highlights:

A plethora of conducting gigs with the Sydney Male Choir the first one of which is on 8th March.

Several world and Australian premieres. These include:
26th March. World premiere of my "Flying in Paradise" for 4 euphoniums and 2 tubas at the 2011 Tubamania International Festival in Bangkok, Thailand! The performance will feature Matt van Emmerick, international euphonium artist, Steve Rosse, principal tuba of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the E-Tan quartet. 

10th July, Syzergy Ensmble, to give Austraian premiere of "To The Ends of The Ocean" for flute, clarinet and piano, for The British Music Society of Victoria (existing as Lyrebird Music Society, Inc)  at Wyselaskie Auditorium, Uniting Church Centre for Theology and Ministry, 1 Morrison Close, Parkville, Vic.

3rd December, world premiere performance of "A Kiss Before The World's End", my concerto for Viola and Symphonic Wind Ensemble; Brett Deubner, vla and the Grainger Wind Symphony conducted by Roland Yeung.

So it's a good start to the new freelance life, and who knows what else will turn up? There's  some teaching to organise and other projects on the boil with some fantastic artists. Stayed tuned!!