Spotlight on Australian Composers Pt.1

In light of our new competition supporting Australian composers, Composing the Future, over the coming months we will spotlight some well known and some lesser known Australian composers. Read on to discover and listen to the first of these composers:

Dulcie Holland

Dulcie Holland(1913-2000) was a Sydney-born composer who made an immense contribution to Australian composition. Holland wrote over 330 compositions from documentary films, chamber music, works for orchestra, instrumental solos, many keyboard works and at least thirty songs. She began her studies at the NSW Conservatorium under Frank Hutcheson and later studied under Roy Agnew before moving overseas to study at the Royal College of Music.

Returning to Australia, Holland continued to compose including for post-war documentary films with the Department of the Interior. Dulcie’s books on musicianship and the technique of writing music remain an invaluable educational contribution which are widely recognised.

To gain an indepth knowledge of Dulcie, listen to this lecture, by co-author of Dulcie Holland’s Biography, Rita Crews OAM here.

Take a listen to our 2nd Prize winner Artem Yasynskyy’s performance of Scattering of Leaves in the Preliminary Round below

Carl Vine

One of Australia’s more well-known composers – Perth born Carl Vine AO first came to prominence in Australia as a composer of music for dance, with 25 dance scores to his credit.

His catalogue includes 8 symphonies, 12 concertos, music for film, television and theatre, electronic music and numerous chamber works. His piano music is played frequently around the world including his newest concerto for piano four hands Zofomorphosis – commissioned by San Francisco based ZOFO Piano Duet. Amongst his most acclaimed scores are Mythologia (2000), Piano Sonata (1990), Poppy (1978) for the Sydney Dance Company and Choral Symphony (No. 6, 1996) for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra

Discovering Carl Vine’s Toccatissimo during the 2016 Sydney International Piano Competition, American pianist Lindsay Garritson commissioned his fourth Sonata in 2019 and subsequently recorded an entire cd of his music, Aphorisms of Carl Vine. Listen to the premiere here:

Here’s first prize winner Alexander Gadjiev perform Five Bagatelles – which he won the prize for best performance of an Australian work.

Carl Vine Photo Credit: Karen Steains

Robert Keane

Robert Keane is a North Queensland pianist, composer, musical director and conductor. He studied piano at NSW Conservatorium and later at the Queensland Conservatorium where he graduated in both piano and composition. He studied in London, Helsinki and has written many scores for theatre, including A Moon of our Own. He has toured regularly in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.

During our Sydney Festival Concert 12 Hands 6 Grands, we saw the world premiere of three movements of a two-piano Suite dedicated to Artistic Director Piers Lane by the entertaining Robert Keane. Keane and Lane premiered the third movement of the Suite – ‘In Memoriam Nancy Weir’ (Nancy being their mutual piano teacher) – on July 13th, 2015, the centenary anniversary of Nancy’s birth.

The Nancy Weir movement was cleverly based on piano concertos she used to play. But these three pieces, reveal, like parts of Grainger and certainly of Sydney-born Arthur Benjamin, an attraction to Latin-American dance.

Listen to a snippet of the world premiere below, performed by Stephanie McCallum, Sonya Lifschitz, Natalia Ricci, Yanghee Kim, Elena Kats-Chernin, Tamara-Anna Cislowska.


Composing the Future

Australian composers are invited to submit a new or unpublished solo piano piece for consideration by a panel of eminent Australian pianists. The panel, led by Artistic Director, Piers Lane AO, will select a winning work, which will be awarded $20,000 and receive a world premiere by Alexander Gadjiev, the winner of the 2021 Sydney International Online Piano Competition. Up to five other entries will be awarded cash prizes of $2,000 each and given public performances by the jury pianists during 2022.

Click here for more information