An introduction to Australian music

For anyone interested in finding out more about Australian music, I have compiled playlists on Spotify and YouTube for what I’ve been able to find. I also have quite a lot in my own personal collection – I will add more information about this here (what I’ve listed below is just a few CDs off the top of my head which might be hard to find otherwise) – just let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like to follow up on or explore.

These are just a starting point – I’ll keep adding to both playlists. Also working on an Australian popular music playlist which I’ll add here once it’s done…

Further Reading

Andrew Ford, Composer To Composer
A book of composer interviews, including several Australians – Richard Meale, Peter Sculthorpe, David Lumsdaine, Ross Edwards, Moya Henderson, Liza Lim, Nigel Butterley, Gerard Brophy, Barry Conyngham, Roger Smalley, Martin Wesley-Smith
Andrew Ford is himself an Australian composer (born in UK) so these interviews are pretty interesting.
2 copies in Jerwood Library

Rosalind Appleby, Women of Note
A book of profiles of Australian women composers, highlighting the important role women have played in the development of Australian contemporary classical music. Composers include Margaret Sutherland, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Miriam Hyde, Mary Mageau, Ros Bandt, Elena Kats-Chernin, Mary Finsterer, Sarah Hopkins, Cathie Travers, Cat Hope, Gail Priest.
Not sure about library availability, but it’s available from Amazon either as a paperback or on Kindle. A bit more general than Ford’s book, which is quite composery, but a fascinating read.

The Australian Music Centre
Australia’s answer to Sound and Music but more like BMIC was, with a collection/library and represented composers. The website includes a massive list of represented Australian composers with biographies (under “Find music”) & links to websites, plus the online journal Resonate.

If you really want to get more into reading about Australian music, I recommend you try to find back issues of the hardcopy Sounds Australian journal published by the AMC. In particular if you are interested in the question of landscape, there were two issues back in the late 80s which specifically looked at this and contains submissions by a number of composers, talking about how they respond to landscape. An (online) issue of Resonate also specifically looks at the topic A Sense of Place. I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in landscape in music, it might be a good place to start.

Anne Boyd: Landscape, spirit and music: An Australian story (PDF)
2002 lecture delivered to the Arts Association

Writing by me

Peggy Glanville-Hicks: A composer’s search for leisure and silence

Composers without borders (on young Australian composers influenced by popular music)

Down the rabbit-hole: Martin Wesley-Smith, David del Tredici and the influence of Lewis Carroll

Australia: Exploring the Musical Landscape (book – rather out of date now as it hasn’t been updated since it was published in 1998 but still could be a useful overview if you can find it here – covers classical, popular, jazz, indigenous, etc. My copy’s still in Sydney)

Personal CD Collection

Nigel Westlake: The Hinchinbrook Riffs

Peggy Glanville-Hicks: The Songs

watt: watt/ever (electronic music)

Martin & Peter Wesley-Smith: Boojum! Nonsense, truth and Lewis Carroll – A Musical

Satsuki Odamura (koto): Burning House: Australian compositions for the koto

Jeanell Carrigan: 3 CDs of Australian piano music: But I Want The Harmonica…, Hammered, Spin

Andrew Ford: Whispers

Margaret Sutherland: Piano music

Carl Vine: Choral Symphony and Piano Concerto, 3 early symphonies (out of print)

Tamara Anna Cislowska: Dance of the Wild Men: Early 20th century Australian piano music