In Memoriam William Duckworth


I met William Duckworth once. Just once. At the Mini[]Max Festival in Brisbane in 2002, where he was a featured composer and Topology were giving my Pieces of Eight its Australian premiere. My cousin and I took along our laptops and played in a performance of Duckworth’s Cathedral during the Festival, an amazing experience – my first real experience of improvisation, made safe by Nora Farrell’s curating what was being transmitted from the laptop performers in the theatre and over the internet.

After Pieces of Eight was played, Duckworth asked me to send him some of my scores. For one reason and another – largely to do with my tumbling into an extended period of self-doubt and composer’s block – I never did. But I never forgot that he asked, and over the past few years of resurrecting my composer-brain, it’s always been at the back of my mind, assessing when might be the right time to send him something and see if he had time for a lesson or two.

It won’t happen now. But I will be forever grateful to Bill Duckworth, for showing that interest, for giving me something to work towards and enabling me to remind myself that he saw something in my work that was worth pursuing, that there was something in there that might be worth resuscitating. It’s entirely possible that without that little remark, I might not be where I am today, starting a Masters degree in Composition.

Thank you, Bill. Thank you for your music, your ideas, your writings and your interest in me on the basis of one mad little piece. Rest in peace.