Photograph courtesy of the Australian Music Centre
One of Australia’s best known and most performed composers, Ross Edwards has created a distinctive sound world which seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore its traditional association with ritual and dance. His music, universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries surrounding humanity, is at the same time deeply connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws inspiration, especially birdsong and the mysterious patterns and drones of insects. As a composer living and working on the Pacific Rim, he is conscious of the exciting potential of this vast region.
Ross Edwards’ compositions include five symphonies, concertos, choral, chamber and vocal music, children’s music, film scores, a chamber opera and music for dance. His Dawn Mantras greeted the dawning of the new millennium from the sails of the Sydney Opera House in a worldwide telecast. His compositions often require special lighting, movement and costume.
Recent commissions include ‘Sacred Kingfisher Psalms’ for The Song Company, Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Edinburgh Festival; a Piano Sonata for Bernadette Harvey commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium; Full Moon Dances, a saxophone concerto for Amy Dickson, the Sydney Symphony and the Australian symphony orchestras; ‘Five Senses’, a song cycle to poems of Judith Wright; The Laughing Moon for the New Sydney Wind Quintet; Zodiac, an orchestral ballet score commissioned for Stanton Welch by the Houston Ballet; String Quartet No. 3, Summer Dances, commissioned by Kim Williams for Musica Viva Australia; and Animisms, for the Australia Ensemble. Frog and Star Cycle, a double concerto commissioned for saxophonist Amy Dickson, percussionist Colin Currie and the Sydney Symphony, will have its premiere in the Sydney Opera House in July 2016. He is currently working on commissions from Musica Viva Australia and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
(Ross Edwards’s notes are reproduced with kind permission from the AMC website at www.australianmusiccentre.com.au)