10 August 2014
Tributes for Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)
© Bridget Elliot
[Link list update 17 September]
The news of the death of composer Peter Sculthorpe, on the morning of 8 August, has quickly reached all corners of the world, radio stations broadcasting Sculthorpe's music, news about the loss of Australia's best-known composer appearing in the media, and tribute messages and reminiscences filling social media sites. Sculthorpe, who turned 85 last April and had been suffering from a long illness, spent his last days at Wolper Jewish Hospital in his home suburb of Woollahra in Sydney.
Peter Sculthorpe was born in Launceston, Tasmania, on 29 April 1929. He was educated at Launceston Church Grammar School, the University of Melbourne and Wadham College, Oxford. His catalogue consists of more than 350 works, and his music is regularly performed and recorded throughout the world.
Many of his works are influenced by or thematically linked to Australia, its nature, culture and history. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island music and the gamelan music of Indonesia all influenced the development of his unique, personal musical style. His preoccupation with the frailty of the human condition is reflected in works such as the choral Requiem (2004) and String Quartet No.16 (2006), works that grew from Sculthorpe's concern about civilian victims of the war in Iraq and the plight of refugees in Australia's detention centres, respectively.
Sculthorpe's most recent works included the String Quartet No. 18 (2010), Shining Island (2011) for strings, and Pastorale (1949/2013) for orchestra. Significant, recent premieres also included the first performance, in 2013, of the cantata The Great South Land. The texts and musical material for the cantata were reworked from Sculthorpe's 1982 television opera Quiros.
'Through his significant body of creative output, Peter Sculthorpe has represented a distinct and unique personal sound world, and has been a primary reference point for contemporary classical composition in Australia. Amid the public tributes for the creator of Earth Cry, Kakadu and the Sun Music pieces, we should also take time to listen to his music and to let it speak. Peter Sculthorpe will be remembered as a kind-hearted man, who cared passionately about human values, freedom and decency. We, along with so many in the music community, and all over Australia, mourn his passing', said John Davis (CEO, AMC) and Brett Cottle (CEO APRA AMCOS) in their joint statement on Friday.
> For AMC's resources about Peter Sculthorpe and his music, see his AMC Represented artist biography page, (biography, work list, events, articles, recordings, etc.).
Tributes, obituaries and news
'Vale Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)' - statement on 8 August by John Davis (CEO, Australian Music Centre) and Brett Cottle (CEO, APRA AMCOS)
Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014) - statement on the music publisher Faber's website
'Vale Peter Sculthorpe' by former student and colleague Stephen Adams, ABC Classic FM (8 August)
'Peter Sculthorpe - obituary' by John Crawford (ABC Classic FM, 8 August)
'Peter Sculthorpe - composer with a unique talent' by Patricia Maunder (The Age 10 August) - added 14 Aug
'Much loved composer lifted the human spirit' - obituary by Philip Jones in The Australian (11 August - subscriber content)
'Assured traveller whose music echoed our land' - tribute by Vincent Plush in The Australian (11 August - subscriber content)
'Music world mourns loss of a great composer' and 'Peter Sculthorpe, composer of Kakadu and Earth Cry, dies, aged 85' - news articles by Matthew Westwood, The Australian (9 and 8 August - subscriber content)
'Music that changed me: Peter Sculthorpe' - BBC Music Magazine - (a 2004 article, re-edited) - added 13 Aug
Peter Sculthorpe, Australian composer, dies aged 85 - BBC News (8 August)
'Peter Sculthorpe, Australia's Greatest Composer, Has Died' - by Simon Thomsen (Business Insider Australia 8 August) - added 14 Aug
'Peter Sculthorpe - turning the soil into sound' - a tribute by Chris Latham (Canberra Times 15 August) - added 20 Aug
'A wonderful musical legacy: Peter Sculthorpe remembered' by Stuart Greenbaum in The Conversation (9 August) - added 13 Aug
'Sculthorpe shaped composers with a connection to this land' by Sally Macarthur (The Conversation, 14 August) - added 29 August
Peter Sculthorpe 1929-2014 - tribute by Ross Edwards (11 August) - added 13 Aug
Peter Sculthorpe obituary by David Matthews
(The Guardian 14 August) - added 14
'Peter Sculthorpe took Australia's "spirit of place" and made it sing' - by Richard Mills (The Guardian) - added 3 Sept
'Peter Sculthorpe's death a 'huge loss, but he leaves such a big musical legacy' - (The Guardian/AAP 8 August)
'Kronos Quartet's David Harrington Remembers Peter Sculthorpe' - kronosquartet.org
'Sculthorpe, the great encourager' - by Dick Letts (The Music Trust, 18 August) - added 3 Sept
'Peter Sculthorpe: In memoriam - a student remembers' by Paul Saintilan (Limelight 20 August) - added 17 Sept
'Peter Sculthorpe in memoriam' - tribute program with archival interviews (ABC Radio National's The Music Show, 9 August)
Vale Peter Sculthorpe - tribute by Jenny Gall, National Film and Sound Archive (14 August) - added 15 Aug
'Postscript: Peter Sculthorpe (1929-2014)' by Teju Cole (The New Yorker, 8 August)
'Peter Sculthorpe, composer steeped in Australia's sounds, dies at 85' by Vivien Schweitzer (The New York Times, 7 September) - added 18 Sept
'Friends reflect on Peter Sculthorpe's final days' - news article (Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August)
'Peter Sculthorpe's musical legacy a lonely charm', obituary by Peter McCallum, (Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August). See also: news article 8 August.
Vale Peter Sculthorpe - image content: Sydney Symphony Orchestra's memorial pinboard on Pinterest
Peter Sculthorpe - obituary (The Telegraph, 11 August)
'Death of the doyen of Australian music: Peter Sculthorpe 1929-2014' by Michael White (The Telegraph UK, 8 August) - added 14 Aug
Vale Peter Sculthorpe - tribute by Richard Tognetti (Australian Chamber Orchestra) - added 13 Aug
© Australian Music Centre (2014) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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Concert tribute to Peter Sculthorpe
Thank you for all the wonderful tributes about Peter Sculthorpe that are available on your website. Just wanted to add that in a trio concert we are having this Thursday evening (14th August) at the Sydney Conservatorium where trios by Holland, Hush and Edwards will be performed we will dedicate the performance to Peter Sculthorpe and include in the program his "Night Song" for piano trio in his memory. Thank you