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Damian Barbeler : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Confession 2 (recorder with pre-recorded sound) by Damian Barbeler, from the CD Weaver of fictions


Photo of Damian Barbeler

Photo: Patrick Boland

Artist website: http://www.barbeler.com

Damian Barbeler's award-winning compositions have been performed and broadcast around the world, sung and played by leading Australian and international soloists and ensembles. He is widely recognised for his highly idiosyncratic compositional style and especially his lush, emotional sound worlds inspired by textures and patterns from nature. He is an enthusiastic collaborator often working with creative types from diverse fields like architecture, software design, media arts, dance and more.

A distinctive part of Barbeler's expertise has been his ability to inspire amateur and especially young musicians to excel in professional settings. His wide-ranging career has taken him to a diverse range of places from famous concert halls to biscuit factories, boardrooms and far-flung parts of regional Australia. Acting out the precept that an artist should also teach, he is just as happy in the exquisite, rarefied atmosphere of art music, as he is in the invigorating world of beginners, students and music-loving amateurs.

In July this year, Damian Barbeler's AILAN KORES project was premiered at the Queensland Music Festival. The culmination of two year's work with communities from the Torres Strait Islands, this remarkable project brought together a 40-voice choir from six islands, the Queensland Youth Orchestra, and professional soloists. The concert, which featured Barbeler's new work The Temptation of Christ, was critically acclaimed as one of the highlights of this year's Festival. This project followed a similar one for the QMF in 2009, LAID IN EARTH in which local singers from the Cooktown region where joined by professionals instrumentalists and singer Sarah Blasko for a concert of new music celebrating the history, people and atmosphere of Far North Queensland

In March 2011, Saltstream was premiered at the Sydney Opera House. Students from the MLC School, along with award-winning Australian pianist Michael Kieran Harvey performed this highly avant-garde work, for two pianos and six violins. Saltstream showcased Damian Barbeler's innovative and immersive approach to the concert experience. It featured fully integrated elements from other art forms, including live sound-reactive video from international media artist Tim Gruchy and spectacular silk-trained dresses for the violinists, designed by Akira Isogawa.

In March 2010, Barbeler's Silk Panels (inspired by the exquisite Japanese painted silk or paper folding screens and doors) was premiered by Ironwood Chamber Ensemble in concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. In October, a new work, Seven Shades of Sorrow will be premiered by the Seven Harps Ensemble and Damian will also undertake a commission residency at Four Winds Festival in Bermagui for which he will create a work for two pianos inspired by the landscape of the far south coast of NSW.

Damian Barbeler was also one of the featured "characters" in Bob Connolly and Sophie Raymond's highly successful documentary feature Mrs Carey's Concert (2011).

Berbeler has twice received the 'Recommended Work' award at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers and was a finalist in the renowned Toru Takemitsu Prize 2008. He recently received a PhD from the Sydney Conservatorium, holds a lectureship with Wollongong University, where is working with students from the education faculty on the "Children's Opera Project", and is resident composer at MLC and SCEGGS Secondary Colleges in Sydney. He was awarded the sought-after Ian Potter Emerging Composer Fellowship to compose seven works during 2006-2007, including commissions for recorder player Genevieve Lacey, and a chamber opera (with librettist Rodney Hall) for Southern Cross Soloists.


Damian Barbeler — current to September 2011

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2013 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Instrumental Finalist Bright Birds
2008 Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 3rd Prize God in the machine
2005 Ian Potter Music Commission Emerging Composer
2002 International Rostrum of Composers Recommended Work Elastic horizons

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Paper trails to midnight : chamber ensemble Commissioned by the Southern Cross Soloists for performance in their 'Words and Music' series