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David Basden : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Ophelia : clarinet with piano by David Basden, from the CD Sospiri


David Basden was born in Sydney, NSW, in 1957. He started composing while in his early teens, and won a prize in the Frank Hutchens Memorial Composition Competition at the age of 17, with a Suite for Flute and Piano.

He played tuba in community bands through the 70s, and also in the amateur Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied architecture at the University of New South Wales, but having decided not to pursue this as a career, he later undertook the Associate Diploma of Jazz Studies at the NSW Conservatorium of Music, graduating with merit.

David founded an early jazz and ragtime ensemble, Jazzin' Around, and with this and the Richard Montz Brass Quintet, toured widely throughout Australia and PNG for Musica Viva for more than a decade. He has performed and recorded with Mike Nock's Big Small Band, a 10-piece modern jazz outfit, and played with the New Wolverine Jazz Orchestra, a Bix Beiderbecke tribute band, on a recent U.S. tour.

He co-founded Monica and the Moochers (1988), in which he played frontline tuba, and also the fourteen-piece salsa band Vermilion Girl (1997), and he co-wrote many songs for both bands.

He worked as an arranger for Channel Nine's Midday Show for fourteen years, and is well known as an arranger in many musical genres.

David has been extensively involved with music for children, was a co-writer of the 1993 APRA Children's Composition of the Year, and has had two of his pieces included in the current AMEB clarinet syllabus. He has written a number of beginner piano pieces, such as 99 Canons and One That Isn't and the Norton Street Noodles.

He has also produced numerous CDs, including five for clarinettist Philippa Robinson, who has recorded his Four Rococo Preludes and Tilting at Infinity.

David's compositions include Spin, a solo piano piece, which was first performed by Carson Dron in 1998; Spiral Dance for clarinet and viola, first performed by Deborah de Graaff and Anne-Louise Comerford in 2000; and the Spin-off series of intermediate-level piano solos, several of which have been played in Higher School Certificate exams. Later in 2007, Elizabeth Hassan will be premiering Variations on Marie's Wedding for solo treble recorder.

David has been composing full-time since 2004. Most of his work involves writing for solo instruments, winds in particular, and smaller chamber ensembles. Often evident in his pieces are the contrasting elements of jazz-based rhythms and harmonies, together with numerical developmental procedures.


Biography provided by the composer — current to January 2007

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Dolphin Bay suite : for clarinet quartet (1996) Commissioned by Killarney Heights Public School