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Charles Bodman Rae : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Donaxis quartet : for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano by Charles Bodman Rae, from the CD Donaxis quartet


Photo of Charles Bodman Rae

Photo: Soundstream Festival

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Charles Bodman Rae was born in England in 1955 to a family of Scottish and German origins. He read music at the University of Cambridge, while concurrently studying composition with Robert Sherlaw Johnson in Oxford. In his first year at Cambridge he was awarded the associate diploma in piano performance (ARCM) from the Royal College of Music in London, and established the Cambridge Contemporary Music Society with which he conducted concerts of new music over a period of four years. After postgraduate studies in composition at Cambridge, with Robin Holloway, and conducting studies with Sir Edward Downes in Hilversum, Holland, he was appointed at the age of 23 to a permanent lecturership at the then City of Leeds College of Music.

In 1981 he left Leeds to take up a two-year postgraduate scholarship in composition from the Polish Government enabling him to live and work in Warsaw as a visiting composer attached to the Chopin Academy of Music. During that period and the years following he developed a close association with Witold Lutoslawski, which led to his doctoral thesis on Lutoslawski's compositional technique, and his monographs in Polish and English on The Music of Lutoslawski. For these and other writings he was awarded the inaugural Lutoslawski Medal in 2005. In January 2013, on the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth he was one of several prominent musicians from around the world to be presented with the Lutoslawski Centenary Medal.

He has held several senior management positions in leading conservatoire institutions, including: Head of School of Composition/Creative Studies at the City of Leeds College of Music, Director of Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and Dean and Director of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide. Since 2001 he has occupied Australia's senior chair of music as the seventh Sir Thomas Elder Professor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide.

Since the early 1980s he has pursued an interest in harmonies and rhythms derived from the sounds of continental European bells, first appearing in a work for solo piano, Jede Irdische Venus (1982). This interest was continued with a work for two pianos, Fulgura Frango, and formed the basis for a groundbreaking nine-hour series of programs he was commissioned to write and present for BBC Radio 3 (Glocken, Cloches, Kolokola), first transmitted in 1990. The latest of these bell pieces for piano - Golden Ring - evokes the sounds of Russian Orthodox bells and was premiered in a live broadcast from the 2012 Adelaide Festival by its dedicatee, the young Russian pianist, Konstantin Shamray, winner of the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition.

Recent works have included: String Quartet no. 2, commissioned by the Australian String Quartet and premiered in the 2004 Adelaide Festival; Viola Concerto, commissioned for the 2007 International Viola Congress; Toccata Agogica, for solo flute, commissioned for the 2009 Australian Flute Festival, and Partita Dalriada (2010) for clarinet and piano. 2010 also saw the premieres of two Mahlerian orchestrations of works by Chopin (Prelude in C sharp minor, op. 45, and Nocturne in C minor, op.48 no. 1) written to celebrate the bicentenary of Chopin's birth. Both works were broadcast live by Polish Radio 2 and through the European Broadcasting Union. The Nocturne op.48.1 was first broadcast by ABC Classic FM in 2012.

He holds degrees in music from the University of Cambridge (BA Hons 1977, MA 1981), the University of Leeds (PhD 1992), and the University of Adelaide (DMus 2004). He is an Honorary Fellow of Leeds College of Music, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the Performing Rights Society (PRS for Music), London. For the 2004 Adelaide Festival he curated the Beethoven Songlines Series, which received the accolade of a 2005 Classical Music Award from APRA/AMC in recognition of the large number of premieres of works by living Australian composers.

In parallel with his work as composer he continues to conduct on an occasional basis, usually in order to present new works by young composers. In April 2013 he conducted the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra in the European premiere of his Viola Concerto, with soloist Artur Tokarek.


Charles Bodman Rae — current to April 2013

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Ghosts of Galicia : for violin, clarinet, cello and piano (2012) Commissioned by Soundstream Collective, Gabriella Smart.
Digital sheet music sample Ceol Mor II : for solo bassoon (2012) Commissioned by Mark Gaydon.
Golden ring : for pianoforte solo (2012) Commissioned for the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts
Ceol Mor : for violin, clarinet and piano (2012) Commissioned for the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts
Ceol Mor : for violin, clarinet and piano (2012) Commissioned for the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts
Partita Dalriada : for clarinet and piano (2010) Commissioned by Peter Handsworth and Stefan Ammer for their 2010 German tour.