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Richard Charlton : Represented Artist

'The fact that you can evoke a whole world of emotion from a few strings stretched across a small wooden box has always fascinated me. My music is all about communicating that emotion.'

Random Audio Sample: Berceuse : guitar solo by Richard Charlton, from the CD Whispering from the cedar top

Photo of Richard Charlton

Photo: Lockie Mac

Richard Charlton is widely recognised as one of Australia's leading composers and guitarists. Born in the UK in 1955, he has lived in Australia since his parents emigrated in 1962. Largely self-taught, he initially started writing music to expand his own repertoire, but now his works have been performed and recorded by many leading Australian and international players and feature on more than 30 commercial CDs. His music combines a love of melody with a keen sense of harmonic and formal structure; music, 'to entice ear as well as the intellect' (Fred Blanks)

In 2004 Charlton was awarded Instrumental Work of the Year at the APRA/AMC Classical Music Awards for his quartet Stoneworks, commissioned by the Australian Guitar Quartet, Saffire. In 2005, the UK magazine Classical Guitar described him as 'producing some of the most inspired and accessible guitar works of the present era'.

One of his works was featured on an ABC TV documentary about the Terrace Proms in Perth, and Charlton has also had works premiered at many major festivals worldwide, including the Adelaide Festival, the Radio France International Guitar Week in Paris, the Sonorities Festival in Belfast and at Australia House and Bolivar Hall in London.

Charlton has been an adjudicator at most of the major guitar competitions in Australia and has taught at many institutions worldwide, including the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Guildhall School of Music and the Royal College of Music in London.

Presently the Director of Performance at Ascham School, Charlton has been involved with the creation of many new works for student orchestras and vocal ensembles. Highly sought after as teacher, composer and pedagogue, he has worked with children all over the world, conducting workshops at schools throughout Australia and overseas in Argentina, China, Great Britain, Hungary and Italy.

Many of Charlton's works are currently in the AMEB guitar, violin, cello and saxophone syllabus. Apart from publishing his own works, he is also represented in publications by Chanterelle and Trekel Musik in Germany, Frederick Harris Music in Canada and by Currency Press, Reed Music and Hal Leonard in Australia.

Richard Charlton — current to June 2013

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2004 Classical Music Awards - Instrumental Work of the Year Winner Stoneworks

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Other dimensions : for guitar ensemble, double bass and percussion (2013) Commissioned by Raffaele Agostino through the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Centenary Commissioning Project for the Sydney Conservatoruim Guitar Ensemble.
Black opal prelude : for solo guitar (2013) Commissioned for the Adelaide International Guitar Festival 2014 as the set work for the guitar competition.
Keep the beat : treble choir with chamber ensemble : for juvenile performer(s) (2013) Composed for the Ascham & Somerville House Combined Junior Schools Music Festival (Sydney)
Digital sheet music sample Rosebuds under Capricorn : a fantasie (2012) Commissioned by Stephan Bulmer
Digital sheet music sample The labyrinth of deadly sins & divine virtues : a guitar solo for one player using two instruments (2012) Commissioned by Raffaele Agostino.
Digital sheet music sample Jasey-Rae's lullaby : for solo guitar (2012) Commissioned by Chris Loney for his daughter

Analysis & Media

- Program note: Richard Charlton's "Four Australian folk songs"
program note by the composer

- Program note: Richard Charlton's "Nightsongs"
program note by the composer

- Program note: Roland Charlton's "Rainsong"
program note by the composer