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Bruce Crossman : Represented Artist

I see the spiritual essence in my own work as an expression of a Christian faith whereby composition becomes a deep-felt emotion and spiritual sensibility linking heaven and earth.

Random Audio Sample: Back to the centre (solo piano) by Bruce Crossman, from the CD Hammered

Photo of Bruce Crossman

Photo: Ji-Yun Lee

Bruce Crossman sees his music as moving across multiple art forms for inspiration, drawing on both Asian and European traditions, to express a spiritual essence. His composition aims for a deep-felt emotion and Christian spiritual sensibility linking heaven and earth. The music is informed by Filipino percussion ensembles, Korean traditional music and free-form jazz; these are placed within a European influenced architectural design. Crossman's Pacific-based aesthetic has been influenced by Peter Sculthorpe, Chou Wen-chung and Chinary Ung.

Several works of Crossman explore this Pacific identity, including Daragang Magayon Cantata (2001) and Fierce Tranquillity (2004). The former was written in collaboration with Filipina-Australian poet Merlinda Bobis and explores Filipino percussive rhythms and chant using virtuosic performance resources, whilst the latter composition explores a Korean gestural approach alongside Japanese shakuhachi techniques adapted to string writing.

Crossman has won a number of awards, including the Queensland Philharmonic's Corbould Prize (1996) as well as commendations in the Albert H. Maggs Award (2004) (Melbourne University) and in the Foundation Orchestra's International Composition Competition (2004) (United States). He has also been awarded a Composition Fellowship at the Pacific Music Festival (1990) in Japan and the Mozart Fellowship (1992) at Otago University. Crossman is the Coordinator of Composition at the University of Western Sydney.

International festivals in the Philippines, Japan and Korea have featured Crossman's music. The Pacific Rim Festival (2005) in the United States commissioned him to write a work for the New Asia String Quartet (Korea), and the Aurora Festival (2006) in Sydney featured his music theatre work. His work has been performed by orchestras in Asia (Kanagawa Philharmonic and Korean Symphony Orchestra) as well as by those in Australasia (New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland and Queensland Philharmonic Orchestras). Australian performers have engaged in his work, including pianist Ian Munro, mezzo-soprano Lotte Latukefu, and shakuhachi master Jim Franklin.

Crossman was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1961 and immigrated to Australia in 1996. He holds a Doctor of Creative Arts degree from the University of Wollongong where he studied with Ross Edwards and Andrew Schultz and also holds master's degrees from the Universities of York and Otago. Influences from the visual dimension inform his aesthetic; abstract colourist painters such as his father Wallace Crossman, Patrick Herron and Howard Hodgkin alongside East Asian calligraphy, have fuelled his creative process. He has written on intercultural issues, including co-editing the books Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation and Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Musical Identity, and performs solo piano improvisations.

Crossman writes: 'I see the spiritual essence in my own work as an expression of a Christian faith whereby composition becomes a deep-felt emotion and spiritual sensibility linking heaven and earth. In this sense I feel a connection to Asian creativity, especially in its valuing of the intrinsic-spiritual dimension of sound and its capacity to engage emotionally, as well as moving across art-forms aesthetically.'

Biography provided by the composer — current to February 2007

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Resonance of red : for sitār, tablā and harpsichord (2013) Commissioned by Vive’ Vinçent for performance at the interdisciplinary event SLOW, Toronto, Canada, November 2014 and Paris, France 2015.
Digital sheet music sample Spirit-presence : for Jiari-shakuhachi and Jinashi-shakuhachi (2012) Commissioned for performance at the 2013 European Shakuhachi Festival
Digital sheet music sample Gentleness-suddenness : for mezzo-soprano, violin, percussion and piano (2012) Commissioned for the performers Lotte Latukefu (mezzo-soprano), James Cuddeford (violin), Claire Edwardes (percussion) and Bernadette Harvey (piano) with filmmaker Iqbal Barkat for performance at the New Music Series 2013, Campbelltown Arts Centre
Digital sheet music sample Early spring that no one sees : for viola, percussion and piano (2012) Commissioned by Susan Ung (viola) and Lynn Varton (percussion)
Double resonances : for piano and percussion (2008) Written for the Music of the Spirit concert at the Aurora Festival, Sydney, 19th April 2008, for performers Claire Edwardes and Bernadette Balkus