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Robert Davidson : Represented Artist

I enjoy music that celebrates the body as well as the mind, that responds to how our primate brains operate. We're living in the most exciting musical period ever, and I'm thrilled.

Random Audio Sample: Tyalgum (quartets: bass clarinet, piano, viola, cello) by Robert Davidson, from the CD Tangerine


Photo of Robert Davidson

Photo: David Collins

Robert Davidson studied composition with Terry Riley in California and New York, and completed a PhD in composition at the University of Queensland. He previously studied South Indian vocal music in Kerala, India. He was a bassist in the Australian Opera, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, taking up a role as Senior Lecturer in Composition at University of Queensland, following a similiar role at Queensland University of Technology.

His indie-classical quintet Topology has played at numerous festivals around the world since forming in 1997 - their performances range from supporting pop group Savage Garden to experimental theatre. Topology worked with Geoffrey Rush in the opening production of the Optus Playhouse and again in the 2000 Olympics Arts Festival, and have collaborated closely with a very wide range of artists, including Terry Riley, TaikOz, the Brodsky Quartet, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, William Barton and Abhinaya Theatre (India).

One of Davidson's areas of interest is in making music from the intonation of recorded speech. Well-known works in this area include Not Now, Not Ever! for choir with Julia Gillard's Misogyny speech, and Big Decisions narrating the events of the Whitlam Dismissal. An album of Prime Minister speeches, The Singing Politician, was released in 2016 with The Australian Voices and Topology.

Davidson's compositions are regularly performed, recorded, broadcast and televised around the world. All of Australia's professional orchestras and many leading soloists and ensembles have commissioned and performed his works.


Robert Davidson — current to July 2016

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2013 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Vocal/Choral Finalist We apologise

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Australians : Voice portraits Assisted through the National Film and Sound Archive's Research Fellowships program.
Exterior Commissioned by Australian Institute of Eastern Music.
Digital sheet music sample Four places (trios: shakuhachi, marimba, cello) Commissioned by the Australian Institute of Eastern Music
Smoke signals : chamber ensemble Commissioned by the Southern Cross Soloists for performance in their 'Words and Music' series
Digital sheet music sample Cliffs : guitar quartet (2015) Commissioned by Melbourne Guitar Quartet.
Digital sheet music sample River : for guitar quartet (2015) Commissioned by Melbourne Guitar Quartet.