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Andrew Ford : Represented Artist

Listen. What do you hear?

Random Audio Sample: Three Shakespeare songs : for soprano and piano by Andrew Ford, from the CD O for a muse of fire

Photo of Andrew Ford

Photo: Jim Rolon

Andrew Ford is a composer, writer and broadcaster and has won awards in all three capacities. Born in Liverpool, England in 1957, he was educated at the University of Lancaster. He came to Australia in 1983.

Ford has composed orchestral and chamber music, operas and music-theatre pieces, and a wide range of vocal and solo instrumental works. His music has been featured internationally at such festivals as Adelaide, Aspen, Ferrara, Houston, Istanbul, Kuhmo, Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney and at Salzburg's Aspekte. All the major Australian orchestras have played his works, and so have groups such as the Brodsky Quartet, the London Sinfonietta, the Australia Ensemble, Het Trio, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble and the Black Dyke Band. His piano pieces have been played by Peter Donohoe, Lisa Moore, Gerard Willems and Michael Kieran Harvey, while his vocal music has been sung by Sarah Leonard, Lyndon Terracini, Merlyn Quaife and, above all, Gerald English, for whose voice Ford composed more than a dozen pieces.

Ford's music has won several national awards. In 2003, The Waltz Book, an hour-long sequence of 60 minute waltzes for solo piano, written for Ian Munro, was awarded the Jean Bogan Prize. In 2004, Ford's song cycle, Learning to Howl, won both the AMC Award for Best Composition by an Australian Composer and the Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize. At the 2004 Adelaide Festival, Jane Edwards and the Australian String Quartet gave the first performance of Tales of the Supernatural (an Ian Potter Commission) which went on to win an APRA award in 2005. His radiophonic work Elegy in a Country Graveyard was shortlisted for the 2007 Prix Italia.

Ford has been composer in residence with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (1992 - 94) and the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Composer Fellow (1998 - 2000). He was awarded a fellowship by the Music Board of the Australia Council (2005 - 06), during which period he composed, among other works, Scenes from Bruegel, jointly commissioned by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the New Juilliard Ensemble, first performed by the latter at Alice Tully Hall, New York in April 2006.

Recent works include Headlong for the Sydney Symphony, Thin Air for the Sydney International Piano Competition and A Singing Quilt, commissioned by Wingecarribee Shire Council for choirs in the NSW Southern Highlands, where Ford lives. His Symphony was premiered at the Australian National Academy of Music in November 2008, conducted by Brett Dean, and in 2009 Ford was ANAM's composer in residence. Other highlights of 2009 included a week as composer in residence at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, and the premiere of his opera, Rembrandt's Wife (libretto by Sue Smith) by Victorian Opera. In 2010 Rembrandt's Wife won a Green Room award for Best New Opera.

Beyond composing, Ford has been an academic (on the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong from 1983 - 1995) and has written and broadcast on a wide range of music. In 1998 he won the Geraldine Pascall Prize for critical writing. Ford wrote and presented the ABC radio series Illegal Harmonies (first heard in 1997), Dots on the Landscape (2001), Music and Fashion (2005) and The Sound of Pictures (2010). He has also written six books and, since 1995, presented The Music Show each Saturday morning on ABC Radio National.

Andrew Ford — current to September 2011

Studied with

Edward Cowie (1975 - 1978)


Teacher/Influence on

David Chisholm

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Scherzo perpetuo : string quartet (2014) Commissioned by Flinders Quartet.
Digital sheet music sample Common ground : for two string quartets (2014) Commissioned by Barbara Blackman for performance by Canberra International Music Festival.
Digital sheet music sample String quartet No 5 : string quartet (2013) Commissioned by Australian String Quartet.
Digital sheet music sample Australian aphorisms : for six voices (2013) Commissioned with financial assistance from Father Arthur E. Bridge for Ars Musica Australis, Greg Dickson and Penny LeCouteur, Barbara Blackman, Penny Lee, Janne Ryan, David Sidebottom and Daphne Sivasubramaniam.
Digital sheet music sample Uproar : for at least 11 trombones and 4 bass drums (2013) Commissioned by Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
Digital sheet music sample Once upon a time there were two brothers... : for solo flute and speaking voice (2013) Commissioned under the terms of the Albert H Maggs Award.

Analysis & Media

- Article: Untamed melodies at the frontiers of sound

- Program note: Andrerw Ford The Laughter of Mermaids 1991

- Review: The Song Company Australian Made with Italian Glasss

- Article: Art Imitates Life

- Document: Harbour Noise is a Fatal Distraction

- Review: The Song Company

- Review: Australian Made wirth Italian Glass 20 March 1992

- Program note: Fast Talking: The Last Words of Dutch Schultz

- Review: M for Murder The Song Company 20,21 June 1997

- Review: M for Murder The Song Company 20, 21 June 1997

- Program note: The Laughter of Mermaids (1990)

- Review: 11th Sydney Spring The Song Company 5 August 2000

- Review: 11th Sydney Spring Festival The Song Company 5 August 2000

- Video: The Waltz Book Interview - Part 1

- Video: The Waltz Book Interview - Part 2

- Article: Sound Harvest: David Lumsdaineā€™s 'White Dawn' and 'Big Meeting'
by Andrew Ford
Published in The Monthly, July 2011, No. 69

- Video: Elegy in a Country Graveyard Pt 1 (interview with Andrew Ford, extracts from 'Elegy')

- Video: Elegy in a Country Graveyard Pt 2 (interview with Andrew Ford, extracts from 'Elegy')

- Program note: Andrew Ford's "Swansong"
by Andrew Ford
Source: the score of this work

- Review: Australian Made with Italian Glass: The Song Company 20 March 1992

- Video: You must sleep, but I must dance (interview with Andrew Ford, and performance excerpts)