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Martin Friedel : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: The school of natural philosophy : twelve pieces for solo piano by Martin Friedel, from the CD School of natural philosophy

Martin Friedel's music traverses a wide range of forms and genres. He has composed six chamber operas, four large-scale cantatas, chamber and choral music and many scores for film and television. Major awards include a Young Composer's Fellowship from the Australia Council, an Australian One Act Opera Award, the Ian Potter Music Commission, the Jacobena Angliss Fellowship and a Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria.

Friedel came to Australia from Germany as a child. His family settled in a small saw milling community on the Great Dividing Range in Victoria. The award of a Daffyd Lewis Scholarship enabled him study at Melbourne University where he completed an honours degree in physics and mathematics and a PhD in chemistry. Concurrently, he studied piano with Victor Stephenson and, later, conducting with Robert Rosen.

Friedel's early experience and reputation were in theatre. In the 1970s he composed and directed for a multitude of productions for the Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory, Melbourne Theatre Company and other major Australian theatre companies.

Encouraged by his experience as a visiting composer at the fabled Berliner Ensemble in 1981, he went on to compose music theatre pieces that were performed in the Edinburgh and Adelaide Festivals. He remains fascinated by the interaction between words and music and writes texts and libretti for his own compositions.

Since the 1980s he composed for film and television. Friedel has created over fifty TV and film soundtracks for BBC, French and US television, ABC and SBS, receiving a number of major international awards, including an Emmy and two AFI nominations.

Since 1985, the Melbourne-based Astra has premiered many of his chamber and vocal compositions, most recently (2008) Invisible Landscapes for piano and instrumental sextet with Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), (2009) Airsongs for violin and piano, commissioned and performed by Miwako Abe and Michael Kieran Harvey a (2011) Three Songs for Soprano and Alto Saxophone and (2012) Walk, a collaboration with the performance poet ∏.Ο.

History of a Day, a multi-screen audiovisual installation, created with cinematographer Simon Carroll and commissioned and presented by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), was part of the opening exhibition at the Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide in 2007.

Current work (2012) includes piano pieces for Michael Kieran Harvey and a new music theatre piece Underworld Song, commenced while Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and commissioned by Astra with assistance from the Australia Council. His collection of piano pieces The School of Natural Philosophy has been recorded by Michael Kieran Harvey for Move Records.

Martin Friedel — current to April 2012

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Airsongs : for violin and piano (2009) Commissioned by Miwako Abe.
Digital sheet music sample Electric songs : cantata for soloists, choir, theremin, bells and instrumental ensemble (2006) Commissioned by Astra Chamber Music Society.
Cities of the mind : Cantata for soloists, choir, string quartet, double bass, percussion and keyboards (2002) The composition and first performance were supported by the Ian Potter Music Commissions.
Five songs from the astronauts : for soprano, baritone and instrumental ensemble (1995) Commissioned by the Astra Chamber Music Society as part of the cantata, 'The Third Planet'.
The third planet : Cantata for solo voices, speaker, SATB choir and instrumental ensemble (1995) The composer was supported by the award of the Jacobena Angliss Fellowship
Seduction of a general : opera (1991) Seduction of a General was commissioned with funds from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council. The first performance was made possible by funds from the Performing Arts Board and the Victorian Ministry of the Arts.