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John Gilfedder (1925-2015) : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Dog tired tune : chamber ensemble by John Gilfedder, from the CD Smoke encrypted whispers

Photo of John Gilfedder

John Francis Gilfedder was born in Melbourne on 27 January 1925. After studying medicine, he started to compose in 1948, and studied composition in 1951-52 with Benjamin Frankel and Raymond Jones in England. Returning to Australia, Gilfedder studied part-time at the University of Melbourne and graduated with his Bachelor of Music degree in 1958. This was followed by a Dip.Ed. in 1959, and a Bachelor of Education with Honours in 1962, also from the University of Melbourne. Gilfedder was employed by the Victorian Education Department between 1953 and 1969, before taking up a position at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1970.

Gilfedder's harmonic style was neither atonal nor traditionally tonal, instead using a more ambiguous and faintly modal approach. According to the composer, his music intended to "evoke spiritual atmospheres which celebrate objective realities, such as the Creator, Australia, Symbolism and Colour".

Works characteristic of Gilfedder's style include The Timeless Land Symphony, which received its premiere by Queensland Youth Symphony in August 2002. The work, which was begun in Central Australia in 1987 and completed in June 2001, aims to represent in music "the awesome geological history of Australia, with God shaping the landscape through his agents in nature". Other works by Gilfedder display a concern for concepts such as time, in Three Songs of Time and the Timelessness for voice with mixed ensemble, and colour, in the orchestral work Prisms.

Gilfedder was president of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Queensland between 1975 and 1977. He received numerous commissions from, among others, Queensland Conservatorium Percussion, the Queensland Youth Orchestra, the 1991 International Clarinet Conference, and the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra.

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Dog tired tune : chamber ensemble Commissioned by the Southern Cross Soloists for performance in their 'Words and Music' series
Digital sheet music sample Triptych for the Trinity : trombone solo (1993) Commissioned by Greg Van der Struik.
Digital sheet music sample Raga of the morning : on 'Basant Mookhari' (1989) Commissioned by Matthew Kinmont.