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Quentin Grant : Associate Artist

art is magic delivered from the lie of being truth

Random Audio Sample: The magical death of history (quartets: clarinet, piano, viola, cello) by Quentin Grant, from the CD Points of departure

Photo of Quentin Grant

Quentin Grant was born in Leeton, NSW, on January 16, 1962. He studied composition and clarinet at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in 1981 and 1982. In 1983 he moved to Adelaide and commenced studies at the Elder Conservatorium in composition and piano with Richard Meale, and in analysis with Bozidar Kos and Peter Brideoake. Further studies included three weeks spent in Bali studying gamelan.

In his final year at the Elder Conservatorium (1985) Grant won the South Australian Young Composer's Award for his chamber work Poem Before Spring. He was awarded another SA Young Composer's Award in 1987, in the orchestral section, for Nocturne Before Nuclear War, and, in 1990 and 1991, was the recipient of Sounds Australian awards.

Grant's work is quite diverse. He identifies three distinct styles in his music, which he tends to use in alternation rather than trying to draw them together into some reconciled mode of expression.

The first is an aggressive expressionism, in which a percussive element derived from minimalism drives a kind of grunge exploration of the dark side of the human psyche. Works such as Torn Flight and Songs of Dark and Light sit in this style. As a psychological antidote to this material, Grant's second style is more serene, a mystical attempt to achieve what he calls 'whiteness' - a spare, open, aesthetic deriving from Eastern Orthodox religious music. Gnostic Songs, Sky and Vertigo and Seven Mysteries are examples of this part of his output.

Grant's third style, which has emerged more fully in recent years, is a yearning or nostalgic romanticism which owes much to central European composers such as Leos Janacek or Pavel Haas, in which the simplicity and openness of the melodic and harmonic elements lends the music simultaneously a great vulnerability and resilience. This Romantic style includes works such as Elegy On the Death of Robert Schumann, Schubert Variations and The Misty Hill.

Particular influences on his thought and work include the Romantics, from Schubert to Hermann Hesse, the expressionists, from Schönberg to Anselm Kiefer, and modernists such as Kafka, TS Eliot and Hermann Broch.

Quentin Grant's music has been performed by ensembles including the Sydney and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Nova Ensemble, Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, Perihelion, Breakthrough Piano Quartet, Macquarie Trio, Zephyr String Quartet, Australian String Quartet, Seraphim Piano Trio and the Adelaide Chamber Singers.

Grant currently works as a freelance composer and performer, and is a co-director of The Firm, a company that produces yearly series of chamber music concerts. He works extensively in theatre with companies such as Brink, Slingsby, State Theatre SA, Flying Penquin Productions, Circa, and in film with 10001 Productions and Closer Productions.

He lives blissfully in Adelaide with Anna, Arland, Clara and Miranda.

Quentin Grant — current to June 2016

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
In the dying of the rain : (yet to be assigned) Commissioned by Syntony.
Nocturne in E flat minor : for cello and piano (2010) Commissioned by Ngeringa Farm Arts Foundation.
Digital sheet music sample Bright fires : four dances for orchestra (1997) Commissioned by Symphony Australia for performance by Sydney Symphony Orchestra.