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David Holyoake : Associate Artist

Holyoake is fascinated by the transformative and transcendental qualities of music, and in uniting new music with environmental activism

Random Audio Sample: Intimation no. 1 : for solo cello by David Holyoake, from the CD Transfigurations


Photo of David Holyoake

Photo: Dan Oara

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David Holyoake is an Australian/British/French composer originally from Melbourne and now based in Belgium. He is interested in music as deep language, in the concept of duende and in using new music as a vehicle for environmental activism.

Holyoake's music is published by Reed Music and his compositions are receiving increasing recognition and performances in the UK, Australia, Belgium and beyond. His works are accessible, technically challenging, and have been described as displaying emotional depth, providing musicians with excellent material for either performance or study purposes.

His music is currently part of the National Gallery of Victoria's first ever sound programme called 'Now Hear This' which features new music of 10 Melbourne composers as part of the National Gallery's Melbourne Now exhibition, running until March 2014.

He holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Melbourne. His concert works have been performed at such venues as the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Brisbane Convention Centre, the Royal Academy of Music London, Fairfields Hall London, and broadcast on ABC classic FM and other media. Holyoake has also composed music in various genres for professional and amateur theatrical productions, for contemporary dance, and for television.

In 2006, he won second prize for piano composition at the Brisbane finals of the Keys Australian Music Competition. In late 2008, Holyoake was awarded an arts development grant from Arts Victoria to produce Transfigurations - six new short works for cello, violin, piano and Tibetan singing bowl. He has worked with leading Australian musicians including Silo String Quartet and leading choreographers such as Gerard Van Dyke of Kage Physical Theatre. Holyoake is a member of the Melbourne Composers League and has works selected and performed at several of their concerts.

Holyoake is currently based in Brussels Belgium. In 2012 he has completed a commission from Nyctolopic (supported by the UK Arts Council) to create an original score for a new contemporary dance-theatre work called 'The City Will Crumble' inspired by the philosophy and aesthetic of film noir.

David is also an environmental activist and climate change policy expert. He believes musicians and artists should be better organised as a force for enviromental change. In this vein, his most recent commission from London based Ensemble Matisse is the composition of Extinct Birds, supported by the Arts Council of England. This will be a new music creation including sound recordings of extinct and endangered song birds against conteporary chamber music. By juxtaposing human song against the song of species whose destruction we have caused, Extinct Birds will come with a powerful environmental message. David's latest commission with an activist message is The Message of the Hurricanes, a work for soprano, harp, flute and multimedia animation about climate change and financial greed. This work is commissioned by Trio MetaFora, Belgium, 2014.


David Holyoake — current to October 2014

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Extinct birds : baritone voice with chamber ensemble (2013) Commissioned by Ensemble Matisse.
Diabolical fantasie (trios: marimba, 2 percussion) (2011) Commissioned by Nyctolopic Dance Theatre Company, London
Arabesque (trios: piano, violin, cello) (2008) Commissioned with funds from Arts Victoria 'Victoria Rocks' grant 2008 as part of 'Transfigurations' - 6 short chamber works by David Holyoake.