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Brian Howard : Represented Artist


Date of Birth: 3rd January, 1951

Brian Howard studied composition at Universities of Sydney and Adelaide, graduating from the former with a Bachelor of Music degree with first class honours in 1972, and from the latter with his Master of Music in 1976. His early composition teachers were Peter Sculthorpe, Bernard Rands and Richard Meale, and Howard continued his studies in composition overseas, the award of an Albert H. Maggs Travelling Scholarship in 1976 enabling him to attend the Kompositionsstudio at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, and to participate in a master class with Peter Maxwell Davies at the Cantiere Internationale d'Arte at Montepulciano. Howard received his Doctorate from the University of Melbourne in 1985.

Howard is also known as a conductor, and his conducting studies commenced while in Adelaide in 1973, when he studied with Georg Tintner. He continued these studies with Tintner in Perth in 1974, and in subsequent years the receipt of a short-term study grant from the Australian Council for the Arts enabled him to attend rehearsals conducted by Willem van Otterloo and Hiroyuki Iwaki. While in Europe in 1976 he also took the opportunity to attend a conductors' course with Michael Gielen at the Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel. Howard has also received tuition in conducting from Sir Neville Marriner. He has conducted at the Perth and Adelaide Festivals, and for the New Audience concerts in Melbourne.

In 1977 Howard joined the staff of the Music Department at the University of Melbourne teaching composition and twentieth-century music, but the receipt of a composer residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris took him back to Europe in 1979. At the end of his time in Paris he was appointed composer-in-residence with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, and then with the Eduard van Beinum Foundation at Queekhoven in Holland.

Returning to Australia in 1982, Howard taught at the University of NSW and at the NSW Conservatorium of Music in Sydney for a year, before joining the West Australian Ballet as its Musical Director in 1983. He was appointed Head of Department at the Western Australian Conservatorium in 1985. He resigned from this position in 1988 to work on three commissions for the Australian Bicentenary - a ballet for the West Australian Ballet, a symphony for the ABC, and an opera (Whitsunday) for the Australian Opera.

In 1991 Howard was appointed Visiting Professor at the Conservatoire Lyon in France. Returning to Australia, he was appointed Dean of the Western Australian Conservatorium, a position which he held from 1992 to 1995.

Howard has written for many combinations of instruments and voices, but has a particular affinity with opera. His first operatic work, Inner Voices, based on a play by Louis Nowra, was composed for the Victorian State Opera in 1979. Since then he has written Metamorphosis, to a libretto by Stephen Berkoff based on the short story by Franz Kafka, and Whitsunday, to a libretto by Louis Nowra, for the Australian Opera.


Biography provided by the composer — current to January 2007

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
1988 Don Banks Music Award Recipient

Analysis & Media

- Video: Voyages: saxophone solo (sop & alto), by Brian Howard