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Tommy Joseph : Associate Artist

Born in Cyprus in January, 1960, Tommy Joseph arrived in Australia at the age of seventeen. A performer with folk groups on the baglama (a stringed instrument used to play Turkish country and folk music) and guitar, he had never had the opportunity to study the theoretical aspects of music. On completion of his Higher School Certificate in 1979, however, Joseph enrolled as an external student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to study the fundamentals of jazz and jazz harmony. He began to compose around this time, writing pieces for pop bands.

In 1982 Joseph moved to Lismore and devoted himself to his music studies fulltime at the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education. Here he studied musicianship and trumpet with John Allen and classical guitar with John Fitzgerald, and was awarded an Associate Diploma in the Arts in 1983. The tuition he received at NRCAE broadened his musical outlook and Joseph began to compose seriously.

His interest in writing music having been excited, Joseph studied composition at Wollongong University with Andrew Ford and Wayne Dickson. He wrote Zebra Chasing for chamber orchestra, which he describes as being his "first breakthrough", at this time.

Enrolling in the Bachelor of Music course at the University of New England, Northern Rivers, Joseph continued to compose for instrumental ensembles, including works such as Thunderstorm for large orchestra, and also composed computer music and for synthesiser. His composition teachers at UNE were Michael Hannan and James Penberthy. Having graduated in 1989, he studied with Peter Sculthorpe in 1990 at the University of Sydney, where he completed a Diploma in Music Composition.

In 1992 he began to work towards a Master of Creative Arts degree at the University of Wollongong.

Joseph was invited to participate in three orchestral workshops organised by 2MBS-FM, in 1988, 1990 and 1992, and was also a participant at the 1992 National Orchestral Composers' School with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane. He has received commissions from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, The Bennelong Wind and Brass Ensemble, and Carolina Castillo, among others.

Joseph co-founded the Contemporary Performers' and Composers' Fellowship in 1991 with the aim of encouraging the performance of new music. He played a major role in organising the CPCF ensemble and solo players, and also organised workshops and performances for the fellowship.

Biography provided by the composer