Don Kay : Represented Artist
Random Audio Sample: Tasmania symphony : the legend of Moinee : for cello and orchestra by Don Kay, from the CD Tasmania symphony
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Kay’s musical language has its roots in the tradition of Western art music but has been significantly shaped by his experience of Tasmania’s environment and history. The process of transforming this experience into musical form involves what he describes as styles of thinking: the use of pure sound in its own right; literal – imitating existing sounds; metaphorical - evocative/suggestive; and abstract – detached from specific meaning.
Tasmania’s natural environment has been a major influence in his composition. Weather and landscape, for example, have inspired asymmetrical patterning with short recurring motifs involving subtle shifts and changes. Kay identifies Hastings Bay (1986) as the first mature piece which was a direct, conscious response to a specific personal experience of a specific place, acknowledged by the title. Two works, amongst a number important to him for reflecting this influence, are: Tasmania Symphony – The Legend of Moinee – for cello and orchestra (1988), and Piano Trio, The Edge of Remoteness (1996).
Kay is aware that his response to nature is developing into an individualised, personal language which, liberated from literal and metaphorical connections, now permeates his abstract work. The cello sonata and three piano sonatas from 2006 are representative of his more recent work.
Don Kay was born on January 25 th 1933 in Smithton, Tasmania. He was educated at Smithton Primary School, Launceston Church Grammar School and the University of Melbourne where he gained his music degree. He studied composition privately in London with Malcolm Williamson (1959-1964). Since returning to Hobart in 1964 he has composed much music for professional individuals, ensembles, young performers, amateur groups, theatre, concert and public occasions. His compositions include two one-act operas, four concertos, two symphonies, vocal, choral and chamber music, including six string quartets. His works have been performed Australia-wide and internationally.
Works to have received special awards include: The Golden Crane; Tasmania Symphony – The Legend of Moinee – for cello and orchestra; and Dance Concertante.
In 1990 Kay was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia for his service to the Arts, particularly in the field of composition. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for an outstanding contribution to music, music education and composing in Tasmania. He retired from the staff of the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in 1998 having served as Head of Department from 1990 to 1993.
He now composes full-time.
Biography provided by the composer — current to February 2007
Awards & Prizes
|1991||Order of Australia||Member of the Order||For service to the arts, particularly in the field of music composition|
|Dance cameos : for mandolin and wind quintet (1986)||Commissioned for performance by the Sydney Wind Quintet in March 1987|