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Kevin Purcell : Associate Artist

There are two quotes that inspire my music: the first is, 'To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong' (Joseph Chilton Pearce) and secondly, 'Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties' (Erich Fromm).

Photo of Kevin Purcell

Kevin Purcell's compositional style has often been remarked for its diversity, adaptation of elements of ‘the new tonality’ and informed by a strong music technology and sonic perspective. Whether for the concert platform, or for theatre, his music self–consciously reflects and acknowledges both stylistic and the orchestration attributes of admired composers including: Rimsky–Korsakov, Mahler, Bax, Walton, Janacek and Delius, amongst others, as evidenced through his repertoire as an international conductor and musical director for the Stage. His composition teachers have included Peter Tahourdin and Brenton Broadstock.

Forthcoming works include commissions for a new Sonata for Violin & Pianoforte, The Silent Well, from Canadian violinist Jasper Wood to be premiered in the USA in 2008; a setting for tenor and pianoforte from the Ern Malley poems, The Darkening Ecliptic, for the Centre for Studies in Australian Music at the University of Melbourne and a new choral work for St Catherine’s School (VIC) for SSA Choir.

His most recent works include The Witchlight (2003) for flute and string orchestra: composed for Australian flautist Janine Hanrahan and recorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Danger Under The Moon (The Australian 9th Division) (2002) for large orchestra and a setting of ‘Day 9’ from The Twelve Days of Christmas (2006) for the Australian Contemporary Chorale (Dir. Hildy Essex).

As a theatre composer, Purcell wrote Rebecca – The Musical , with book and lyrics by Victor Kazan and based on the enduring novel by Daphne du Maurier, which was premiered in 2004 to critical acclaim. This work is currently withdrawn due to unresolved international rights restrictions. Purcell/Kazan’s next Stage collaboration, an adaptation of a quintessential ‘spy–thriller’, will be premiered in 2009.

Previously, Purcell has undertaken two composition residencies (1994 and 1996) at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. He was chosen, in 1992 and 1995, as a composer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s, ‘ National Orchestral Composers School ’. All of Purcell’s orchestral works; including the Symphony No.1, have been performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Orchestra Queensland. His chamber music has been performed extensively throughout the UK and the USA.

His music is also available through Publications by Wirripang.

Purcell is Professor and Director of Music and Performing Arts at Central Queensland University, based in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.


Biography provided by the composer — current to September 2007