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Chester Schultz : Represented Artist

I say things with musical sound. I love working with people & enlarging our sympathies through music which is serious, popular, or both; and which leans to words, ideas, empathy, human encounter, drama, Australia and people on the margins.

Random Audio Sample: Full fathom five : Ariel's song from 'The Tempest' : Full fathom five by Chester Schultz, from the CD O for a muse of fire

Photo of Chester Schultz


Chester Schultz, born in Victor Harbor in 1945, has been at Port Adelaide with his wife Liz since 1977, raising two daughters there. His music is eclectic, coloured by the experience of living in a disadvantaged area and for several years in a small intentional community. Lifelong experience as accompanist includes chamber music, stage, singers, choirs and churches. A lover of words, he sometimes writes his own texts or scripts, and uses music to say things and enlarge our sympathies. He speaks often of Australia: the land, its history, society, and people on the margins.

His works range through environmental sound, songs in both classical and popular styles, choral and chamber music, musical theatre, and free improvisation, and are written for professionals, amateurs, children, and sometimes untrained performers. Songs in contemporary style for worship are collected in the CD/songbook Jesus, Still Lead On.

He has performed Six Poems of Judith Wright with baritone Robert Dawe, arranged magpie song for piano, reflected on homeland in the choral folksong cantata Songs Further Out, and again in the soundscape album Within Our Reach: a symphony of the Port River; and in Ngartong for 12 cellos, excerpts of which toured internationally in 1987. The cycle These Legends, Love: six Auden songs was premiered by Norma Knight and Malcolm Day in 2008.

Experiences with the Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music - studying under Dr Catherine Ellis, urban elder Leila Rankine, and Anangu songmen from Indulkana - began a long-term association with Indigenous people. This bore fruit in the ground-breaking collaborative survey of Indigenous music Our Place, Our Music (Aboriginal Studies Press 1989); and the collaborative Music Is Our Culture, premiered by four Indigenous CASM staff with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under Richard Mills at the 1998 Adelaide Festival. In company with Nunga elders he has researched and celebrated the Indigenous history, languages, place names and music of the Adelaide region, in publications of the language reclamation movement such as Kaurna Paltinna: a Kaurna Song Book (2000), and used them in Songs With the Nungas and in the musical theatre piece Dancing Ngutinai.

He studied composition with Jindrich Feld, Peter Tahourdin and Richard Meale, and took part in the 1973 APRA-CAAC Young Composers' Training Scheme.

Having majored long ago in history and English literature, he continues to indulge in social and theological reflection, especially about justice, peace, the global technocratic bluff, refugees, and mental health.

Chester Schultz — current to October 2009

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Assembly lines : a musical thought about schools, for 3-part treble voices, high-school band and pre-recorded soundtrack (1985) Commissioned by Debbie Niven.

Analysis & Media

- Article: Scored in black and white