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Margery Smith : Associate Artist

Composing is an opportunity to experience different sound worlds in the lives of others

Photo of Margery Smith

Margery Smith studied clarinet and saxophone at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, followed by further studies in Europe and the USA. As a performer, her orchestral positions have included Associate Principal Clarinet with the Sydney Symphony, and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Smith teaches improvisation, clarinet and saxophone at The Conservatorium, University of Newcastle and is a member of Continuum Sax. She has recently completed her PhD: Improvisation as a catalyst for collaborative musical thinking and composition (2006). CD releases include Australian music for saxophone: Viva Sax (Tall Poppies), Continuum and ICON with Continuum Sax.

In 1997 Smith completed the course in Performance and Communication Skills at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she studied improvisation, leading creative music workshops and composition with Malcolm Singer. During this time in the UK, Smith discovered her voice as a composer, and, on return to Australia, undertook further studies with Richard Vella. For Smith, composing is an opportunity to experience different sound worlds in the lives of others. This rich tapestry challenges and embraces the unfamiliar for all stakeholders, creating music that is informed by the rub of sharp edges that blur.

Smith's work is inspired by a lively curiosity for all kinds of music making, these includes pieces for various solo and chamber ensembles, full orchestra, and electronics. These works take their inspiration from her improvisation practice and collaboration with artists in many genres. She has collaborated with PACT Youth Theatre (Song of Ghosts (2004) and Toxic Dreams (2006)).

Further professional opportunities include valuable 'hands–on' opportunities to experiment with new ideas and have appeared in the following guises: The Symphony Australia's Composer Development Program (2003) with the State Orchestra of Victoria, directed by Richard Mills. Composing in Residence for Sydney Youth Orchestra (2004) sparked an interest in writing for young performers. Music OMI International Musicians Residency (2006) in upstate New York, USA provided a unique opportunity for collaborative music making with twelve other international musicians of diverse backgrounds.

Smith's work Inferno for Clarinet and Chamber Ensemble (2006), commissioned and performed by David Rowden and the Sydney Omega Ensemble, was nominated for the Best Performance award category for the 2007 Classical Music Awards. Smith aims to be 'useful as a composer', an artist in the community who is a composer, performer and teacher. AMUSICA and Reedmusic publish selected works.


Biography provided by the composer — current to December 2007

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Species of fire : for solo recorder (2007) Commissioned by Hans-Dieter Michatz.
Digital sheet music sample Inferno : for clarinet and chamber ensemble (2006) Commissioned by Sydney Omega Ensemble.
Sonata for solo flute : flute solo (2001) Commissioned by James Kortum.
Digital sheet music sample Poppy : for viola & cello (1998) Commissioned by Deborah Lander.