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Colin Spiers : Represented Artist

I believe that music is essentially about communication. I have always felt that I am a composer because I have something to say, and the desire expressed in the statement, "I am a composer, listen to me!" therefore brings my greatest sense of fulfilment.

Random Audio Sample: Chaconne by Colin Spiers, from the CD Best of Jade classics

Photo of Colin Spiers

Photo: Colin Spiers

Born in 1957, Brisbane-born composer and pianist Colin Spiers studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where his teachers were Max Olding, Rhonda Vickers, and Alan Lane. Graduating in 1979 with the conservatorium's Medal of Excellence, Spiers was then awarded a Commonwealth Postgraduate Scholarship and studied with composer Philip Bracanin at the University of Queensland.

During his tenure at the University of Queensland, Spiers was employed variously as an academic tutor and accompanist, before joining the full-time staff as a lecturer in piano in 1984. Four years later he became a foundation member of the new music ensemble Perihelion, which, during his three-year tenure, premiered a large number of new Australian works, made numerous recordings, and undertook several interstate tours.

Upon leaving Perihelion in 1990, Spiers joined the staff of the Newcastle Conservatorium, firstly as a lecturer in piano, and later as senior lecturer in composition. His composition career began in 1980, when his Elegy and Toccata was awarded a prize in the Sydney Savage Club Composition Competition. Since then he has produced a steady stream of music, which includes numerous piano works (including five sonatas), as well as chamber, vocal and orchestral pieces. His larger works have been performed by the Queensland Symphony, the Queensland Philharmonic, and the Hunter Orchestras.

In 1993 Spiers gained an honourable mention in the Ernest Bloch International Composition Competition, and two years later won the prestigious Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Competition with his Piano Sonata No. 2. His works have appeared on the ABC Classics and Jade labels, as well as in ABC broadcasts, while Memory for soprano and orchestra (or piano), and A Slender Strand of Memories for four vocal soloists, choir and orchestra were premiered in 2008 and 2009.

Over the past twenty years Spiers has received several commissions from performers such as Perihelion, the Port Macquarie Music Society, Deborah Lander, the University of Newcastle Chamber Choir, and the University of Newcastle.

Colin Spiers — current to December 2009

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
1995 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition Winner Piano sonata no. 2

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Garden of souls : string orchestra (2011) Commissioned by David Banney for performance by Hunter Strings.
Digital sheet music sample A slender strand of memories (full orchestra with choir) (2009) Commissioned to commemorate the sesquicentenary of the incorporation of the city of Newcastle in 2009, with funds made available by the University of Newcastle
Digital sheet music sample The last thoughts of Prokofiev : for piano (2003) Commissioned by the ABC for the 2003 Melbourne Prokofiev Project
Digital sheet music sample Dreamsong : for choir, piano and horn (2002) Commissioned to celebrate Port Macquarie's Heritage Week
Digital sheet music sample Nsj : for clarinet, basset-horn & piano (1995) Commissioned by Graham Evans.
ZYJ : trumpet with piano (1993) Commissioned by John Kellaway.