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David Tunley : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Jesu Dulcis Memoria : SATB choir by David Tunley, from the CD Our time and place

David Tunley was born in Sydney in 1930 and after schooling he studied for the diploma of the Sydney Conservatorium, majoring in piano. After graduating he entered the Sydney Teachers' College for its Graduate Year and was appointed Music Master at Fort Street Boys' High School where he remained for five years. During this time he also studied for the external degree of Bachelor of Music from Durham University (UK). In 1958 he was appointed Lecturer in Music at the University of Western Australia where he remained for the rest of his career, eventually being appointed to the Chair of Music and Headship of the Department. He holds the degrees of Master of Music, Doctor of Letters and an Honorary Doctor of Music. He is now an Emeritus Professor and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Music.

Tunley's international reputation as a musicologist (very largely in French music) has tended to overshadow his reputation as a composer. Despite this, he won an Australia-wide Competition with his Two Preludes for Piano in 1962, and was awarded a prestigious French Government Scholarship two years later to study for a year in Paris under the celebrated teacher Nadia Boulanger, an experience he describes as 'transforming'. While studying with her, his Concerto for Clarinet and Strings was completed and later performed by Jack Harrison (to whom the work is dedicated) with the Strings of the ABC Festival Orchestra at the 1966 Festival of Perth. His Wedding Masque was conducted in a later Festival of Perth by Georg Tintner. Nevertheless, time-consuming research and writing as well as the multitude of activities (including choral conducting) associated with his position as Professor of Music has meant that his total output as a composer has been relatively modest. Whatever the style of a particular work may be, most of them reflect his love of expressive melody, colourful harmony and clear form. Thus, he cannot be described as an experimental composer, except that for him, every work poses its own new challenges.

Biography provided by the composer — current to August 2006

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
1987 Order of Australia Member of the Order For service to music as a composer and educator

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Immortal fire (multiple choirs) (1999) Commissioned for the Official Opening of the TVW Child Health Centre in Perth