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Concertos


Australian concertos

Alfred Hill remarked that a minor composer should write for instruments ‘passed over by the great’ – and wrote a beautiful viola concerto to prove it. Several major Australian composers since have written viola concertos of high quality. Other ‘Cinderella’ instruments include the tuba, for which Brenton Broadstock and Raffaele Marcellino have composed excellent concertos, the double bass, to which Colin Bright has turned his attention, and the recorder, thanks to the advocacy of Genevieve Lacey. Australian composers have also embraced non-Western instruments for virtuosos such as koto player Satsuki Odamura, Riley Lee, grand master of the shakuhachi, and didjeridu whizz William Barton.

More ‘conventional’ instruments are well represented in Australian music, partly because of the existence of composer/performers as different as Miriam Hyde and Roger Smalley (whose first piano concerto was the recommended work at the 1987 Paris Rostrum), and increasingly thanks to a group of resident soloists dedicated in principle to the support of new music. Among pianists these include Roger Woodward, Michael Kieran Harvey and Stephanie McCallum; oboist Diana Doherty, trumpeter Geoffrey Payne and guitarist John Williams have also inspired new concertos. Visiting artists such as cellist Truls Mørk, flautists Emanuel Pahud and James Galway and percussionist Evelyn Glennie have also premiered new Australian works.

See also: Australian piano concertos

Representative Works

  Work Notes
Phoenix (1980) by John Carmichaelflute concerto written for James Galway’s visit to Australia in 1980.
Violin concerto (1986) by Bozidar Kosis a fine example of idiomatic writing and modernist language.
The unquiet grave (1998) by Andrew Fordthis viola concerto dramatises and reconstructs a classic English folk song.
Trumpet concerto (2007) by James Ledgeris notable for its use of evocative movement titles and wonderful ear for sound.
Inflight entertainment (2000) by Graeme Koehneexploits the virtuosity of Diana Doherty.
 Dreams (2003) by Munro, Iana piano concerto that garnered its composer the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium prize.

Broader categories of Concertos