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Warren Abeshouse : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Five bagatelles, op. 4 : for piano solo by Warren Abeshouse, from the CD Arc of light

Photo of Warren Abeshouse

Warren Abeshouse was born on May 8th 1952, a fourth generation Australian of Jewish but unmusical parents. By the age of four, an aptitude in music had displayed itself to a marked degree, indicated firstly by an attraction to records and gramophones, and secondly, by the discovery of the piano. Persistence paid off - he was rewarded with a piano for his 8th birthday.

His formal education was undertaken at Sydney Grammar School under the enlightened headmastership of Alistair Mackerras. There, from 1967 - 70, he received his first formal lessons in harmony, counterpoint and music history from Peter Seymour and David Miller, the latter becoming his musical mentor and for a short time his piano teacher. Peter Seymour also directed his attention to the timpani which he subsequently studied on a scholarship at the NSW Conservatorium of Music with Alard Maling. It was also at Grammar that he began to compose and develop his musical taste.

In 1972, he entered the Conservatorium as a composition student in a newly offered course, graduating in 1977 as the first person in 36 years and the second ever to be awarded the DSCM in composition. His teachers included John O'Donnell, Ross Edwards, Vincent Plush, James Penberthy, Edwin Carr and Martin Welsey-Smith, none of whom had any influence on his compositional style. Piano studies continued with Albert Landa.

Now, having reached a creative peak with The Age of Youth (1973 - 75) and Lemmata (1976 - 77), there was a hiatus for almost nine years, during which time a serious aesthetic re-evaluation was undertaken, signifying a change in stylistic idiom, from Neo-Romantic to Neo-Classical. In 1986, the drought broke with Les Adieux, which included Song for Darin from 1981.

The simplified harmonic language and classical precepts of this work are next manifested in Shadow Darkly (1989 - 90). Both it and Les Adieuz, which are presently being considered for use as ballets, were entered in the 1990 Sydney Eisteddfod. Les Adieux was awarded First Prize, a medal and and overseas study trip, while Shadow Darkly was Highly Commended.

In 1991, he wrote the Christopher Sonatina, a work praised for its cohesiveness and fluidity. 1992 - 93 saw only one new work, entitled Womblemov, for horn, cello and timpani, plus an extensive reworking of earlier piano works.

Biography provided by the composer — current to August 2005