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Rosalind Carlson : Associate Artist

'My aim is to describe in sound an interpretation of aspects of my natural environment...'

Random Audio Sample: Circle of memories (solo cor anglais) by Rosalind Carlson, from the CD Bushfire

Photo of Rosalind Carlson

Rosalind Carlson OAM was born in Wahroonga, Sydney in 1937. She was awarded a Department of Education scholarship to study music at the Conservatorium of Music and the Sydney Teachers' College, and graduated in 1958 as a music specialist.

During her 28 years as a music educator, Carlson became a demonstration teacher to young trainee teachers. In 1979 she was promoted from a music mistress to relieving Secondary Principal at Cheltenham Girls' High School, and in the same year was appointed by the Department of Education as an HSC music examiner for NSW in performance, composition and musicology.

Carlson says: "My aim in composition is to absorb the natural Australian environment which surrounds me. Therefore nature has a powerful influence and is the inspiration for my creativity. In this regard, my musical works can be quite evocative and descriptive. I am fortunate to live in a rural area which stimulates this aim. So my musical output is derived from Australia itself. It is my observations of this wonderful country, with its vast contrasts, that awakens and stimulates my music. It is this Australian sound that I am endeavouring to capture."

About her style of composition she says: "The melodic content found in my music is an important integral element. Here the tonality is driven by sound rather than by key."

Carlson's music has been commissioned by musicians including the Hunter Singers, the Carlson Chorale, the Third Australian Women's Music Festival, oboist Margaret Burdan, and concert pianist Sorina Zamfir. Her music has been performed at the Asian Composers' League Festival in Taiwan and in Israel. In 1988 she won the Gold Coast Annual Composers' Competition with her work Waterfall in Spring. In 2006 her Australian Bushfire was world premiered in Tuscany, Italy, at the Cortona Contemporary Music Festival.

Carlson has always had a love for singing and, throughout her career, her conducting activities have ranged from conducting massed choirs of over 1,000 voices with orchestra, to highly specialised a cappella vocal ensemble work.

In 1972 Carlson founded the Carlson Chorale, an all-female chamber choir which has won numerous awards and honours. In 1979 the Chorale toured to Israel and Europe and Carlson was subsequently awarded the Israel State Medal. The Chorale has recorded two CDs, both of which contain samples of Carlson's works.

Carlson has written choral reviews for the American Choral Director Association's The Chorale Journal, as well as articles for various music magazines including The Australian Music Teacher and The Studio for the Music Teachers' Association of NSW.

Much of Carlson's woodwind music has been published by Phylloscopus Publications in England. Her graded technical exercises, Flexi-Fingers, and associated books have enjoyed enormous success since their publication in 1992.

Carlson is a member of a number of professional organisations, and in 1988 she joined the Council of the MTA (NSW). She is a member of the Fellowship of Australian Composers. In 2002 she was entered in the International Who's Who of Classical Music published by Europa.

Please note that Rosalind Carlson's three Flexi-Finger Piano Technique Books - Five Concert Pieces for piano (grades 2-5); Graphic Technique Tutor for Beginning Pianists (20 graded exercises) and Piano Technique Workbook (with 32 short extenstion pieces for further development of technique control) are available directly from Rosalind Carlson at www.rosalindcarlson.com

Rosalind Carlson — current to April 2011

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Pastorale : for solo oboe or solo cor anglais (2011) Commissioned by Rachel Tolmie.
Digital sheet music sample An Australian tone poem for Wollongong : flute ensemble (2010) Commissioned for the Wollongong Flute Ensemble by Suzanne Cowan, funded by the Wollongong Council Cultural Grant 2009-10
Digital sheet music sample The yellow-tailed black cockatoos : for solo oboe or cor anglais (2010) Commissioned by Rachel Tolmie.
Digital sheet music sample The Newcastle Flyer : for SSAA choir & piano (2002) Commissioned by Carlson Chorale.
Cat and kitten : for solo clarinet (2002) Commissioned by Julie Watts for Rowena Watts
Digital sheet music sample Circle of memories : oboe solo (2002) Commissioned by Margaret Burdan, a Melbourne oboist ... It is an evocative solo for oboe in which the composer is remembering her husband, who died in March 2000