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Richard Charlton : Represented Artist

'The fact that you can evoke a whole world of emotion from a few strings stretched across a small wooden box has always fascinated me. My music is all about communicating that emotion.'

Random Audio Sample: Night rain in a tropical garden (duos: guitar, violin) by Richard Charlton, from the CD Ask me tomorrow


Photo of Richard Charlton

Photo: Lockie Mac

Richard is widely recognised as Australia's leading guitarist/composer. Born in the UK in 1955 he has lived in Australia since his parents emigrated in 1962. Largely self-taught he initially started writing music to expand his own repertoire, but now his works have been performed and recorded by many leading Australian and international players and feature on more than 30 CDs including labels such as ABC Classics, Naxos, Tall Poppies and Move Records. Many of the performers who commission works from Mr Charlton are among Australia's leading guitarists such as Timothy Kain, Karin Schaupp and Slava Grigoryan.

In 2004 Mr Charlton was awarded Instrumental Work of the Year at the APRA/AMC Classical Music Awards for his quartet Stoneworks. In 2005 the UK magazine Classical Guitar, described him as, "producing some of the most inspired and accessible guitar works of the present era."

Richard has had works premiered at many major festivals worldwide, including the Adelaide Festival, the Radio France International Guitar Week in Paris, the Sonorities Festival in Belfast, the Hamburg International Guitar Festival and the BDZ Euro Festival of Zupfmusik in Germany.

Mr Charlton uses the guitar in many combinations, collaborating with a diverse range of artists such as Matt Withers and the Acacia Quartet, Guitar Trek, William Barton, didgeridoo and Riley Lee, shakuhachi. (on the ABC Meditation program Classic Flow with guitarist Steve Allen) His work as an arranger has seen him contribute to all three Katie Noonan/Karin Schaupp duo CDs, one of which won an ARIA Award. In 2022 he won First Prize in the Matt Withers Australian Composition Competition.

Mr Charlton has been invited to lecture on composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide and at Griffith University in Brisbane. He has also taught in masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in London and has given chamber music classes for the students of Prof. Maria Isabel Siewers at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.

Many of Richard's pieces for students are currently in the AMEB Syllabus. He has also contributed pieces to the series Modern Times published by Chanterelle and to the Ben Verdery Guitar Series published by Frederick Harris Music in Canada.

Highly sought after as teacher, composer and pedagogue, Mr Charlton has worked with performers all over the world, conducting workshops at many schools and universities.

He is presently the Coordinator of Guitar Studies and Composer-in-Residence at Ascham School.


Richard Charlton — current to August 2022

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2004 Classical Music Awards - Instrumental Work of the Year Winner Stoneworks

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Chronicles of a River City : mandolin ensemble (2024) Commissioned by the Australian Federation of Mandolin Ensembles Inc.
Digital sheet music sample Arrivals and Departures : guitar ensemble (2023) The work was commissioned by Sergio Ercole for the Haileybury Guitar Ensemble in 2022
Digital sheet music sample From the High Country : for large guitar ensemble (2023) Commissioned by the Classical Guitar Society, Sydney with funding donated by Angela MacPherson.
Digital sheet music sample Hanging in the Balance : for guitar duo (2022) Commissioned by Matt Withers & Callum Henshaw
Mist Over the Ruined Castle : for solo guitar (2021) Commissioned by Paul & Tim Ballam-Cross
Digital sheet music sample Transforming Friday : guitar quartet (2021) Commissioned for Guitar Trek's - "Song Project" (re-imaginings of popular songs)

Analysis & Media

- Program note: Richard Charlton's "Four Australian folk songs"
program note by the composer

- Program note: Richard Charlton's "Nightsongs"
program note by the composer

- Program note: Roland Charlton's "Rainsong"
program note by the composer