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Constance Colley : Associate Artist

Photo of Constance Colley

Born in London to Irish parents and educated in Sydney and California, Constance Colley is the eldest of seven sisters.

On moving from NSW to Tasmania in 1979, Constance became actively involved in the Franklin River Campaign - writing and performing over 30 songs. Arrested at the Crotty Road demonstration in 1982, she led the G-day action in Strahan. Several of her songs are published in the Tasmanian Wilderness Society's Blockade Songbook and Senator Dr Bob Brown has deposited a recording of Constance's songs in the National Archives.

In 1984 Constance was invited to host a song writing workshop for the inaugural annual conference of the Tasmanian Peace Movement in Hobart. In 1985 she began studying composition with Wayne Madden, Convenor of Music at T.S.I.T. in Launceston and a former lecturer in composition at Melbourne University. During her nine years in Tasmania, Constance performed at the Longford Fold Festival as a singer/songwriter, trained with 7-LTN FM Launceston as a radio announcer and taught guitar.

Returning to NSW in 1987, Colley began studies with Harold Lobb. In 1988 she won the first 2MBS-FM Composers Competition with her work Fanfare. This was workshopped by Richard Meale and performed by the Sydney North Youth Orchestra under Colin Piper in May 1988.

While a student at Newcastle University Conservatorium (1996-2000), Constance organised several highly successful public concerts of her own works. She also participated in group concerts and workshops, and taught piano and composition to other students.

In 1997-98 she wrote the music for Michael Ewans and Shona Spence's productions of Sophocles, Aias and Elektra and became a member of APRA. During David Fanshaw's 1997 tour of African Sanctus, Constance acted as his 'girl Friday'.

Constance's string quintet Journey into light was first performed for the Heart Foundation's exhibition 'Images of the heart' in 1996 and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Cary, as part of 'Faith and the Arts' during his Australian visit in 1997.

In 1999 Geoff Williams commissioned her Magna Nunc and Fire on the Headland, written in response to the East Timor crisis. Bring down the Sky for piano was composed in response to a request for a larger piano work for Mary Warnecke in 2000.

Constance is currently studying cello with Renat Yusopov through the Australian Institute of Music, and engaged in writing cello duets for student/teacher ensemble work and a string quartet in first position for string students.

"Let others know what is important to you. Let your life speak"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Biography provided by the composer — current to September 2005

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Violin sonata, op. 91 : violin with piano (2003) Commissioned by Wanda Wilkomirska.
Digital sheet music sample Bring down the sky : for piano (2000) Written in response to a request from Mary Wainecke
Digital sheet music sample Fire on the headland : for violin, violoncello and pianoforte (1999) Commissioned by Michael Hooper.