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Benedict Deane-Johns : Associate Artist

As an Australian with Celtic heritage, much of Deane-Johns's music is influenced by the traditional music of his ancestors, and by his experience of the vastness and isolation of the Australian continent.

Random Audio Sample: No time at all : solo violin and piano by Benedict Deane-Johns, from the CD River


Photo of Benedict Deane-Johns

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One of Australia's outstanding up-and-coming orchestral composers, Ben Deane-Johns has written music for film, theatre and dance. Born in Melbourne in 1971, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the Victorian College of the Arts and a graduate diploma in composition from Melbourne University. An experienced performer as singer, trumpet player, pianist and bandleader, he has also done much arrangement and production for other artists. Deane-Johns's music draws on his family's Celtic heritage, as well as contemporary orchestral, jazz, dance and film music influences. The evolution of folk tune material in his work was initially subconscious, with the Australian pianist Michael Kieran Harvey first drawing attention to the evocative nature of the harmonies in his solo piano work Ode to the God of Fire, and their suggestions of Celtic traditions.

Deane-Johns has released five albums of his material: a chamber music CD entitled The River - Music for an Exhibition (2017), an album of original songs entitled Getting Nowhere Fast by Uncle Benny (2015), an album of Celtic songs and pieces entitled Carry me Home (2005), a collection of original songs by Taliesin entitled The Sea Sessions (2000) and Ode to the God of Fire, an album of contemporary orchestral music (1998). The title track from this album was performed and recorded by Michael Kieran Harvey at the 1997 Melbourne International Festival. The pieces Shining Brow (for solo Uilleann pipes), Song for Chloe, The Prayer and Gwydion (written in Cornish) from The Sea Sessions album have been published by Boa Records (Zamie Songs) of Canada.

Deane-Johns's first piece for full orchestra, The Mirror Pool, was premiered by the Queensland Youth Orchestra in September 2003, with a reduced version of the piece presented by Ensemble Rosario of Argentina in April 2003. This piece was a finalist in the 2002 MusOz Challenge (Best Classical Piece), with Ode to the God of Fire a finalist in the same category in 2001.

Deane-Johns has written scores for the plays Wrongful Life (2005) and Renaissance (2006) (written by Ron Elisha), both directed by Dave Letch and performed at Chapel off Chapel and the Old Fitzroy Theatre respectively. 2007 saw the premiere of The Full-Rigged Ship, performed by the Sydney Sinfonia (conducted by Richard Gill) as part of the Discovery Series at the City Recital Hall, in addition to the composition of original music for the fantasy/adventure feature film Wishbone. 2009 saw the completed commission from Ivanhoe Grammar of a new work for full orchestra, entitled Reaching the Shore.


Benedict Deane-Johns — current to January 2018

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
The River. Movt. 5: Breton for Pop : for piano quintet (2015) Commissioned in 2015 by the visual artist Stacey Zass for her exhibition entitled "The River"
The River. Movt 3: The morning song : for piano quintet (2015) Commissioned in 2015 by the visual artist Stacey Zass for her exhibition entitled "The River"
The River. Movt 2: Theme for Mary (solo piano) (2015) Commissioned by the visual artist Stacey Zass for her exhibition entitled "The River"
The River. Movt. 4: Carousel (solo piano) (2015) Commissioned in 2015 by the visual artist Stacey Zass for her exhibition entitled "The River"
The River. Movt. 1: The river (solo piano) (2015) Commissioned in 2015 by the visual artist Stacey Zass for her exhibition entitled "The River"
Digital sheet music sample Reaching the Shore : orchestra : youth orchestra (2009) Commissioned by Ivanhoe Grammar School, Melbourne