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Ross Edwards : Represented Artist

Edwards's distinctive sound-world fuses shapes and patterns from nature with a variety of musical resources which reflect and celebrate Australia's cultural diversity.

Random Audio Sample: Koto dreaming (music theatre) by Ross Edwards, from the CD Koto dreaming

Photo of Ross Edwards

Photo: David Roche

Artist website: http://www.rossedwards.com

Influences, styles: Landscape and Nature

Publisher website: https://www.wisemusicclassical.com/composer/5558/Ross-Edwards/

Ross Edwards AM (b.1943) is an Australian composer of a wide variety of music including orchestral and chamber music, choral music, children's music, opera, ballet and film music. His distinctive sound world reflects his interest in deep ecology and his belief in the need to reconnect music with elemental forces, as well as restore its traditional association with ritual and dance. He also recognises the profound importance of music as an agent of healing. His music, universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries surrounding humanity, is at the same time connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws inspiration, especially birdsong and the mysterious patterns and drones of insects.

As a student at the Universities of Sydney and Adelaide, Edwards was fortunate in having among his teachers such luminaries as Richard Meale, Sándor Veress and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, with whom he later undertook postgraduate studies in London. During vacations he was an assistant to Peter Sculthorpe, gaining valuable insight into the working life of a composer. Returning to Australia, he became a lecturer in The Sydney Conservatorium's School of Composition, remaining there until 1980, when he began to freelance as a composer. For seven years he and his his wife Helen, a piano teacher, lived with their two children in the coastal village of Pearl Beach, north of Sydney, a crucial time for Edwards, as the sound world of the adjacent national park had a profound influence on the formation of his musical language. Today he is based in Sydney. He is an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium within The University of Sydney.

Reclusive by nature, Ross Edwards has been less interested in following a conventional career path than with responding to the inner dictates of his vocation. Far from being isolationist, however, his music is widely performed and represented at major international music festivals. Today, its surface accommodates an eclectic outlook with oblique references to many universal cultural symbols in what he describes as an "intuitive search for unity within diversity". Some of his works for the concert hall allow for a visual component, notably his Fourth Symphony, Star Chant; others - such as the instrumental concertos Bird Spirit Dreaming, Full Moon Dances and Frog and Star Cycle - for lighting, movement and costume. His Dawn Mantras greeted the new millennium in a global telecast from the sails of the Sydney Opera House to universal acclaim. Recent works include Zodiac, for the Houston Ballet, Dances of Life and Death for the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony; Singing the Love, for The Choir of King's College Cambridge; Four Inscapes, for the Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival; String Quartet No. 4, Ridley Gold, the Australian String Quartet, Orison for solo cello, Vespers for Mother Earth, a large-scale work for voices and instruments commissioned by the Judith Neilson Institute, and a cello concerto for David Rowden and the Omega Ensemble of Sydney .

Ross Edwards' music is published by Wise Music G. Schirmer Australia Pty Ltd.

Ross Edwards — current to June 2023

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Madegascan song : chamber orchestra Commissioned for Sydney Soloists.
Koto dreaming (music theatre) Commissioned by the Australian Institute of Eastern Music, for the 2003 Festival of Asian Music and Dance, Sydney
Digital sheet music sample Miracles : for SATB unaccompanied choir Commissioned by Gondwana Choirs.
Digital sheet music sample A Little Waltz for Kirsten : Violin solo (2020) Written as part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's 2020 Australian Miniseries.
Vespers for Mother Earth (octets: 8 voices) (2020) Commissioned by Judith Neilson.
Halcyon : saxophone solo (2020) Written for Amy Dickson's Solo Sessions

Analysis & Media

Kit: Dance with nature : the chamber music of Ross Edwards / music resource kit by Philip Cooney.

Kit: The chamber music of Ross Edwards / written by Stephen Lalor.

Book: Beyond sacred and maninya : developments in the music of Ross Edwards between 1991-2001 / P.G. Cooney.

Book: The music of Ross Edwards : aspects of ritual / by Paul Stanhope.

Book: The music of Ross Edwards : a chronological survey / Amanda Meale.

Book: The piano music of Ross Edwards : a performer's approach / by Ross Hamilton.

Book: Towards an Australian style : on the relationship between the Australian landscape and natural environment and the music of Peter Sculthorpe and Ross Edwards / Jeanell Carrigan.

Kit: White ghost dancing : orchestral music by Ross Edwards / teaching booklet by Philip Cooney.

eBook: White ghost dancing : orchestral music by Ross Edwards [eKit] / teaching booklet by Philip Cooney.

Book: A Singluar Voice : the choral music of Ross Edwards / William Kempster.

- Article: Contrasting Composers Committed To Local Music

- Document: Ross Edwards

- Document: Composer profile – Ross Edwards, A Natural Way

- Program note: Ross Edwards' "Maninyas: Concerto for Violin and Ochrestra"

- Document: Ecstatic Dance/Edwards

- Document: Edwards - Maninyas – Concerto for violin and orchestra

- Document: Edwards - Maninyas – Concerto for violin and orchestra

- Article: Dawn of a new world symphony

- Article: In Meditative Mode

- Article: Risks in offering Ross Edwards to the young

- Review: The Song Company 18 October 1992

- Review: Lament for A The Song Company 21 March 1993

- Program note: Flower Songs Ross Edwards

- Review: The Song Company: Music and the Environment 23 April 1993

- Program note: Martin Wesley Smith 50th Birthday Concert

- Program note: Southern Cross Chants

- Review: The Song Company Songs Signs and Stars 2 December 2004

- Review: The Song Company Songs, Signs and Stars

- Video: Ross Edwards's "Prelude & Dragonfly Dance"

- Program note: Ross Edwards' "Raft song at sunrise"
by Ross Edwards
Source: the score of this work

- Program note: Ross Edwards' "Water Spirit Song"
by Ross Edwards
Source: the score of this work

- Video: Melbourne arioso, by Ross Edwards (excerpt)

- Video: Ross Edwards on composition I: In conversation with...

- Video: Ross Edwards on Maninya I and text setting - In conversation with...

- Video: Ross Edwards on writing for voice and early works

- Video: Ross Edwards on being an Australian composer

- Video: The tranquil mind, by Ross Edwards

- Video: Ross Edwards on Composition II - In Conversation With...