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Brenda Gifford : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: Music for The Dreaming (unspecified voice with chamber ensemble) by Brenda Gifford, from the CD Women of Note

Photo of Brenda Gifford

Photo: Marissa McDowell

Influences, styles: Indigenous Australian Culture, Indigenous music

Brenda Gifford is a Yuin woman, originally from Wreck Bay on the South Coast of NSW. A contemporary classical composer and classically trained saxophonist and pianist, she has twenty years of extensive experience as a musician. A First Nations person, her culture is the basis of her arts practice.

Brenda has been commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, by Canberra International Music Festival for her work Gambambarawaraga ('seasons' in Dhurgha language) and by Four Winds Festival. Mungala (Clouds) commissioned for American star flautist Claire Chase premiered at National Sawdust New York in 2019. She was Ensemble Offspring's First Nations Composer In Residence 2020 while undertaking a Master of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as part of the Composing Women program.

Her ARIA-nominated album Music for the Dreaming, a work tailored for children exploring Dreamtime stories, received multiple performances at the Sydney Opera House in 2019, co-presented by Ensemble Offspring, ABC KIDS Listen and ABC Classics. Her music is available on the ABC Classics label.

Brenda was a member of the Band Mixed Relations with Bart Willoughby from No Fixed Address. She has toured extensively around Australia and internationally to Native American communities and the Pacific Islands. She worked with Kev Carmody, on his album Eulogy (for a black person), playing saxophone on the track 'Blood Red Rose', album/CD/-Festival/D-30692. She wrote the album sleeve notes for the reissued The Loner album by Uncle Vic Simms. Brenda has also conducted over 100 interviews and oral histories with Indigenous musicians and has curated notes and blogs.

Brenda Gifford — current to July 2022

Collaborated with



Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Minga Ngumbudhaa : (Mother Love) (2022) Commissioned by Musica Viva Australia.
Walimbaya (Return) (solo double bass) (2022) Commissioned by A Major Lift, Canberra International Music Festival.
Djana (Talk) : for alto flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone & clapsticks (2020) Ensemble Offspring's First Nations Composer in Residence 2020
Digital sheet music sample Plover Bird (quintets: flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin) (2018) Commissioned by Ngarra-Burria.
Digital sheet music sample Mungala (Clouds) : for alto flute and percussion (2018) Commissioned for Claire Chase.
Digital sheet music sample Gambambara (Seasons) : for flute, clarinet, vibraphone & cello (2017) Commissioned by Canberra International Music Festival.