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Elliott Gyger : Represented Artist

My recent vocal works hinge on a fascination with languages and the ways they work - phonetically, syntactically, semantically, dramatically. In writing music (whether vocal or instrumental) I seek to address the same concerns under different labels.

Random Audio Sample: I am not yet born : for children's choir (or women's choir) by Elliott Gyger, from the CD Shall we dream?

Photo of Elliott Gyger

Photo: David Ellis


Elliott Gyger was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1968, and began writing music at about the age of ten. His composition teachers have included Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe, Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Sydney (1990) and a PhD in Music from Harvard University (2002). His awards have included the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Fellowship, the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and commission grants from the Australia Council and the Fromm Foundation.

Elliott Gyger's music essays a synthesis of some of the bewildering diversity within Western art music of the late 20th and early 21st century. Grounded in the structural rigour of high modernism, it is concerned with the nexus between harmony and instrumental/vocal gesture. His instrumental works typically explore dramatic interactions between soloists and groups, whether in an orchestral or chamber context. His substantial vocal and choral output is similarly multilayered, with many pieces setting texts in multiple languages.

Recent works include the celesta concerto Angels and Insects (2010); an hour-long solo piano work inspired by Dante, Inferno (2013), for Michael Kieran Harvey; and a tenor saxophone concerto entitled Smoke and Mirrors (2014), premiered in December 2014 by soloist Joshua Hyde with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra. His 'dialogue for orchestra' on air (2011) was awarded the Sydney Symphony 80th Anniversary Composition Prize, receiving its first performances with the SSO under Vladimir Ashkenazy in March 2012. giving voice (2012), for mezzo-soprano and five instruments, won the 2013 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award, and was premiered by Jenny Duck-Chong with Halcyon in July 2014. 2015 saw Sydney Chamber Opera's critically acclaimed seasons of his chamber opera on David Malouf's novel Fly Away Peter, in Sydney and Melbourne; and the premiere of his piano concerto From Joyous Leaves for Zubin Kanga and Arcko Symphonic Ensemble.

Gyger is also active as a conductor, teacher and writer on new music. He was Assistant Professor of Music at Harvard from 2002 to 2007, and has taught at the University of Melbourne since 2008, where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Composition. He has been a tutor for young composer development programs with Halcyon, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and National Music Camp. He has written extensively on Australian composer Nigel Butterley, including a book on his music published by Wildbird Press in April 2015.

Elliott Gyger — current to December 2015

Influenced by

Nigel Butterley


Studied with

Ross Edwards

Peter Sculthorpe


Teacher/Influence on

Michael BakrnĨev

Jakob Bragg (2016 - 2018)

Lisa Cheney (2015 - 2019)

Joseph Franklin (2020 - current)

May Lyon

Robert McIntyre (2019)

Scott McIntyre (2008 - 2009)

Charlie Sdraulig (2007 - 2008)

Harry Sdraulig (2013 - 2016)

Sam Smith (2013 - 2016)

Jane Stanley

Jack Symonds

Mark Viggiani (2008 - current)

Nicholas Vines (2001)

Chris Williams

Chris Williams (2010)

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Strands II Composed to honour De Eric Gross, upon his retirement from the position of Associate Professor in the Music Dept at Sydney University
Star trail (solo piano) Composed in response to Julian Yu's call for variations on 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'
Oscar and Lucinda (chamber opera) (2019) Commissioned by Victorian Opera, Sydney Chamber Opera, Opera Queensland.
Digital sheet music sample Baptism by Fire : for double SSAATTBB choir (2018) Commissioned by Luminescence Chamber Singers for performance by Luminescence Chamber Singers, The Consort of Melbourne.
Digital sheet music sample Weave : for six players (2018) Written for the MCM New Music Studio
Digital sheet music sample This kind of life : a culinary correspondence (2018) Commissioned by Ian Dickson

Analysis & Media

- Article: Rough Beast, Couth Clouds

- Document: Harbour Noise is a Fatal Distraction

- Program note: Flower Songs Ross Edwards

- Review: The Song Company Haunted Lullabies

- Program note: Silence

- Review: The Song Company Haunted Lullabies 2 October 1993

- Review: The Song Company Haunted Lullabies 2 October 1993

- Review: Spring International Festival of New Music 16 October 1993

- Program note: FICTA

- Review: The Song Company Ten Years 1984-1994 21 August 1994

- Review: The Song Company ten Years 1984-1994 21 August 1994

- Review: The Song Company ten years 1984 - 1994 21 August 1994

- Video: Elliott Gyger on composition - In conversation with...

- Video: Elliott Gyger on Giving Voice: Working with text - In conversation with...

- Video: Elliott Gyger on Giving Voice: Ensembles - In Conversation With...

- Video: From the hungry waiting country (Part 1: Wet), by Elliott Gyger

- Video: From the hungry waiting country (Part 2: Dry), by Elliott Gyger

- Video: Elliott Gyger on Vocal Chamber Music - In Conversation With...

- Video: Elliott Gyger on Setting Text - In Conversation With...