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Sebastian Harris : Represented Artist

My ambition is to create magic for people using music and language.

Random Audio Sample: Oblivion : clarinet quartet by Sebastian Harris, from the CD Rear vision


Photo of Sebastian Harris

Photo: Alison Hogg

Sebastian Harris studied composition at the Victorian College of the Arts under Mark Pollard, graduating with Honours in 2004. During his studies he was selected to participate in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Young Composers Program with Stuart Greenbaum in 2002, developing a set of variations on the Australian National Anthem with the title Colonial Dreaming. In 2003 Richard Gill invited him to develop his work Motet for Orchestra for performance by Sydney Sinfonia, a training orchestra hosted by Sydney Symphony Orchestra. It was performed at City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney in 2007.

Other significant works include:

o The Rekorderlings Suite, written for recorder ensemble and performed in an orchestral arrangement by regional orchestras in Albany and Bunbury in 2014 and 2015;

o Chaconne for Clarinet Quartet (2004), first performed and recorded in 2004 by Melbourne ensemble Clarion 214; and

o The Wandering Eye, commissioned by Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey for pedal organ, contrabassoon, flügelhorn and drum set and performed in 2010

Driven by a fascination with language, he explores the relationships between language and music through linguistic study, choral music and opera. After completing postgraduate linguistic studies at Monash University, he led a cultural research project in 2009 documenting historic and traditional stories in endangered Gunwingguan languages in Arnhem Land Aboriginal communities. He has worked with choirs in Melbourne, Sydney and the Northern Territory, leading Katherine's community choir in 2013-2014 and touring in 2008 from Darwin to Uluru as a volunteer with the Sydney Street Choir.

Always curious to find new sounds and ways to relate to modern audiences, Harris has experimented with the Japanese language and Australian English in vocal music with soprano Jenna Robertson. As part of his opera studies, he participated in a five-week residency at Opera Australia, Sydney to observe the production process of Moffatt Oxenbould's 2012 production of Madama Butterfly, including in-person interviews with Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura. Significant vocal works to date include Gammon Husband for unaccompanied choir (2014) and Your Mother, I Could Have Been (2011) for soprano and orchestra, recorded in piano reduction with Jenna Robertson in 2016.

Further building on an affinity with theatre music, Harris also produced incidental music for 2004 cabaret The Gaza Strip Show with actor/director Sivan Gabrielovich, Darwin Festival's 2011 production of Head Full of Love written by Alana Valentine and directed by Wesley Enoch, and Katherine Fringe's Gorrdondolmi (2012).

Since moving to Albany, Western Australia, Harris has been working in the world of string orchestra with Albany Chamber Orchestra. The Orchestra performed Silent Disapproval in the Albany Arts Festival Season 2018, and under the leadership of conductor Burhan Güner commissioned Remembrance for performance on 21 July 2018.


Sebastian Harris — current to July 2018