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Tom Henry : Associate Artist

In style, my works often show a creative tension between tradition and modernity. In writing, I am inspired by poetry and the images I find there, the visual arts as well as the influence of past events.

Random Audio Sample: Solitude : for piano trio, after Mendelssohn's Song Without Words, Op.85, No.2 by Tom Henry, from the CD Selected Works by AMC Represented Artists, vol. 103.

Photo of Tom Henry

Photo: Terry Lane

Artist website: http://www.tomhenry.com.au/

Tom Henry is an Australian composer whose works have been performed in Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Canada.

Born in Melbourne, he began his musical career as a flautist. After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, he embarked on a period of overseas study with the French virtuoso Patrick Gallois. After returning to Australia in 2002 he held a number of positions including Associate Principal Flute with Orchestra Victoria and Guest Principal Flute with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Pops Orchestra. He also lectured in flute at the University of Melbourne from 2006 to 2009.

In recent years he has become increasingly active as a composer and has written works for solo piano, organ, voice, choir, chamber ensembles and orchestra. He completed his initial studies in harmony, counterpoint and composition with the late Australian composer Lawrence Whiffin (1931-2012), a former student of René Leibowitz. He then undertook further studies with Julian Yu, Stuart Greenbaum and Elliott Gyger. He holds a Masters Degree in Composition (2012) from the University of Melbourne, from which he received an Award for Best Composition Graduate. He is completing a PhD in Composition at the University of Melbourne under Stuart Greenbaum.

His many works for piano include two Piano Sonatas. His Piano Sonata No. 1 (2006, revised 2011) was dedicated to and first performed by Michael Kieran Harvey in 2011. A finalist in the 2011 American Liszt Society Bicentennial Composition Prize, a studio recording was released in 2012 on ASTRA 60. In 2022, a recording of his complete piano works by Jennifer Enchelmaier will be released on MOVE Records, titled 'Light in Dark'.

Commissions for chamber ensembles include the Huon Quartet (Shelley on the Water (2016)) and Syzygy Ensemble (Towards Patmos - after Hölderlin (2018)), for Macedon Music. His first string quartet, Scenes from a poet's life (2015), was commissioned for the Flinders Quartet, and recorded for ABC Classics on the CD The Offering. His Piano Trio (2020), for the Firebird Trio, was first performed in December 2020 for Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. His Sonata for Flute and Piano (2020) was first performed by Derek Jones and Jerry Wong in May 2022. A studio recording is available on MOVE Records as part of a CD of Australian works for flute, on Flute Perspectives - Volume 3.

His orchestral works include Variations for orchestra in three movements (2009), which won the APRA Prize in the 2010 3MBS National Composer Awards, and Ancestors for orchestra (2011), performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Kenneth Young. His Visions from the interior-after Fred Williams (2020) for large orchestra, received its first performance in 2022 in Hamer Hall, Melbourne, by the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, directed by Richard Davis.

His works for voice include a song cycle on Rilke's Book of Images ("Das Buch der Bilder") (2006). He has twice been commissioned by the Australian Chamber Choir to write major unaccompanied works for their European tours. In both works he chose themes of identity, belonging and displacement. The epic Kakadu Man - the words of Bill Neidjie (2015) is a setting of the words of the late Aboriginal (Gagudju) Elder, Bill Neidjie (1920-2002). The second, Uncertain Journeys (2017) combined contemporary accounts of the refugee experience with parallel texts from the Christian Bible and the 14th century Persian poet, Hafiz. Both works met with critical success in their European and Australian performances.

Website: https://www.tomhenry.com.au

Scores and recordings of the composer can be accessed at the Australian Music Centre: https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/artist/henry-tom.

Tom Henry — current to July 2022

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Piano Trio : for violin, cello and piano (2020) Commissioned by Dr Judith Heale for the Firebird Trio
Digital sheet music sample Visions from the interior - after Fred Williams : for orchestra (2020) Commissioned by the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and its Director, Richard Davis.
Towards Patmos (after Hölderlin) : for mixed quintet (2018) Commissioned as part of the Glen Johnston Commissions Project
Digital sheet music sample Piano Sonata No. 2 : 'On the name of Grevis Beard' (2018) Commissioned by Richard Knafelc on the 50th birthday of his husband Grevis Beard
Digital sheet music sample Celebration of love : for SATB choir (2017) Commissioned by Roslyn White, on the occasion of the 50 years of marriage to Christopher White.
Uncertain journeys : for unaccompanied choir, SATB (2017) Commissioned by Australian Chamber Choir.