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Alan Holley : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Pobblebonk by Alan Holley, from the CD One hour to madness and joy

Photo of Alan Holley

Alan Holley studied composition with Ross Edwards in 1973 at the University in Sydney. Leaving university at the end of that year without completing his Bachelor of Arts degree, Holley joined the new music group AZ Music as a performer (trumpet) and composer. This group commissioned and performed several of his early works, and he remained with them for two years. In 1976 Holley founded MUSED, a new music ensemble which mainly performed music by Sydney composers, and he promoted regular concerts by this group between 1976 and 1981. MUSED also performed works by Holley, and gave him his first experience of conducting.

Holley received an Australia-Japan Foundation Travel Grant in 1977 which enabled him to undertake a two-month study tour attending new music festivals in Japan. The following year he was awarded grants from the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Music Board of the Australia Council to represent Australia at the Gulbenkian Foundation Summer School for Composers and Choreographers at Surrey University in the UK. Holley was the recipient of Composers' Fellowships from the Music Board of the Australia Council in 1980 and 1982.

Holley has also built a career for himself as a conductor. After MUSED he conducted community-based orchestras before founding the Northern Chamber Orchestra in 1981. This ensemble gave him the opportunity both to expand his experience as a conductor, and to fill what he perceived to be a gap in Sydney's musical community. Holley was a participant in the ABC Conductors' Workshops under Werner Andreas Albert with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1985, and again in 1986 with the ABC Sinfonia. In 1986 he founded the new music ensemble, The Gallery Players, and in 1989, the Sydney Bach Orchestra.

Alan Holley's compositions include a chamber opera based on the life of Dorothea Mackellar, works for chamber orchestra, for small ensembles, for voice, and for solo instruments. He considers his experiences as a conductor and musical director to have been invaluable in teaching him the art of orchestration.

Biography provided by the composer

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Umbra : clarinet with piano Written for Richard Rourke
Canzona for Ligeti (quintets: horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba) (2006) Written at the request of Paul Goodchild.
Digital sheet music sample Doppler's web : concerto for tumpet and orchestra (2005) Commissioned by Sydney Symphony.
Digital sheet music sample Auric : for solo trombone (2004) Commissioned by Greg Van der Struik.

Analysis & Media

- Document: Profile – Alan Holley

- Review: Quito Martin Wesley-Smith November 1994