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Alice Humphries : Associate Artist

Photo of Alice Humphries

Photo: Penny Lane

Alice Humphries is a highly versatile composer working across and in-between the contemporary classical, jazz and experimental worlds. Her music has been described as "deeply thought-provoking…offering both moments of incredible intensity and sublime serenity." Her output includes electro-acoustic, chamber and orchestral music, as well as music for dance, documentary, and collaborative cross art form projects. She seeks to create evocative, immersive, and engaging sound worlds that take inspiration from natural phenomena, and intersections between humanity and nature.

Her music has been performed across Australia and internationally and she has received commissions from major artists and organisations including Musica Viva, Ensemble Offspring, The Melbourne Recital Centre, The Letter String Quartet, Syzygy Ensemble and Tura New Music. In 2018 her composition Tide toured China and Singapore with the University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of recent collaborative projects include composing for Demake/Demaster by choreographer Sarah Aiken as part of STRUT dance's 2022 SITU-8:City program and being a featured artist for Witness Stand by Madelyn Flynn, Tim Humphrey, Kylie Bracknell and Barry McGuire (commissioned by the Perth Festival in 2021). In 2020 Alice was one of the composers commissioned to create music for the site-specific collaborative dance film project FourByFour commissioned by Co:3 Dance and Tura New Music as part of the XR:WA festival.

Recently Alice has moved the improvisational practice she uses in her work as a composer into the public realm by taking a more active role as a performer. Through the collaborative project Unfold (with percussionist Thea Rossen), she creates work that is not constrained by traditional notation or concert structures and norms. Their work as a duo has been described as a "…mesmerising and captivating experience…"

Her output also includes arrangements and orchestrations for prominent Australian contemporary, jazz and music theatre artists including Josh Pyke, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, Tim Minchin, Missy Higgins, Meow Meow and Eddie Perfect. Her arrangements have been performed by all of Australia's major orchestras and she has been part of events and shows including the 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, the Perth Festival, Shane Warne the Musical and Meow Meow's Pandemonium.

Alice has been the Composer-in-Residence for the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) and the Percy Grainger Museum and been a finalist in the APRA Professional Development Awards, and the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards. She completed her undergraduate studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has a master's and a PhD in composition from the University of Melbourne. She currently maintains a freelance schedule as a composer, in addition to being a sessional lecturer in music at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Alice Humphries — current to May 2023

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2013 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Jazz Finalist The world rushes on

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Joy Gleams : After Hildegard : Duet for viola and piano (2021) Commissioned by Geoff Stearn for performance by Musica Viva Australia.
Digital sheet music sample Small Stones That Start An Avalanche : for solo guitar (2020) Commissioned by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music for the Guitar Perspectives Composition Award. With thanks to Peter and Rasika Crowley for their generous support of this award.
Nautical Twilight : string quartet (2017) Commissioned by Melbourne Recital Centre, University of Melbourne with the support of Majlis Pty Ltd.
Digital sheet music sample Hystericus (And other mostly women's words) : for flute, bass clarinet, violin and cello (2016) Commissioned with the generous support of the Alan C. Rose Scholarship
Digital sheet music sample Undertow : for chamber orchestra (2015) Commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Digital sheet music sample Wildflowering : for clarinet quartet (2013) Commissioned by West Australian Clarinet Quartet.