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Stephen Lalor : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Reflection I : string quartet by Stephen Lalor, from the CD Chanterelle String Quartet

Photo of Stephen Lalor

Photo: Prudence Upton


Stephen Lalor completed his PhD (composition) at the University of Sydney in May 2014. His folio of compositions for solo mandolin, solo guitar, mandola, string quartet and mixed ensemble (titled Ethnicities of Sound) was described as 'sophisticated, compelling, cosmopolitan music compositions, which are beautifully rendered and replete with new sounds and virtuosic techniques that are deeply embodied by a musician-composer who is a specialist in the field of plucked instruments...' (Dr Aileen Dillane, University of Limerick, Ireland) and 'work... presented with a high degree of polish' (Dr Jonathan Stock, University of Cork).

Prior to his PhD, Stephen Lalor studied at the University of New South Wales (MMus) and the Tchaikovsky Conservatorium in Kiev where he undertook postgraduate studies in composition with Prof. Gennady Lyashenko, conducting and Russian mandolin/domra (with N.T. Lysenko).

As a composer, his musical output includes opera, music theatre, musicals, ballet, film, choral, vocal, theme and instrumental music. It has been performed and/or commissioned by major bodies including Opera Australia, the Melbourne Festival, the Queensland Ballet and Opera House Choral Concerts, but his work sits outside the mainstream of Australian composition - due to his early training being outside the Australian academic music system, and his extensive international performing career across classical and world music.

A selection of Stephen Lalor's music is published in the USA by Drake Mabry Publishing, and, in Europe, by Trekel Verlag, Hamburg. Representative pieces are held in the collections of the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler (Paris) and the US Library of Congress. This music is performed around the world by a range of performers and ensembles.

In Australia, the Chanterelle String Quartet's performances of his music have been heard in the Sydney Symphony's chamber concert series at St. James, in the SSO Chamber Series, and at the Opera House NightLounge series. Their performances of his music for ABC radio are frequently heard on ABC Classic FM, and their 2017 CD Music of Stephen Lalor prompted ABC commentary about the piece 'East-West':

Isn't it great? It's from a recent release played by The Chanterelle String Quartet and Stephen Lalor himself playing mandolin. I bet you'll be hearing that on Classic Breakfast again sometime soon (Phillip Sametz, ABC Classic Breakfast, 21 September 2017)

Great piece by Stephen Lalor, Australian composer ... Beautiful sound! (Christopher Lawrence, ABC Classic Drive, 18 September 2017)

The November 2017 peformance by Stephen with the Quartet in the St Augustin Concert Series in Sydney featured Stephen's works as well as his performance of the Vivaldi Mandolin Concerto with an enlarged string ensemble.

In 2003-04 Stephen Lalor was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research the creation and delivery of popular and world music courses in European conservatoriums and universities.

Stephen Lalor's music reflects a combination of his formal training and extensive experience in all forms of performance and interpretation at international level - from working with some of Australia's best improvising world musicians in the 101 Candles Orkestra to collaborating with touring Balkan gypsy musicians, American and British folk mandolinists, classical masters and Academy Award-winning film composers - on instruments ranging from mandolin to electric and slide guitar. He has collaborated with a range of artists in concert, from the Tawadros & Grigoryan brothers to members of Taraf de Haidouks, harpist Louise Johnson (featuring on several ABC Classics CDs), violinist Fiona Ziegler and renowned folk & American mandolinists.

A plucked string specialist, he is the Guest Principal Mandolinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, featuring as solo mandolinist on CD releases of the Mahler Symphonies and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (SSO/Ashkenazy), Gelmetti's Cantata Della Vita, and several Opera DVD and CD releases eg Don Giovanni (AOBO) and L'Amour Jaloux (Pinchgut Opera). As well as playing with other Australian orchestras (Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra, Orchestras Victoria) he has also performed and toured with orchestras in Asia - notably the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Singapore Symphony and the Malaysian Philharmonic. His most recent tours have been with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2016 (London, Copenhagen, Ediburgh Festival, Tanglewood (USA), and the Sydney Symphony (Shanghai & Beijing, September 2017). His October 2017 performance (on guitar) with the SSO in Brett Dean's Fire Music at the Sydney Opera House was acclaimed in Limelight magazine. 2018 sees Stephen performing fequently with the Singapore Symphony & Malaysian Philharmonic as well as with the Sydney Symphony and in his own projects with the Chanterelle String Qiartet and other ensembles.

Stephen has performed with a range of groups and ensembles over the past two decades: the Volatinsky Trio (WOMADelaide 2013, Perth International Festival 2014; CD Troika distributed through Planet/MGM); the Karpatsky Guitars (2004 Sydney Festival), the 101 Candles Orkestra (2005 Montreux Jazz Festival) and Plektra, whose eponymous CD was reviewed by Prof Robert Margo in the Journal of the Classical Mandolin Society of America, August 2014:

'Plektra, a seven-member ensemble, is the brainchild of Stephen Lalor... All of the music on the CD is arranged or composed by Lalor. The playing is highly polished, with very tight ensemble and beautiful sound throughout.'

In 2010 and 2014 he performed a program of his own music at the BDZ Eurofest (Europe's major mandolin and guitar festival) as well as conducting the Australis Ensemble at the festival (in an acclaimed performance of his own and other music) and on a pre-festival tour of Germany. At the 2010 and 2014 BDZ festivals he also performed solo sets with Plektra of his own music. In recent years he has performed his music in recitals from Sydney to Moscow, and featured on several CD releases of his own music and with other groups.

As well as film and soundtracks, Stephen Lalor has performed and recorded with Aboriginal groups including the Stiff Gins and the Black Turtles. He is the former Head of Contemporary Performance at the Australian Institute of Music, and was for many years also on the staff of Sydney's Eora Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Visual & Performing Arts in Sydney.

Stephen Lalor — current to January 2018

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Adelaide dances : for mandolin orchestra (2016) Commissioned for the 2017 Adelaide Mandolin Festival
Winter collection : three movements for mandolin orchestra (2015) Commissioned by Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles.
Australis suite : for mandolin orchestra (2013) Commissioned by the Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles
Atherton Tableland waltz : movement II from The Brisbane Suite for mandolin orchestra (2009) Commissioned by Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles.
Brisbane suite : for mandolin orchestra (2009) Commissioned by FAME (Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles) 2009
Gift : flute solo (2000) Commissioned by Random House Publishing for launch of book of the same name

Analysis & Media

- Video: Ballade and Autostrada waltz

- Video: Trio "Campanella" by Stephen Lalor.