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Stephen Lalor : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Zakarpatsky : for mandolin orchestra by Stephen Lalor, from the CD Troika

Photo of Stephen Lalor

Photo: Prudence Upton


"Lalor's Flying is passionate, wistful music that's instantly affecting".

'Its long and beautiful melodic lines seem to lift us high above the clouds, propelled by gentle yet insistent rhythms motoring away underneath. In its calmer moments there's a sense of weightlessness, of effortlessly floating through the air, but the momentum always returns to carry us forwards on our journey' - Sydney Symphony Orchestra online, 3 February 2002


"New orchestral piece sparkles like the lake .. A sensationally uplifting concert overture .. exceptional new work by Dr Stephen Lalor"

- InTouch Magazine, Autumn 2022 review of "Mima Concert Overture" premiere

Dr Stephen Lalor's compositions Ethnicities of Sound were described as 'sophisticated, compelling, cosmopolitan music compositions... 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)

'a multi-lingual music-maker' whose music is 'moody, folk-flavoured, ranging from powerful, soulful lyricism to the wistful, catchy ride of Flying' (Sydney Morning Herald review of the 2017 recording Music of Stephen Lalor by the Sydney Symphony's Chanterelle String Quartet, 10 March 2018).

'A very beautiful and beautifully crafted work' - Dr Jim Bates, conductor of US premiere of Stephen Lalor's 'Australis Suite', Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois State University October 12 2019

"Stephen Lalor's 'Waltz' & 'Antipodie' (1994) exude a cool, Satiesque aloofness" - Australian Piano Music of the 20th Century (Sitsky,L; Praeger Pulishers, Westport, CT, USA 2005)

Qualifications/Study include:

  • PhD in Composition (USyd)
  • MMus Musicology (UNSW)
  • Tchaikovsky Conservatorium Kiev postgrad studies in composition (G. I. Lyashenko), conducting (Y.V. Tarnopolsky) & domra (N.T. Lysenko)
  • Churchill Fellow 2003

His compositions span opera, music theatre, symphonic, musicals, ballet, film, choral, vocal, theme and instrumental music. This music has been performed by major bodies including Opera Australia, the Melbourne Festival, the Queensland Ballet and Opera House Choral Concerts; it is recorded and broadcast nationally by the ABC and overseas artists.

A selection of Stephen Lalor's music is published by Trekel Verlag, Hamburg. Representative pieces are in the collections of the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler (Paris) & the US Library of Congress.

2022 performances/recordings of his work included:

  • "Mist in the Valley" (Spotify) recorded by Poul Hoxbro (January)
  • "Mima Concert Overture" for symphony orchestra - commissioned for Lake Maquarie Philharmonic by MIMA Arts Centre (1 May)
  • "Australis Suite" recorded by SMO on CD "Mosaic" (May)
  • "Bukovina Odyssey" - The Metroplitan Orchestra (Sydney, 5 June)
  • "A Bridge Across Time" - premiered at The Australian Chamber Orchestra's Nielsen Hall (23 October). Commissioned by The Sydney Mandolin Orchestra.
  • Sydney Symphony performances of his string quartets (City Recital Hall, Angel Place) www.sydneysymphony.com/backstage-news/stephen-lalor-flying

Scheduled 2023 performances of his work include:

  • newly commissioned work for violin, clarinet & piano (April)
  • "Mima Concert Overture" - The Metropolitan Orchestra (20 August) https://www.metorchestra.com.au/event/met3-2023/
  • string quartets performed by The Metropolitan Orchestra (16 September) https://www.metorchestra.com.au/event/chamber1-2023/
  • newly commissioned Mass for the anniversary of St Augustine's Balmain

Lalor's music reflects a combination of his formal training and extensive experience in all forms of performance and interpretation at international level.

A plectrum-instrument specialist, Lalor guests as principal mandolin, guitar (& related instruments) with orchestras throughout Australia & abroad, 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 e.g. Don Giovanni (OA) and L'Amour Jaloux (Pinchgut Opera). In Australia he has collaborated with a range of artists in concert, from the Tawadros and Grigoryan brothers to Taraf de Haidouks and violinist Fiona Ziegler. He has featured on several ABC Classics CDs.

Recent tours have been with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2016 (London, Copenhagen, Edinburgh Festival, Tanglewood) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Shanghai and Beijing, September 2017). His October 2017 performance (electric guitar) with the SSO in Brett Dean's Fire Music at the Sydney Opera House was acclaimed in Limelight magazine. Before Covid struck, 2018/19 saw Stephen performing & recording with the Singapore Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia & The Australian Ballet as well as chamber concerts and a Chatswood Concourse Concert of his own music.

Major performances in 2022 included the mandolin solo in "Otello" and guitar in "La Juive" (Opera Australia); mandolin in Prokoviev's "Romeo & Juliet" (Australian Ballet) and the Vivaldi Mandolin Concerto at Australian Chamber Orchestra's Nielsen Hall. 2023 sees him again playing the mandolin solo in "Don Giovanni" (Opera Australia).

He has performed with a range of ensembles & orchestras at all the major Australian festivals, as well as the Edinburgh, Tsaritsyn (Moscow), Bulgakov (Moscow) & Montreux Jazz Festivals as well as Tanglewood (USA).

Dr Lalor's CD Plektra was reviewed by Prof Robert Margo (Boston University) 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.'

Stephen Lalor has performed and conducted concerts of his own music at BDZ Eurofest (Europe's major classical mandolin and guitar ensemble festival) and at the 2010 & 2014 BDZ festivals he also performed solo sets of his own music - the only Australian to have been invited to do so.

Former Head of Contemporary Performance at The Australian Institute of Music, he is currently on the Strings faculty of Sydney Conservatorium. For several years he was a permanent staff-member at Sydney's Eora Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Visual & Performing Arts in Sydney.

Stephen Lalor — current to January 2023

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
A Bridge Across Time : for mandolin orchestra (2022) Commissioned by The Sydney Mandolin Orchestra for its 90th Anniversary Concert 2022
Ukrainian Variations : on the traditional song "Don't go, Gritsiu" (2021) Commissioned by Plektra Mandolin Ensemble.
Digital sheet music sample MIMA Concert Overture : full orchestra (2021) Commissioned by Lake Macquarie City Council for the opening of the Multi-Arts Pavilion MIMA
Orbit : mandolin ensemble (2020) Commissioned by Plektra Mandolin Ensemble.
Hand-Painted Soundscapes : for mandolin orchestra (2017) Commissioned with the generous support of Mrs Eileen Wright for the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2017
Digital sheet music sample Adelaide dances : for mandolin orchestra (2016) Commissioned for the 2017 Adelaide Mandolin Festival

Analysis & Media

- Video: Ballade and Autostrada waltz

- Video: Trio "Campanella" by Stephen Lalor.