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Vincent Plush : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Australian folksongs (music theatre) by Vincent Plush, from the CD Confessions to my dogs

Photo of Vincent Plush

Artist website: http://www.vincentplush.com

Vincent Plush was born in Adelaide in 1950. Much of his music stems from his interest in political and cultural history, and many of his works have their bases in events and personalities outside of music. Several of his most widely performed works bring political debate to the concert hall: Bakery Hill Rising (1980) is based on a political uprising during the Australian gold rush of the 1850s; the ensemble piece On Shooting StarsPacifica (1981) is a testimonial homage to the murdered Chilean folk singer Victor Jara; and the orchestral sea-voyage (1987) laments the European domination of indigenous Pacific cultures. These and other works have been performed by some of the leading orchestras and ensembles in North America, frequently under the composer's direction.

Plush has spent long periods of time in North America. He went to the USA as a Harkness Fellow in 1981. At Yale he worked with the Charles Ives collection (during his student days he mounted some of the first Australian performances of Ives' music) and conducted extended interviews with over eighty composers across North America for the Oral History project. Plush travelled extensively across North America, and chronicled these journeys in Main Street USA, a radio series on contemporary American Music for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Vincent Plush lived in several places in the US, following various positions, mainly in universities. He worked with the organisers of the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta in 1996, securing an Australian cultural presence for the event; was Music Adviser to the Sacramento Symphony Orchestra; and was responsible for the organisation of a conference of Australian, New Zealand and American composers at Penn State University. In October 1996, Plush settled in Seattle for a number of years, where was teaching at the Cornish College of the Arts, directing new music groups and the professional new music ensemble Sonora.

During a period spent in Sydney, he was central to many new music activities: during his years at the ABC, as a teacher of composition, media studies and twentieth-century music history at the Sydney Conservatorium and elsewhere, and as founder of the Seymour Group.

After returning home from the US, Plush lived for a number of years in Brisbane. He is presently living in Canberra where he works as the Head of National Cultural Programs at the National Film and Sound Archive.

Biography provided by the composer

Teacher/Influence on

Mark Isaacs (1972)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2005 Classical Music Awards - Outstanding Contribution by an Individual Winner

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Herr Beethoven’s Audiologist : bassoon solo (2020) Written as part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's 2020 Australian Miniseries.
The little people of Mount Rainier : for piccolo(s) (1999) Commissioned by Paul Taub.
Funereal rites : a concert drama for six singers and piano (1994) Commissioned by The Song Company.
Digital sheet music sample Station X (vocal sextets) (1993) Composed for "Via crucis Australis : an Australian journey of the Cross" (The 14 stations of the Cross), to be performed by The Song Company in conjunction with visual art exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Easter 1993
Florilegium II : a chamber concertino for solo marimba and small ensemble (1992) Composed in partial fulfillment of the position of Composer-in-Residence with the Musica Viva Society of Australia, Sydney 1985-1986
Digital sheet music sample Pacifica : for full orchestra (1986) On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of ABC-FM in Australia

Analysis & Media

- Program note: Vincent Plush's "Pacifica"

- Program note: Funereal Rites Vincent Plush

- Review: The Song Company Funereal Rites 26 August 1995