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David Scheel : Associate Artist

Music should appeal to basic human emotions. It should be unfailingly honest and never pretentious.

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

David Scheel was born in Stirling, South Australia, in 1953. He studied piano under Irene Pavlovs and received his concert diploma from the University of Adelaide. Apart from initial instruction from his father, George Scheel, an orchestral conductor who studied with Sir Thomas Beecham, Scheel is largely self-taught as a composer.

He first tasted success aged 16, at the inaugural ASME Student Composers' Competition, in which he won the choral section and was runner up to Carl Vine in the orchestral division. Since then he has composed in all genres except opera, and in a wide variety of musical idioms. His output includes several orchestral suites: Triptych (1978), The Geordie Suite (1987), Gaia (2010) and others; chamber music, notably Dances Ancient and Modern for Cor Anglais and Strings (commissioned by Celia Craig and the Orpheus Strings, 2009), a symphony and a piano concerto, Horn Quintet (commissioned by the Royal College of Music & premiered at the Royal Albert Hall, 1993), Danzas Graciosas & Grotescas (Guitar nonet, commissioned by Ian Seaborn, 2007) and many songs and piano works, a large number of which have been performed for BBC radio and television during a lengthy sojourn in Britain (1981-94).

Scheel's work is intensely lyrical, and very often inspired by nature and his love of, and concern for, the environment (Gaia even contains a graphic musical descrption of the aftermath of an oil spill). His music is characterised by strong melodic lines, and though not afraid to dip a toe into the pool of modernism, there is a neo-classical feel to most of his work, sometimes overlaid with jazz influences. The harmonies tend to be traditional and he has performed recitals of his own piano pieces in major concert halls in some 30 countries. His piano suite, A Hymn for Planet Earth (2002), in particular, has been the subject of much critical praise across Australia, Britain and the USA.

More recent works include a song cycle for soprano and strings, Songs of Sappho, Symphony Nr. 2 (2016), The Waste Land (2017, oratorio based on Eliot's epic poem), a piano suite Ten Painters and Their Paintings (2019) and The Shadow of Zen for solo flute and string orchestra (2020). There are also plans on the drawing board for an opera based on the life of Maria Callas.

David Scheel — current to January 2021