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Larry Sitsky : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Samsara : Trio no. 6, for flute, clarinet and piano by Larry Sitsky, from the CD Samsara

Photo of Larry Sitsky

Larry Sitsky, born in China of Russian-Jewish parents, travelled to Australia in 1951 and settled in Sydney. He studied piano from an early age and was granted a scholarship to the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, where he studied piano and composition, graduating in 1955. Post-graduate studies continued with the distinguished Australian pianist and teacher, Winifred Burston. In 1959 he won a scholarship to the San Francisco Conservatory, where he studied with the great Egon Petri for two years. Returning to Australia, he joined the staff of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. A grant from the Myer Foundation in 1965 enabled him to conduct research into the music of Ferruccio Busoni, on whom he has written extensively. In 1966 he was appointed Head of Keyboard Studies at the School of Music in Canberra (now part of the Australian National University), where he was later Head of Musicology, Head of Composition Studies, Head of Academic Studies and now Distinguished Visiting Fellow, as well as Emeritus Professor.

In the field of composition Sitsky's approach has led to similarly diverse of achievements. He has written in numerous genres including opera, theatre, orchestral music, chamber music, solo and vocal music, and his works have been commissioned by many leading Australian and international bodies. As well as working with every orchestra in Australia, Sitsky has been commissioned by the Sydney International Piano Competition, the ABC, Musica Viva, the International Clarinet Society and the International Flute Convention.

Sitsky's collection of teaching pieces, Century, has been published by Currency Press. Numerous other works have been published by the New York based Seesaw Music Corporation with whom he has an open contract.

Sitsky has received numerous honours for his composition, as well as his research. Among others, he has won the A H Maggs Award twice, the Alfred Hill Memorial Prize, the first National Critics' Award, and the inaugural Australian Composer's Fellowship presented by the Music Board of the Australia Council. In recognition of Sitsky's various achievements, the Australian National University awarded Sitsky its first Higher Doctorate in Fine Arts in 1997. In 1998 he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia, and in 2000 he became a Member of the Order of Australia. He has also been awarded a Centenary Medal, Advance Australia award, and cultural ambassadorships to China, Russia, and the USA.

Sitsky's research has been supported by a number of Australian Research Council Grants. His areas of expertise include the music of Busoni, Rubinstein, Music of the twentieth century avant-garde, the repressed Russian avant-garde and 20th century Australian piano music. Many of Sitsky's writings on these topics have now become standard texts.

Sitsky's recording projects have focused on contemporary Australian composers, especially Roy Agnew. His own works are included in numerous anthologies and collections released on labels including ABC Classics, Tall Poppies and Jade CDs.

A biography of Sitsky was published in the USA in 1997, and in 2004 the National Library of Australia published a book by Jim Cotter titled Sitsky: Conversations with the Composer.

Important recent premieres include Sitsky's Concerto for Double-Bass & Ensemble (Beowulf), premiered in the Netherlands in 2007; The Nine Songs - sonata for oboe and piano, performed in Hobart at the Conservatorium of Music in August 2011, as well as the very successful premiere performance, in Townsville and Cairns, of the Concerto for Young Pianist in 2013.

Biography provided by the composer — current to 2014

Teacher/Influence on

Lee Bradshaw (1998)

Andrew Harrison

Michael Kieran Harvey (1974 - current)

May Howlett (1971)

Stephen Leek

Ruth Lee Martin (1997)

Kate Moore

Edward Primrose (1973 - 1978)

Sam Smith (2010 - 2012)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2015 Art Music Awards: Distinguished Services to Australian Music Winner
2000 Order of Australia Member of the Order For service to music as a composer, musicologist, pianist and educator
1984 Don Banks Music Award Recipient
1981 Albert H Maggs Composition Award First Prize Concerto for clarinet and strings : Santana
1968 Albert H Maggs Composition Award First Prize

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Letter from the trenches : for mezzo-soprano, viola, percussion and piano (2015) Commissioned for Halcyon by the Australian Government special Gallipoli and ANZAC commemorative fund, 2015
Dimensions of night : 10 pieces for solo piano (2008) Commissioned by Michael Kieran Harvey.
Digital sheet music sample Fantasia no. 12 : "Pashupati Nath", for solo guitar (2000) Commissioned by Tim Kain.
Trio no. 7 : Enochian sonata : for two violoncellos and piano (1999) Commissioned by Natasha Ivashkin, Sasha Ivashkin.
Sonata for violin and piano : omnia exeunt in mysterium (1995) Commissioned by Oleg Krysa.
Jade flute : Sonata no. 3 : flute solo (1994) Commissioned for the 1995, 7th Australian Flute Competition as a test piece, September 1994

Analysis & Media

Book: Australian pianists : a cross-section of performers offers insights into aspects of pianism / edited by Martin Comte.

Book: Sitsky : conversations with the composer / Jim Cotter.

Book: Music in the Mirabell Garden : analysis / by Lawrence Whiffin.

Book: The music of Larry Sitsky / by Wendy M. Penny.

- Article: Interesting display of contemporary work

- Article: Dawn of a new world symphony

- Article: Sound of music for Sunday's silent stars

- Article: Women of note

- Article: Contemporary takes on modern meaning

- Website: NLA Larry Sitsky Collection website
For the composer's 75th birthday