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Caroline Szeto : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Dawn day dusk : for koto and guitar by Caroline Szeto, from the CD Koto dreaming

Photo of Caroline Szeto


Caroline Szeto is a Sydney-based composer. She began her musical training on the piano and has received diplomas in piano performance from the Trinity College of Music, London and the Australian Music Examinations Board. Szeto completed her studies in composition with Eric Gross and Peter Sculthorpe, graduating with BMus Hons, MMus Hons and PhD under the supervision of Anne Boyd, from the University of Sydney, where she has also lectured in harmony.

Szeto has received several prizes and awards, including a Composer Fellowship from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Ignaz Friedman Memorial Prize and the Donald Peart Memorial Prize. She was a finalist in the 2007 Classical Music Awards in the prestigious category of Instrumental Work of the Year.

Szeto has twice been selected as a participant for the National Orchestral Composers' School where two of her orchestral works, Energy and Energy II, were performed. Both these works and ABC Fanfare, which was commissioned by the ABC for their 60th anniversary, are performed regularly. Szeto's orchestral works have been performed by the Tasmanian, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. Both Energy and ABC Fanfare were included in the Second International Festival of New Music for Orchestra held in the Czech Republic. Other international music festivals in which Szeto's works have been performed include the ISCM-ACL World Music Days 2007.

Much of Szeto's other music is performed by leading ensembles and soloists, and some works are commissioned for festivals: Prelude and Monkey's Cry for 1999 Australian Women's Music Festival, Impulse for ENERGEX Brisbane Festival 2000, and Dawn Day Dusk for National Festival of Women's Music 2001.

Several of Szeto's works consist of Chinese elements. For example, poems from the Tang dynasty, as well as Chinese harmony and musical structure, are used in Images of Li Po, rhythmic patterns are adopted in The Third Station of the Cross and also in many other works; a Chinese word is employed in Energy and aspects of Chinese harmony are utilised in many works, including Yunny's Treat.

The Australian Music Examination Board syllabus includes several of Szeto's works: A Game, Study No. 1 and Study No. 2. CD recordings of Szeto's works are also available.

Other musical activities have included Noh Drama, Mediaeval Music Drama, production of computer-generated sound synthesis for music theatre, and keyboard performances in opera production and in electronic and computer music concerts.

Biography provided by the composer — current to April 2008

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Carryin' on : for ensemble (2008) Commissioned by Caringbah High School for the Talented Composers' Competition Concert
Stringing : for mandolin orchestra (2007) Commissioned by FAME (Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles)
Dawn day dusk : for koto and guitar (2001) Commissioned by Carolyn Kidd on behalf of the National Federation of Women's Music, 2001
Digital sheet music sample Impulse : wind quintet (2000) Commissioned by ENERGEX Brisbane Festival 2000
Toccatas : for two pianos (1999) Commissioned by Michael Kieran Harvey, Bernadette Harvey.
Monkeys cry (sextets: 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass with chamber ensemble) (1997) Commissioned by The Song Company.

Analysis & Media

- Review: The Song Company Women and Music September 1994