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Nigel Westlake : Represented Artist

The Gates of Darkness Shall Never Be Closed to the Smugglers of Light.

Random Audio Sample: Songs from the forest : for guitar duo by Nigel Westlake, from the CD Songs from the forest

Photo of Nigel Westlake

Photo: Jim Rolon

Nigel Westlake's career in music has spanned more than four decades.

He studied the clarinet with his father, Donald Westlake (principal clarinettist, Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1961-1979) and subsequently left school early to pursue a performance career in music. From the age of 17 he was touring Australia and the world, performing as a freelance clarinetist, bass clarinetist and saxophonist with ballet companies, a circus troupe, chamber music ensembles, fusion bands and orchestras.

In 1983 he studied bass clarinet and composition in the Netherlands and was appointed composer in residence for ABC Radio National the following year. From 1987 to 1992 he was resident clarinettist with Australia's leading chamber group the Australia Ensemble, and went on to join guitarist John Williams' group Attacca as a composer and performer.

His compositions have earned numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal at the New York International Radio Festival and 15 APRA awards (Australasian Performing Right assoc.) in the screen and art music categories.

As a composer for the screen, his film credits include the feature films Ali's Wedding (2017), Paper Planes, Miss Potter, Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Children of the Revolution, and The Nugget, plus the Imax films Antarctica, The Edge, Imagine, Solarmax and numerous others. His television credits include documentaries, telemovies, news themes and station idents.

The feature film Babe won the Golden Globe Award in 1996 for best feature musical/comedy, and his romantic score for Miss Potter won Feature Film Score of the Year and Best Soundtrack Album at the 2007 APRA / AGSC Screen Music Awards.

His secular mass Missa Solis - Requiem for Eli was winner of the prestigious 2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize, won the 2011 Limelight Award for Best New Composition, was named Orchestral Work of the Year at the 2012 APRA Art Music Awards, and was released to critical acclaim on the ABC Classics label by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer.

Compassion, a song cycle for solo voice & orchestra, co-written with singer songwriter Lior, based on ancient Hebrew & Arabic texts, won the 2014 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album.

In 2004 he was awarded the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University. He holds an honorary Doctorate in Music, awarded by the University of New South Wales in 2012.

Nigel Westlake made his conducting debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and has since conducted performances and recordings of his own works with all the major symphony orchestras in Australia.

In December 2016 he made his US conducting debut at the Lincoln Centre with the New York Philharmonic, conducting 'Babe in Concert', (a concert version of his score for the hit movie Babe.)

In 2008 he founded the Smugglers of Light Foundation in memory of his son Eli, to promote cultural awareness and empowerment through education via the mediums of music and film in youth and indigenous communities.

He is a director on the board of APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) and is represented by Maggie Rodford (Air Edel, London).

Nigel Westlake — current to March 2017

Studied with

William Motzing


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Sacred Sky : String Quartet no. 3 (2019) Commissioned with generous support from Carl Wood and Don and Veronica Aldridge
Digital sheet music sample Spirit of the Wild : Chamber concerto for oboe, piano, string quartet and double bass (2017) A chamber adaptation from the oboe concerto, for Diana Doherty & the "Spirit Ensemble"
Digital sheet music sample Compassion : for string quartet, piano, double bass, percussion and solo voice, a song cycle in seven movements, (2017) Commissioned by Tinalley String Quartet.
Digital sheet music sample Sim Shalom : arranged for string quartet & voice from the song cycle 'Compassion' (2016) Commissioned by Julian Burnside for performance by Lior, Tinalley String Quartet.
Digital sheet music sample Ali's Wedding : film score (2016) Commissioned by Matchbox pictures for the feature film 'Ali's Wedding'
Digital sheet music sample Barr-Phonics : for bassoon quartet (2016) Commissioned by the Music Department of Sydney Grammar School as a special farewell gift for Mr Philip Barr celebrating 39 years of service

Analysis & Media

Kit: Out of the blue : music resource kit / devised by Kim Waldock.

- Article: Interesting display of contemporary work

- Article: Dawn of a new world symphony

- Document: Harbour Noise is a Fatal Distraction

- Video: Missa Solis Requiem for Eli

- Video: Ali's Wedding - Behind the scenes with Nigel Westlake and the Sydney Symphony