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Solo Flute

Australian music for flute

The size of the Australian repertory for flute reflects the popularity of the instrument. There is a rich variety of works composed over several decades, including full-scale concertos and sonatas, chamber music and solo pieces. The range of styles is also impressive, from the virtuosic works influenced by European modernism to pieces that bear witness to the close affinity that many contemporary Australian composers feel with Asian cultures.

There are several significant works in the concerto genre, from the 1961 work by William Lovelock, through concertos by Clifford Abbott and John Carmichael (most notably his concerto, Phoenix, revised in the 1990s), to Carl Vine's concerto Pipe Dreams (2003) for flute and string orchestra, composed for the French flautist Emmanuel Pahud. Among the many other composers to have contributed to the flute repertory are Raymond Hanson, Don Banks, Nigel Butterley, Anne Boyd, Brenton Broadstock, Andrew Schultz, Chris Dench, Larry Sitsky and Michael Whiticker, and this is to mention only a few.

Australian flautists who have been active in performing, commissioning and recording include David Cubbin, Vernon Hill, Margaret Crawford, Geoffrey Collins, Christine Draeger (composer-performer), Mardi McSullea, Laura Chislett and Kathleen Gallagher. All these players have also been important teachers. The chamber music repertory involving flute has grown through the activities of ensembles such as ACME, the Seymour Group, Flederman, the Australia Ensemble and Ensemble Offspring.


The list of representative works for flute has been prepared in cooperation with Geoffrey Collins.

Representative works

  Work Notes
Spinning (1988) by Andrew Fordcomposed for the American flautist Tara Helen O'Connor, who was learning circular breathing at the time, Spinning treats the alto flute like a piece of precision machinery.
Ecstatic dances (1990) by Ross Edwardsfor two flutes – a duo consisting of two dances, the first a graceful interplay of hypnotic insect sound patterns, the second a radiant, insistently melodic dance.
Concerto for flute and orchestra (1975) by Colin Brumbya work made popular by the Australian flautist Vernon Hill.
Goldfish through summer rain (1978) by Anne Boyda widely played work for flute and piano with Asian influences typical of Boyd. The piece is suitable for young performers (AMEB grade 6).
Aureole (1982) by Brenton Broadstockfirst of Broadstock's series of Aureole pieces, this work for flute and piano has become a permanent part of many flautists' repertory.
Sonata (1960) by Richard Mealea dramatic, modernist classic of the Australian flute repertory, Meale's early sonata was once deemed lost but was subsequently reconstructed.
Sonata (1992) by Carl Vinea sonata that has achieved international prominence.
Caught breath of time (1981) by Chris Denchan adventurous piece for solo flute, during the course of which the soloist is gradually overcome by 'amnesia', forgetting the piece's substance and shedding the sophistications of musical decoration.

Broader categories of Solo Flute