Ross Edwards – Photo by Bridget Elliot
One of Australia’s best known composers, Ross Edwards has created a unique sound world which seeks to reconnect music with elemental forces and restore its traditional association with ritual and dance. Intensely aware of his vocation since childhood, he has largely followed his own path, allowing the music to speak for itself. His music, universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries surrounding humanity, is at the same time deeply connected to its roots in Australia, whose cultural diversity it celebrates, and from whose natural environment it draws inspiration, especially birdsong and the mysterious patterns and drones of insects. As a composer living and working on the Pacific Rim he is conscious of the exciting potential of this vast region. He lives in Sydney with his wife, Helen. They have two adult children, Jeremy and Emily.
A graduate of the Universities of Adelaide and Sydney, Ross Edwards studied with Peter Sculthorpe and Richard Meale, and in Adelaide and London with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. His compositions, which are performed worldwide, include five symphonies, concertos, choral, chamber and vocal music, children’s music, film scores, a chamber opera and music for dance. Works designed for the concert hall sometimes require special lighting, movement, costume and visual accompaniment – notable examples are his Fourth Symphony, Star Chant, premiered by the Adelaide Symphony at the 2002 Adelaide Festival; the Oboe Concerto Bird Spirit Dreaming, which Diana Doherty premiered with the Sydney Symphony and Lorin Maazel, subsequently performing it with many other orchestras including the New York Philharmonic; and The Heart of Night, for shakuhachi and orchestra, composed especially for shakuhachi Grand Master Riley Lee and the Melbourne Symphony. Recently completed commissions include Sacred Kingfisher Psalms for The Song Company, Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Edinburgh Festival; a Piano Sonata for Bernadette Harvey; Full Moon Dances, a saxophone concerto for Amy Dickson, the Sydney Symphony and the Australian symphony orchestras; Five Senses, a song cycle to poems of Judith Wright; The Laughing Moon for the New Sydney Wind Quintet; Zodiac Dances, a ballet score for Stanton Welch and the Houston Ballet and his String Quartet No. 3, Summer Dances, for the Hungarian Kelemen Kvartett commissioned by Kim Williams for Musica Viva Australia.
Ross Edwards’ music is available through the Australian Music Centre.
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