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Photos by Michael Mortlock


One of Australia’s best-known and most performed composers, Ross Edwards has created a distinctive sound world which reflects his interest in deep ecology and his belief in the need to reconnect music with elemental forces, as well as restore its traditional association with ritual and dance. His music, universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries surrounding humanity, is at the same time 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.
Ross Edwards’ compositions include five symphonies, concertos, choral, chamber and vocal music, children’s music, film scores, a chamber opera and music for dance. His Dawn Mantras greeted the dawning of the new millennium from the sails of the Sydney Opera House in a worldwide telecast. His compositions often require special lighting, movement and costume. A recipient of the Order of Australia and numerous other awards, he lives in Sydney and is married with two adult children.
Recent commissions include Sacred Kingfisher Psalms for The Song Company, Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Edinburgh Festival; a Piano Sonata for Bernadette Harvey commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium; Full Moon Dances, a saxophone concerto for Amy Dickson, the Sydney Symphony and the Australian symphony orchestras; Five Senses, a song cycle for female voice and piano to poems of Judith Wright; The Laughing Moon for the New Sydney Wind Quintet; Zodiac, an orchestral ballet score commissioned for Stanton Welch by the Houston Ballet; String Quartet No. 3, Summer Dances, commissioned by Kim Williams for Musica Viva Australia; and Animisms, for the Australia Ensemble. Frog and Star Cycle, a double concerto commissioned for saxophonist Amy Dickson, percussionist Colin Currie and the Sydney Symphony had its resoundingly successful premiere in the Sydney Opera House in July 2016. Bright Birds and Sorrows, a major work for Amy Dickson, saxophone, and the UK based Elias Quartet, will be premiered in April 2017 at the Musica Viva Festival in Sydney. He has recently completed Entwinings for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, to be premiered in October 2017.

Ross Edwards’ scores are available worldwide through the Australian Music Centre.

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