" ... an uncompromising voice, both enervating and exciting to hear in an age when contemporary composition is finding it difficult to sustain interest, let alone an audience."
Clive O'Connell. O'Connell the Music.
Australian composer Brendan Colbert was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1956. His output comprises a substantial number of works (currently 90+) and includes commissions from many significant local and international artists, ensembles, and orchestras, with concert and festival performances throughout Australia, Europe and the USA.
Having moved to Melbourne in the 1970s, he worked with various progressive-rock bands as keyboard player and songwriter, and during the 1980s took private composition lessons with Brenton Broadstock and Riccardo Formosa. After a series of early commissions (most notably from ELISION) he was selected twice for the National Orchestral Composers' School (1991 & 1995 - tutors Gerard Brophy, Richard Mills, and Carl Vine) which led to the premieres of Machinations and Jericho's Strange by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
The following years saw the resolution and assimilation of disparate influences, the revision or withdrawal of several early works, and the eventual emergence of an uncompromising individual voice.
Commissions from Symphony Australia - for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra - and from US flautist Linda Wetherill (both assisted by grants from the Australia Council) saw the premieres of Eirenicon (the West Australian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Young, Perth, 2000), and Shades of Futures Past (flute concerto - soloist Linda Wetherill on flute, alto flute & piccolo in a version for soloist and CD, New York, 2004). Shades of Futures Past was subsequently given its first full performance in Melbourne in August 2011, with the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble conducted by Timothy Phillips, featuring Sarah Beggs as soloist.
A commission from Arcko's artistic director resulted in the premiere of ...like a Maelstrom (Double Concerto) with the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, featuring soloists Peter Dumsday (piano) & Bruno Siketa (trumpet) and small orchestra as part of a Composer Portrait Concert in Melbourne in February 2015. This concert also included the premieres of Proxima (Silo String Quartet, with Aaron Barnden & Atilla Kuti - violins, Phoebe Green - viola, Caerwen Martin - 'cello), The Palest Light (Timothy Phillips - glockenspiel), & Torque (Phoebe Green - viola).
Other recent premieres include movements I, V, and IX from Figuration in Search of Identity (James Townsend, Madi Chwasta & Mathew Levy - percussion: Melbourne, May 2017), Contretemps (Peter Dumsday - piano: Melbourne, December 2016), and re-fract (Michael Kieran Harvey - piano: Sydney, September 2016).
Others to have commissioned, performed, and/or recorded works include ELISION Ensemble, Speak Percussion, Libra Ensemble, Smash Ensemble, Six Degrees Ensemble, Topology, Duo Contemporain, Ensemble Traiect, Trio Altrove 1.3, the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, Pedro Carneiro, Mario Teixeira, Barrie Webb, Peter Neville, Carl Rosman, Michael Kieran Harvey, Sisco Aparici, John McMurtery, Marshall McGuire, Geoffrey Morris, Michael Hooper, Carla Rees & David Black, Brigid Burke & David McNicol, Elizabeth Barcan, Stefano Cardi, Norio Sato, and Anne Norman.
A number of works are available on CD, and scores are available from the Australian Music Centre, or from the composer.