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Bits and pieces that might be of interest…

June 2022

Update on the delayed premiere of Alter(n)ations (for piano & vibes). I’ve recently been advised that it is now due to take place on Saturday February 11, 2023 at the Church of All Nations in Carlton. It will be an evening concert, with actual start time to be confirmed.

Presented by the MCL, the concert will presumably still include works by 10 local and international composers and feature performers of the quality of pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and percussionist Peter Neville.

April 2022

In Progress : 

constructions…merging and  constructions…alone are new works currently taking up my free time. Both are related to constructions…mercurial  : ‘merging’ is for 2 pianos, and ‘alone’ is for one. All three will be performable as separate works in their own right, or together in the sequence alone-merging-mercurial. 

more later… 

February 2022

New Work:

constructions…mercurial for 2 pianos & 4 percussion (2 x glock + 2 x vibes)

This new work has 2 movements, & comes in at a little less than 10 minutes. Although it currently exists in something of a void, I am hopeful it will eventually have an opportunity to reveal itself in brighter times to come.

January 2022

In Progress : constructions…mercurial for 2 pianos, 2 vibraphones & 2 glockenspiels.

In an  effort to keep myself sane, I’ve started working on a new sextet for no-one in particular. 

I figure that since nothing else is being performed, there’s no harm in writing something to add to the list of my works that are currently going nowhere in a hurry .

Who knows, it might one day find a home…..?

December 2021

Well so much for jumping the gun.

This totally unpredictable couple of years has taken another twist – the concert I was so pleased to announce will NOT take place as planned. Watch this space for more positive news…

November 2021

It has been a while since good musical news has been possible, but finally after a seemingly never-ending period of composing new works purely for the sake of sanity, it pleases me greatly that live performance will now return for more than one week at a time!

The first performance for 2022 looks like being the premiere of Alter(n)ations (for piano & vibes) at an evening concert at the Church of All Nations in Carlton at a date to be confirmed.

Presented by the MCL, the concert will include works by 10 local and international composers and feature performers of the quality of pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and percussionist Peter Neville.

FInal details to be confirmed closer to the day…..

May 2021

Amygdala Hijack for piano (a brief work for Raymond Shon, written in response to a call for variations on a theme of his own construction) has grown – but only a little – in recent months. It is now a 3 movement work that lasts for about 8 minutes, and might hopefully have a life beyond Raymond’s original envisioned project.

January 2021

New Work:

Extrication for piano and 2 percussion (glock/xyl, vibraphone)

All movements can be performed separately or as part of the larger work.

Extrication = Sinuosity + InDecision + Alter(n)ations + …this certainty…

Sinuosity : glockenspiel, piano (2017: 5 mins. 15 secs. approx.)

InDecision : xylophone, piano (2021: 2 mins. 10 secs. approx.)

Alter(n)ations : vibraphone, piano (2014: 6 mins. 30 secs. approx.)

…this certainty… : glock/xylophone, vibraphone, piano (2016: 7 mins. approx.)

October 2020


Dancing to the Tremors of Time has attracted some strongly positive reviews. You’ll find excerpts here, and links will take you to the source material for the full story if you’re so inclined…

August 2020

New Work:

Amygdala Hijack for piano: a brief work for Raymond Shon, written in response to a call for variations on a theme of his own construction.

April 2020

New Work:

On the Verge of Becoming for percussion, harp, guitar, piano/celeste, violin, viola.

All movements can be performed separately or as part of the larger work.

On the Verge of Becoming = Something Will Be + Incipience + Imminence + Emergence + …morning steals upon the night… + Nascence

Something Will Be : glock/marimba, harp, piano, viola (2020: 7 mins. 30 secs. approx.)

Incipience  : guitar, celesta, violin (2020: 2 mins. approx.)

Imminence : marimba, harp, violin (2008 rev 2019: 6 mins. approx.)

Emergence : glock/marimba, guitar, piano, violin, viola (2020: 2 min. 45 secs. approx.)

…morning steals upon the night… : vibes, harp, guitar, celesta, violin, viola (2019: 5 mins. approx.)

Nascence: marimba, harp, guitar, piano, violin, viola (2021: 2 mins. approx.)

March 2020

New Work:

Something Will Be (for percussion, harp, piano, and viola) is now complete, and work has begun on the two new works necessary to create links between it and Imminence and …morning steals upon the night…

February 2020

New Work in progress:

Work continues on tidying up notation, and I’ve also started a new piece for a mixed quartet (Something Will Be for percussion, harp, piano, and viola) – about which there might hopefully be more interesting news later in the year….

October 2019

New CD:

The sensational premiere of Dancing to the Tremors of Time is now available on CD.

This outstanding performance by Michael Kieran Harvey continues to bring me great pleasure, and with others on the CD including Don Kay, Scott McIntyre, & Elliott Gyger, it is certainly worth checking out.

For all the info head over the the Move website here.

August 2019


…of two minds…

for glockenspiel, guitar.

2008 rev. 2019 : 5 mins. 30 secs. approx.

…of two minds… started life as a duo for alto flute and guitar, and was premiered in that form by Carla Rees and David Black at All Saints Church, Oakleigh Park, London on 23/3/2009.

I was however, never completely satisfied with the work, and revisiting it in 2019 concluded that it would sit better if recast for glockenspiel and guitar. This is therefore not an alternative to the earlier version – it is a replacement.

I have also been revisiting other earlier works, purely for the purposes of tidying up the notation. Many were typeset in early versions of the software programme I use and – as it has improved and I have become better at using it – I decided to get my older scores in to more performer-friendly shape!! My list of works now totals about 100 and there’s doubtless a couple of dozen in need of attention. This will obviously be an ongoing project for a little while yet………

May-June 2019

New Works:

…morning steals upon the night…

for vibes, harp, guitar, celesta, violin, viola.


for violin, marimba, harp.

As has become my habit in recent years, after the completion of a major work there comes a quieter period where I tackle a smaller work or two, sometimes rejigging an older work that needs some new life.

This time around I took on an earlier work originally for mandolin, guitar, and harp, and renamed and recast it for violin, marimba and harp. I enjoyed returning to the harp after a long break, and so one thing led to another with …morning steals upon the night… being the result. When Something Will Be followed later (see March 2020 above) it became clear that a five movement work for percussion, harp, guitar, piano/celeste, violin, viola would eventually result…….

April 2019


The premiere of Dancing to the Tremors of Time can be heard on an ABC New Waves podcast here

If you’re just interested in Dancing jump to the 57’45” mark, but there’s plenty else to listen to with works by Don Kay, Michael Kieran Harvey, and Scott McIntyre, so I’d suggest you settle in and check out the whole show.

March 2019

Move 50th birthday CD:

Move turns 50.

Congratulations to Martin Wright and the Move team. The new CD marking this singular achievement can be checked out here.

December 2018

New Works:

Imperfect Memory: après la danse

for piano.

Memory is unreliable at the best of times. After the premiere of Dancing to the Tremors of Time – an exceptional performance by Michael Kieran Harvey (in the Nolan Gallery, MONA, Hobart, 17/11/2018) – I found myself wondering what might (or might not) be retained by those hearing such a long and challenging work for the first time.

Imperfect Memory: après la danse takes material from the major work, misremembering it with deliberate imprecision in a shorter work that might (or might not) serve as either a reminder or an introduction to Dancing to the Tremors of Time.

Imperfect Memory: après la danse is dedicated to Michael Kieran Harvey in gratitude for both his prodigious talent and his ongoing commitment to the development and support of Australian piano repertoire.


see(m)ing for flutes, clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, violin, viola, guitar.

All movements can be performed separately or as part of the larger work.

see(m)ing = mirage 1 + figment + Glimeren + mirage 2 + aura + Parallaxis.

mirage 1 : marimba, violin, viola, guitar (2018: 2 mins. 15 secs. approx.)

figment  : Bb clarinet, trombone, vibes, piano (2018: 4 mins. approx.)

Glimeren : piccolo, guitar, celesta, violin, viola (1991 rev 1998: 8 mins. approx.)

mirage 2 : flute, Bb clarinet, trombone, vibes (2018: 1 min. 15 secs. approx.)

aura : celesta, guitar (2018: 3 mins. approx.)

Parallaxis : flutes, Bb clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, violin, viola, guitar (1993 rev. 2016: 9 mins. approx.)

November 2018

Premiere :

A quick trip to Hobart for the stunning premiere of Dancing to the Tremors of Time  by the brilliant Michael Kieran Harvey in the Nolan Gallery at MONA.

A genuinely astonishing performance of a long and challenging work – Michael has most definitely been blessed by the musical gods……..

Thankfully it has been recorded by the ABC and will likely appear somewhere around the traps in the not too distant future.

August-October 2018

In Progress : see(m)ing for flutes, clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, violin, viola, guitar.

A period of tidying up of notation of some older scores has led – as it can – to a burst of other activity.

A couple of early works (originally un-barred) have been cleaned up, and the completion of another unfinished multi-movement work – as with Tortus, a work begun years ago but left incomplete – is well under way.

This case is a little different though, in that there were originally 5 movements planned, of which 3 were finished and 2 fairly well advanced. One of the three has since been liberated to stand totally alone, and the 2 ‘incompletes’ will be broken down, pillaged, and rebuilt to create 4 short(ish) linking companions to the remaining ‘2 of the 3’.

I anticipate completion by the end of the year : 6 movements, 8 instruments, and about 30 minutes……….

May 2018

New Work : Tortus for oboe, vibes, guitar, and viola.

Finally – Tortus is now complete. In total there are 6 movements (…in coils, Twist, Curve, Espiral, Turn, & Tortility) four of which – I, II, IV, V – can be extracted for standalone performance. The piece is pretty challenging (though everyone gets to sit out for a while) and runs to about 26 minutes.

April 2018

Premiere :

Repose (for Absent Friends).

Repose is – in contrast with most of my other piano works – a relatively brief, gentle, and contemplative piece (as the programme note says, it looks back to a time when the future held infinite possibilities, and friends and family were immortal). It was premiered (on 13/4 in Melbourne) in yet another finely balanced and beautifully expressive performance by the outstanding Michael Kieran Harvey. Michael is often described as a champion of new music, and in particular of Australian composition, and is (unlike so very many other pretenders that would claim the title) one of the all too few who are without doubt the real deal.

March 2018

Repose (for Absent Friends) will be premiered in Melbourne next month at a concert curated by the Melbourne Composers’ League.

February 2018

In Progress : Tortus for oboe, vibes, guitar, and viola.

I have at last made time to return to a long neglected project that I’ve been eager to finish for some years now. …in Coils… (for oboe & viola) and Espiral (for oboe & vibes) were always meant to be parts of a larger work, but somehow the rest of it never got done, and those two works were left to wander largely unannounced and certainly un-noticed…

Now however I have finally determined to get it finished and work has been progressing well. The new works list on the Bio page now includes 3 new movements Twist, Curve, and Turn, and the final sections to follow in good time. The final piece will have six or seven movements, and be 25 minutes long or thereabouts.

It will soon finally be sorted, and then all that will remain is to interest some good performers !! Wish me luck !!

January 2018

Date to watch :

Dancing to the Tremors of Time has been pencilled in for premiere in November – more detail to come….

December 2017

New Work :

Dancing to the Tremors of Time has been completed ahead of time. I’m excited at the prospect of Michael Kieran Harvey working his magic on it sometime in 2018……

November 2017

Dancing to the Tremors of Time :

Work has begun on the new piece for Michael Kieran Harvey : Dancing to the Tremors of Time. The preliminary doodlings are shaping up nicely……….

October 2017

Performance :

The fabulous viola player Phoebe Green is to give another performance of Torque at the next Arcko Symphonic gig – at the Church of All Nations, Carlton – on the 27th. If it is anything like the premiere she gave in 2015 (which can be heard on the Like a Maelstrom CD available from Crackbell Records) it will be an absolute stunner !!

August 2017

Commission :

I’m very much looking the first few months of 2018, when I’ll be writing a major new work for the brilliant and fearless Michael Kieran Harvey : Dancing to the Tremors of Time. The title is taken from a painting by James Gleeson, whose dramatic and colourful art has inspired several other recent works.

May 2017

Premieres :

Movements I, V, and IX of Figuration in Search of Identity have now been premiered with great success by James Townsend, Madi Chwasta, and Mathew Levy – make a note of these names if you don’t know them already……

The performances they gave at the booked-out ANAM/NGV concert (Ian Potter Centre : NGV Australia – Federation Square) were simply stunning. I’ve been lucky enough in my time to have had some spectacular premieres of my works, and these rank right up there with the best !!!

May 2017

Premiere(s) :

More details confirmed for the ANAM/NGV performances on the 20th May at the Ian Potter Centre : NGV Australia – Federation Square.

Movements I, V, and IX of Figuration in Search of Identity to be performed by James Townsend, Madi Chwasta, and Mathew Levy.

NB : Free but registration essential

March 2017

New Audio sample :

Michael Kieran Harvey premiered re-fract in Sydney in September last year.

An excerpt from his breathtaking performance has now been added to the Audio:Video page, where you can check out all sorts of bits and pieces – or if this is the only sample you’re after you can listen here

  re-fract (excerpt)

February 2017

New Work:

Sinuosity : for piano, glockenspiel. (2017: 5 mins. approx.)

December 2016


Peter Dumsday and Arcko Symphonic Ensemble finish the year with very much deserved acknowledgement (for this year’s performance of Like a Maelstrom) in Clive O’Connell’s Classical Year In Review.

You can check out the full article in the Melbourne AGE (26/12/16) or in a printer friendly version here


I can only conclude that Peter Dumsday enjoys “…lots of fast notes. And more finger-bleeding drama…” because his recent premiere of Contretemps was an absolute ripper!!

November 2016

I previously had only heard a whisper, but it is now official that the extraordinary Peter Dumsday is to premiere Contretemps on December 4 as part of ASTRA’s ‘All Premieres’ concert at the Church of All Nations.

Here’s a grab from his Facebook page to help set the scene:

“Brendan Colbert was so happy that I played his huge piece “…Like a Maelstrom” that he wrote me another piece to say thank you. With lots of fast notes. And more finger-bleeding drama. You’re welcome, Brendan.”

September 2016

New Work:

the pulse returns : for vibes soloist, 2 percussion and strings. (2016: 14 mins. 30 secs. approx.)

August 2016


Michael Kieran Harvey will premiere re-fract in Sydney on September 1st. (details here)

I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have Michael involved in a number of premieres, from his stunning performance of Agité III some 15 years ago through to the 2015 release of Quicksand on his recent SIVA CD through Move Records. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to the concert, but it is sure to be a cracker!!

May 2016

MCL site update:

The Melbourne Composers’ League has recently completed an update of their website. You can now preview & purchase the CDs they’ve released. If you’re interested in sampling a wide range of composers, performers & works (including a couple of my piano solos), you can check them out here

April 2016

Concert review:

“That Like a Maelstrom was able to evoke such a strong response speaks to the power it has as a work…”

Another review of MELBOURNE MADE : this time on the CutCommon website – Leah Blankendaal gives her thoughts here

March 2016

Concert review:

” … 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’s review of Arcko’s MELBOURNE MADE concert (& CD Launch) is now available – you can read his detailed thoughts on the night here


CD Launch:

The LIKE A MAELSTROM CD is to be launched at Arcko’s MELBOURNE MADE concert on 19/3 at the Church of All Nations in Carlton. The concert will include the second performance of my double concerto (featuring Bruno Siketa and Peter Dumsday), as well as works by Caerwen Martin, Elliott Gyger and Tim Dargaville – promises to be another outstanding Arcko experience…….


There’s a new article by Stephanie Eslake over at the CutCommon website. You can read a bit about Arcko, Maelstrom & me, and when you drop by it’s well worth checking out what the rest of the site has to offer….

New Work:

…this certainty… : for 2 percussion (glock/xyl, vibes) and piano. (2016: 7 mins. approx.)

“I act with complete certainty.

But this certainty is my own.”

from On Certainty, by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

February 2016

CD review:

There’s now a review of the LIKE A MAELSTROM CD over on the Music Trust website – you can find out exactly what Alistair Noble thinks of it here

January 2016

Portrait CD release:

NOW AVAILABLE through Crackbell Records

LIKE A MAELSTROM : The Music of Brendan Colbert

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble : live in concert


Bruno Siketa – trumpet

Peter Dumsday – piano

Phoebe Green – viola

with special guests

Silo String Quartet.

Also downloadable in MP3, FLAC etc.

Check out other Crackbell & Arcko releases while you’re at it!!


New Works:

Ascension : for trumpet in C. (2016: 1 mins. 45 secs. approx.)

Contretemps : for piano. (2016: 3 mins. 45 secs. approx.)

December 2015


15/12/15 : An edited version of the November interview with Tony Thomas (that includes me confidently and incorrectly confusing Shostakovich & Stravinsky!!) is now available on the 3MBS website on their Podcasts / Interviews page.

Silo String Quartet’s spectacular premiere of Proxima also featured on tonight’s Contemporary Visions.

November 2015


24/11/15 : Interview on 3MBS (Contemporary Visions with Tony Thomas) included broadcasts of …like a Maelstrom, Torque & Quicksand.


…like a Maelstrom : video of the powerful premiere performance (sample & full versions) is now on the Arcko Symphonic Ensemble website.

October 2015

New Work:

winding down : for string orchestra  [minimum 4,4,2,2,2]  (2015: 11 mins. 30 secs.)

September 2015

CD release:

Quicksand now available on CD on

SIVA – Australian virtuoso piano music.

Michael Kieran Harvey (pno).

Move Records MD 3397 : other works are by Helen Gifford, Raymond Hanson, Gordon Kerry & Neil Kelly.

Move Records page here

CD available from the AMC here

August 2015

New Work:

Fracture : for piano (2009 – 2015: 27 mins. 40 secs. approx.)

With Shard finally completed, the reborn Fracture is done at last!

i)   re-fract : 2009: 8 mins. 10 secs. approx.

ii) Doublethink : 2012: 12 mins. 50 secs. approx.

iii) Shard : 2015: 6 mins. 40 secs. approx.

All three works can be performed individually, or as part of the larger work.

March 2015

Portrait concert review:

Weering Review had some nice things to say about Arcko’s Composer Portrait concert last month…. Printer friendly PDF here

February 2015

Portrait Concert:

21/2/2015 – Arcko Symphonic : Like a Maelstrom, the music of Brendan Colbert.

Arcko Symphonic Ensemble in a portrait concert performing a selection of recent works (including 4 premieres), featuring the Arcko commission …like a Maelstrom (double concerto for trumpet, piano and small orchestra) with soloists Bruno Siketa (tpt) and Peter Dumsday (pno). Guest performers are Silo String Quartet premiering Proxima, Phoebe Green premiering Torque (viola solo), and Timothy Phillips will premiere the palest light (glockenspiel solo) and conduct the whole show, which will also include Arcko’s latest performance of …floating in the void… for thirteen strings.

A mountain of work for all concerned, and an undoubted career highlight for me !!