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Sculthorpe, Peter (Joshua)

Sculthorpe, Peter (Joshua)

Sculthorpe, Peter (Joshua) , eminent Australian composer and teacher; b. Launceston, Tansmania, April 29, 1929. He studied at the Univ. of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (B.Mus., 1951) and with Wellesz and Rubbra at Wadham Coll., Oxford (1958–60). In 1963 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of Sydney, where he later served as prof. of composition. He also was composer-in-residence at Yale Univ. while on a Harkness Fellowship (1966–67) and a visiting prof. at the Univ. of Sussex (1972–73). In 1970 he was made a Member and in 1977 an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. He was awarded the Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977. In 1980 he received an honorary doctor of letters degree from the Univ. of Tasmania, and in 1989 he received the same from the Univ. of Sussex; that same year he also received an honorary doctor of music degree from the Univ. of Melbourne. He was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1991. In 1994 he received the Sir Bernard Heinze Award for his contributions to Australian music. He was awarded the R.M. Johnston Medal from the Royal Soc. of Tasmania in 1997. His 70th birthday was marked by many concerts in 1999 devoted to his music. His memoirs appeared as Sun Music: Journeys and Reflections From a Composer’s Life (1999). Schulthorpe rejected such modern compositional methods as atonality and serialism to pursue an independent course. He has found inspiration in aboriginal Australian music, as well as in the music of Asia, particularly Japanese and Balinese music. In all of his music, one finds a discerning musicianship, mastery of resources, and inventiveness.


dramatic; Sun Music, ballet (Sydney, Aug. 2, 1968; based on the Sun Music series); Rites of Passage, theater piece (1972–73); Quiros, television opera (ABC National TV, July 1, 1982). ORCH .: Irkanda IV for Violin, Percussion, and Strings (Melbourne, Aug. 5, 1961); Small Town (Hobart, Dec. 13, 1963; rev. 1976); Sun Music I (London, Sept. 30, 1965), 77: Ketjak (1966; rev. version, Sydney, Feb. 22, 1969), 777: Anniversary Music (1967), and IV (Melbourne, May 29, 1967); From Tabuli Tabuhan (1968); Music for Japan (Melbourne, May 25, 1970); Overture for a Happy Occasion (Launceston, Nov. 16, 1970); Lament for Strings (Wollongong, May 26, 1976; also for Cello and Strings, Sydney, Sept. 22, 1991); Port Essington for String Trio and String Orch. (Sydney, Aug. 18, 1977); Mangrove (Sydney, April 27, 1979); Cantares for Chamber Orch. (1979; Sydney, Jan. 17, 1980); Piano Concerto (1983); 3 sonatas for Strings: No. 1 (1983), No. 2 (Brighton, May 19, 1988), and No. 3, Jabiru Dreaming (1994); Little Suite for Strings (Sydney, Sept. 22, 1983); Sun Song (Perth, Oct. 20, 1984); Earth Cry (Adelaide, Aug. 22, 1986); Autumn Song for Strings (1986; also for Chorus, 1968); Kakadu (Aspen, Colo.,July 24, 1988); Nourlangie, concerto for Guitar, Percussion, and Strings (Brisbane, Oct. 24, 1989); Little Nourlangie for Organ and Orch. (Sydney, June 6, 1990); From Uluru (1991); Nangaloar (Aspen, Colo., July 14, 1991); Awake Glad Heart! for 2 Trumpets, Cello, and Strings (1992; arranged from The Birthday of Thy King for Chorus, 1988); Memento mori (1992–93; Perth, July 2, 1993); Darwin Marching (Darwin, Feb. 18, 1995); Little Requiem for Koto and Strings (Sydney, June 20, 1996); Port Arthur in Memoriam for Trumpet or Oboe and Strings (1996); Love-Song for Guitar and Strings (Darwin, July 12, 1997); Cello Dreaming for Cello, Strings, and Percussion (Manchester, England, April 29, 1998); Great Sandy Island (Tokyo, Oct. 13, 1998); Rockpool Dreaming for Soprano Saxophone and Strings (Newcastle, New South Wales, Feb. 7, 1999); My Country Childhood (Adelaide, Sept. 23, 1999); Gondwana- Land (Malvern, England, Oct. 22, 1999). Band: Burke and Willis Suite for Symphonic Band (Melbourne, Nov. 11, 1985; also for Brass Band, Adelaide, March 3, 1986). Chamber : 15 string quartets: No. 1 (1947), No. 2 (1948), No. 3 (1949), No. 4 (1950), No. 5, Irkanda II (1959), No. 6 (1964–65; Sydney, April 1, 1965), No. 7, Red Landscape (Norfolk, Va., July 29, 1966; rev. 1994), No. 8, String Quartet Music (1968; London, Jan. 15, 1970), No. 9 (Sydney, Oct. 17, 1975), No. 10 (San Francisco, April 8, 1983), No. 11, Jabiru Dreaming (Adelaide, March 10, 1990), No. 12 (London, July 19, 1994), No. 13, Island Dreaming, with mezzo-soprano (Paris, Dec. 3, 1996), No. 14 (Launceston, March 5, 1998), and No. 15 (Melbourne, July 10, 1999); The Loneliness ofBunjil for String Trio (1954; London, Nov. 30, 1960; rev. 1964); Irkanda I for Violin (Melbourne, June 30, 1955) and III for Piano Trio (1961); Sonata for Viola and Percussion (Attingham Park, July 1960); Tabuh Tabuhan for Wind Quintet and Percussion (Adelaide, March 20, 1968); Dream for Any Instruments and Any Number of Players (Sydney, Sept. 22, 1970); How the Stars Were Made for 4 Percussionists (Canberra, Oct. 4, 1971); Alone for Violin (1976); Landscape II for Amplified Piano and String Trio (Sydney, April 27, 1978); Little Serenade for String Quartet (1978); Requiem for Cello (Mittagong, April 14, 1979); Tailitnama Song for 5 Players (1981); Dhilile for 4 Percussionists (1981; Adelaide, March 7, 1990); Songs of Sea and Sky for Clarinet and Piano (New Haven, Conn., Oct. 15, 1987; also for Flute and Piano); Sun Song for 4 Percussionists (Paris, June 1, 1989); Threnody (In memoriam Stuart Challender) for Cello (Sydney, Feb. 20, 1991); Tropic for 6 Players (Brighton, May 23, 1992); Dream Tracks for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (San Diego, Oct. 31, 1992); From Saibai for Violin and Piano (N.Y., May 10, 1993); Into the Dreaming for Guitar (London, March 15, 1994; also for Harp); Chorale for 8 Cellos (Glamorgan, Wales, Aug. 28, 1994); Simori for Flute and Guitar (Darwin, July 7, 1995). p i a n o: 2 Easy Pieces (1958, 1968); Callabonna (1963; Melbourne, July 30, 1989); Landscape I for Amplified Piano and Tape (Perth, Feb. 28, 1971); Night Pieces (Perth, Feb. 28, 1971); Koto Music I and 1/ for Amplified Piano and Tape (1976); 4 Pieces for Piano Duet (Sydney, April 28, 1979); Mountains (1980; Sydney, July 4, 1981); Nocturnal (1983); A little Book of Hours (1998). vocal: Sun Music for Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (Adelaide, March 13, 1966); Morning Song for the Christ Child, carol for Chorus (1966); Sea Chant for Unison Voices and Orch. (1968; Melbourne, June 1975); Autumn Song for Chorus (1968; also for String Orch., 1986); Love 200 for 2 Singers, Rock Band, and Orch. (Sydney, Feb. 14, 1970); The Song of Tailitnama for High Voice, 6 Cellos, and Percussion (1974; also for Medium Voice and Piano, 1984; Sydney, Sept. 9, 1986); Child of Australia for Soprano, Speaker, Chorus, and Orch. (Sydney, Jan. 26, 1988); The Birthday of Thy King, carol for Chorus (Cambridge, Dec. 24, 1988; also arranged as Awake Glad Heart! for 2 Trumpets, Cello, and Strings, 1992); It’s You for Chorus (Sydney, May 6, 1989); Psalm 150 for Treble Voices and Optional Voices and/or Instruments (Launceston, Oct. 27, 1996); Maranoa Lullaby for Mezzo- soprano and String Quartet (Sydney, Nov. 26, 1996); Love Thoughts for Soprano, 2 Speakers, and Chamber Group (1998).


M. Hannan, P. S.; His Music and Ideas 1929–1979 (Brisbane, 1982); D. Hayes, P. S.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn /Dennis McIntire

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