Colbert, Brendan


Australian composer Brendan Colbert was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1956. After moving to Melbourne in 1975 he worked with various progressive-rock bands as keyboard player and songwriter, and in the mid 80s started private composition studies, initially with Brenton Broadstock and then later with Riccardo Formosa.

He was selected twice for the National Orchestral Composers' School (with tutors Gerard Brophy, Richard Mills, and Carl Vine), and these experiences resulted in the premieres of Machinations (1991) and Jericho's Strange (1995) by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. The next few years saw the resolution and assimilation of disparate influences, with many works completed prior to Jericho's Strange being either significantly revised or withdrawn.

His output comprises a substantial number of works (PDF list here), many of which have been performed and/or broadcast around Australia, Europe and the USA. Commissions from Symphony Australia - for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra - and from US flautist Linda Wetherill (both with assistance from the Australia Council) saw premieres of Eirenicon (WASO conducted by Kenneth Young, Perth, 2000), and Shades of Futures Past (New York, 2004, in a version for soloist and CD). Shades of Futures Past was subsequently given its first full performance in Melbourne in August 2011, with the Arcko Symphonic Project conducted by Timothy Phillips, featuring Sarah Beggs as soloist.

Others to have commissioned, performed, and/or recorded works include ELISION Ensemble,Speak Percussion, Libra Ensemble, Smash 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, Stefano Cardi, Norio Sato, Sisco Aparici, Elizabeth Barcan, Marshall McGuire, Geoffrey Morris, Michael Hooper, Anne Norman, Carla Rees and David Black.

Other recent premieres include ...only the living... (Tim Veldman (violin), Alister Barker (cello), and Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Melbourne, September 2011), Ebb (percussion quartet, Speak Percussion, Melbourne, September 2010), Clash (percussion duo, Speak Percussion, Melbourne, September 2010), Quicksand (piano, Michael Kieran Harvey, Melbourne, August 2009), …floating in the void… (string orchestra, Arcko Symphonic Project, cond. Timothy Phillips, Melbourne, May 2009), …of two minds… (alto flute and guitar, Carla Rees & David Black, London, March 2009): plus European premieres of Agité II (mandolin, Michael Hooper, York, UK, May 2009) and PNEUma (vibes and marimba, Pedro Carneiro & Mario Teixeira, Tomar, Portugal, June 2009).

A number of works are available on CD, with several others pending release. Various scores have been published by BMG Ariola and Red House Editions, and other scores are available from the Australian Music Centre, or from the composer.