John Carmichael

(Australie - Australia)

John Carmichael was born in Melbourne in 1930. He won the Ormond Scholarship to study at the Melbourne Conservatorium in 1947 and studied piano with two of Australia's most accomplised performers - Margaret Schofield (1944-47) and Raymond Lambert (1947-51). Between 1948 and 1950, he studied composition with Dorian Le Gallienne and gained his Diploma of Music with Honours in 1951.

He arrived in Paris in 1952, where he commenced piano studies with Marcel Ciampi at the Conservatoire National. He was awarded the Diplome Etranger with Honours in 1954, when he travelled to London to continue his composition studies with Arthur Benjamin (1955-57) and Anthony Milner, a pupil of Seiber, from 1957-60. Following this period of study, Arthur Benjamin continued to give him much advice and encouragement. It was during this period that he wrote the music for Britain's Festival of Women.

During the 1950's and early 1960's, he contributed reviews and criticism to the international magazines Music and Musicians, then edited by Evan Senior and Records and Recording. He also worked as a music therapist for the Council for Music Therapy in London.

Between 1958 and 1963, he was Music Director of the Spanish dance company, Eduardo Y Navarra, during which time he became fascinated by Spansih folk idiom. His interest is reflected in the Concierto Folklorico for piano and string orchestra, which has twice been recorded by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra - first in 1970 conducted by Tibor Paul and in 1984 under David Measham, on both occasions with the composer as soloist.

In 1980, his Flute Concerto Phoenix was premiered at the Sydney Opera House with James Galway as soloist and the Sydney Symphony under Louis Fremaux. The work's American premiere followed the same year at the Hollywood Bowl by the Los Angeles Symphony under Michael Tillson Thomas (now conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra), again with James Galway as soloist.

His second large-scale work for solo flute, the Fantasy Concerto, was recorded by the ABC and given its first performance by the Adelaide Symphony under the conductor Patrick Thomas. It has subsequently been broadcast nationally many times.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation invited him to record all his piano duet and two piano music with the young Australian virtuoso, Victor Sangiorgio, in 1984. In the same year, he appeared as soloist in a performance of his piano concerto on the Last Night of the Proms during the 10th Perth Festival.

In February 1984, his Trumpet Concerto was chosen to represent Australian music in the 'All Nations Concert' on the last night of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Sydney Myer Concerts at the Melbourne Music Bowl. The concert was attended by over twenty-five thousand people and televised by the ABC for transmission throughout Australia.

His was included in a major survey of Australian piano music broadcast in the ABC FM Radio programme 'Under Capricorn' in 1989. An hour-long retrospective of John Carmichael's music was broadcast later that year, including an interview with the composer who talked about the influences on his work.

He received an opera commission from the Friends of Victoria State Opera in 1985, which resulted in , based on the novel by Jean Rhys. John Carmichael's other major works include a saxophone concerto, requested by the Melbourne-based performer and teacher, Peter Clinch, the Fetes Champetres for clarinet and orchestra and the suite Puppet Show for piano duet.

In October 1990, his sixtieth birthday was celebrated with a special concert in London, at which Victor Sangiorgio gave the first performance of Bravura Waltzes for solo piano.

John Carmichael is resident in London and makes frequent visits to Australia for performances of his music.

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