Barry Conyngham  

Australian Composer

Born August 1944


Australian composer Barry Conyngham has combined a long career in music with one in universities.

After studies with Peter Sculthorpe (1965–69) in Australia and with Toru Takemitsu (1970) in Japan, he established himself in the following decades as one of Australia’s international composers, with premieres and performances of his works in Japan, North and South America, Europe, the UK and at home. Notable premieres in the last few years have been in Palma, Hong Kong, Boston, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Tokyo, Vienna, and St Petersburg.

He has received many awards, including Churchill (1970), Harkness (1972–74), Australia Council (1975) and Fulbright (1982) Fellowships, an Aria (1986), and two Sounds Australian Awards (1988, 1989). In 1997 he became a Member of the Order of Australia.

Over his career he has published almost 100 works (Universal Edition and Hal Leonard) and released over 60 recordings and videos, including those by the London, Netherlands Radio, New Zealand, and all Australian Orchestras, as well as ensembles and soloists from Poland, Japan, the UK, Europe, Russia, America and Australia.

His work in universities is reflected in his being Emeritus Professor from the University of Wollongong (1989), and Southern Cross University (2000), where he was Foundation Vice-Chancellor and President (1994–2000) and the University of Melbourne,where he was Dean of Fine Arts and Music (2011-2020). In 2016he was appointed Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne.He was also the first musician to hold the Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University (2000–2001).

In 2019, the orchestral work One Small Step received its first performance in May by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and October saw the premiere of Isao for violin and orchestra by theSaint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.

In 2021 Conyngham returned to full-time composition.

© Barry Conyngham 2021