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Last updated: 4 September 2018


Painting of Miranda in The Tempest by John William Waterhouse

on the classics

August 2018. Two forthcoming premieres from Andrew Ford have their origins in the classics. The Sea and the Mirror is a work in two movements (fast and slow) for violinist Tor Frømyhr and cellist David Pereira. Its title is taken from W.H. Auden's poem-cum-commentary about Shakespeare's play The Tempest. This is hardly the first time Ford has been drawn to the play. He has set lines to music on two occasions and borrowed titles four times. This piece is composed as part of his H.C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship in the ANU School of Music and was to have had its premiere at ANU on 22 September. Due to illness, this will now take place in 2019.

In the Books of Kings, Jezebel was the Queen of Israel who attempted to replace the worship of Yahweh with that of Baal and Asherah. She is also, popularly, supposed to have worn too much make-up. She was thrown to her death from a high window by Jehu, her body eaten by dogs. The Canadian poet Anne Carson has turned Jezebel's story into a brilliant, ironic four-part poem and it is this that Ford has set to music in a dramatic vocal work for Jane Sheldon with Claire Edwardes playing a variety of metal percussion. No One Could Relax around Jezebel, commissioned by Julian Burnside AO QC, will have its first performance at the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival on 13 October.

> No One Could Relax around Jezebel at 2pm on Saturday 13 October, Reardon Theatre, Port Fairy VIC. Info and tickets.

[Updated 4 Sept: premiere for The Sea and the Mirror]


A pick from Spotify: 'After the Visitors'

> After the Visitors (2014) for soprano and string quartet to Judith Wright's poem was commissioned by Katie Noonan for her project with the UK-based Brodsky Quartet. Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet premiered it in Brisbane in April 2016, as part of their national tour.


The Memory of Music -
'a sort of memoir'

July 2017: The Memory of Music, Andrew Ford's 'sort of' memoir is published by Black Inc on 3 July. Although it has the form of a memoir, it is really a book about music and how it can help shape our lives. Andrew Ford writes about the music that has most influenced him and takes us inside the head of a composer. There are book events as follows: July 2 book launch in Robertson (details and bookings); July 5 author talk at Stanton Library, North Sydney (free event, details); July 13 'In Conversation with Richard Tognetti' at the Yellow House, Sydney (details and bookings); July 15 Southern Highland Writers' Festival (festival info); July 26 Riverbend Books, Brisbane (details and bookings); 5-6 August Byron Bay Writers' Festival (festival info).

You can read extracts from the book in the Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Music Centre's Resonate magazine.

> The book is available for purchase from 3 July, in shops and online - for example the AMC's online shop and of course the Black Inc. website (also preorder).

> For reviews of The Memory of Music, see the Books subpage.



Video/audio online

Andrew Ford on Soundcloud

Watch the first performance of Contradance by the Omega Ensemble (Youtube)

Watch Brett Dean conduct the premiere of Andrew Ford's Symphony (Youtube)

Watch Catherine McCorkill play Ford's Snatches of Old Lauds in Abercrombie Caves (YouTube)

Subscribe to Andrew Ford's YouTube channel

Watch a 2-part documentary about Elegy in a Country Graveyard: Part 1; Part 2 (Four Donkey Films)

Download a free podcast of Untuning the Sky, a collaboration between composer Andrew Ford, Genevieve Lacey (recorders), Phil Slater (trumpet), musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music, 71 members of Gondwana Voices, sound engineer/producer Jim Atkins and the painter John Olsen (reading). Includes a short interview with Andrew Ford.


Latest additions
to work list

String Quartet No 6

Blood Red Roses for brass quintet

Peter Pan, an opera for young voices

No One Could Relax around Jezebel for soprano and perucssion

Comeclose and Sleepnow, for voice and 14 instruments

Lin-lan-lone for carillon

Sunrise with Wedding Dresses for string quartet

Fanfare for Neverland for solo trumpet

Raga for electric guitar and orchestra

Contradance for 11 instruments

Sleep for string orchestra

In transit for piano and speaker

Missa brevis for SATB choir and organ

The Drowners for baritone and small orchestra


Free sheet music

Thin Air for solo piano (pdf 188 KB)

Broadway Boogie Woogie (pdf 150 KB) for solo piano

Fear no more . . . (pdf 155 KB)
for solo piano



High resolution promotional photographs for use in concert programs and other non-commercial contexts are now available on the biography subpage.



Album for children
(and their parents & grandparents)

May 2016. Andrew Ford's popular new album for children and their parents, There Was a Man Lived in the Moon is now available in the UK, with other countries to follow. It comprises 29 songs, sung by Jane Sheldon and Teddy Tahu Rhodes, two of Australia's finest classical singers, while the players are usually to be found among the ranks of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. There are also several original songs, including Little Star (a setting of Jane Taylor's 18th-century poem, 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star', and three songs to poems by Edward Lear, collectively known as Nonsense.

> Order the album There Was a Man Lived in the Moon (AMC Shop)

> The music for 20 traditional nursery rhymes and Nonsense can be purchased from the Australian Music Centre.


Three Front Doors and a Paddock radio series

April 2016. In the 4-part radio series Three front doors and a paddock Andrew Ford's talks the artist Ben Quilt about making music and making art: How does it begin? What is its subject matter? Who pays for it? And what about all that great art from the past? Listen now or download.


Earth Dances
- book and radio series

May 2015. Andrew Ford's new book, Earth Dances (Black Inc.), shows how composers through history have made their music less sophisticated. The result has often been renewal.

> For details and e-purchase links, see: Black Inc. Read reviews

> The radio series Earth Dances was broadcast in April on ABC Radio National. The four episodes are now available to download.



Subscribe to e-newsletter

> Subscribe to a quarterly newsletter from Andrew Ford.

> Read the latest newsletter (August 2018)


Find me
on Twitter &

My Twitter handle is @fordwritesmusic, and you can read the feed here.

For some audio, including works and performances not commercially released, please check out my Soundcloud page.


The premiere of
The Drowners
in London

February 2018. Andrew Ford's song cycle, The Drowners, receives its first performance on Saturday 10 March in the beautiful surroundings of Gilbert Scott's Gothic-revival chapel at King's College in the Strand. Scored for baritone, strings, percussion, harmonium, celesta and harp, the songs draw on words by Tim Winton, George Barker, Bruce Dawe, Stevie Smith (her famous poem, 'Not Waving but Drowning') and Shakespeare. But the heart of the piece is a letter by the 19th-century West Australian botanist, Georgiana Molloy, about the drowning of her infant son.

The baritone Morgan Pearse, for whom it was written, will sing The Drowners with the chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru, conducted  by Kelly Lovelady.

> Read a program note and song texts


H.C. Coombs
Fellowship at the ANU

February 2018. This year, Andrew Ford has been invited to be an H.C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. The fellowship is now more than 50 years old, and previous recipients have included Sidney Nolan, Christina Stead, Xavier Herbert, Judith Wright, Robyn Davidson and William Yang, as well as the composers Malcolm Williamson, Nigel Westlake and Paul Grabowsky. There will be concerts featuring Ford's music, as well as public lectures and a new commission, The Sea and the Mirror, for violin (Tor Frømyhr) and cello (David Pereira). Watch this space for details.

> More about the H.C. Coombs fellowship


Comeclose and Sleepnow
- love songs from Liverpool

October 2017 On Friday 13 October in Melbourne is the first outing of Comeclose and Sleepnow, a new song cycle for the wonderfully talented Gian Slater with Paul Grabowsky's Monash Art Ensemble. As a teenager Andrew Ford was much taken with the poems of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Brian Patten in The Mersey Sound (Penguin Modern Poets No 10 - cover designed by Alan Spain, right). When he was asked to write something for the Monash Art Ensemble, he returned to their work for a sequence of six love lyric..

> Read more about the work (Inside Story magazine).


Raga - a concerto for Zane Banks and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

August 2016. Andrew Ford came up with the first ideas for his electric guitar concerto in 1998, and finally, thanks to a commission from Kim Williams in partnership with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Guitar Festival, Raga was unveiled on 13 August 2016 at Adelaide Town Hall. The work is composed for the virtuoso guitarist, Zane Banks, who was the soloist in the premiere. The ASO was conducted by Benjamin Northey.

> Read a program note.

> Reviews of Raga


Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
- a Mass for 4 cathedrals

November 2015. Dedicated 'to all who seek asylum', Andrew Ford's Missa Brevis is based on the Spiritual 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child', first sung in the 19th century by African slaves 'a long way from home', In the 21st century the sentiment seems apt for refugees on the run from persecution, terrorism and war. The Missa Brevis was commissioned by St John's Cathedral, Brisbane, St Stephen's Cathedral, Brisbane, St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, St George's Cathedral, Perth and Fr Arthur Bridge for Ars Musica Australis.


The Music Show

The Music Show is two weekly hour-long programs of conversation and music. Gregorian chant or hip hop, k.d. lang or a rookie conductor, all get the attention they deserve.

> The Music Show, on Saturday and Sunday 11am Repeated: Saturday and Sunday 10pm.

> Program website


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