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(1933 - 2018)


C olin Brumby not only enjoys a reputation as one of Australia's leading composers with international standing, but is also one of the country's most consistently-played composers. His large output finds immediate acceptance by both performer and audience alike.

Born in Melbourne in 1933, he graduated from the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music in 1957, and studied advanced musical composition in Spain and London. He returned to Australia to take up an appointment to the staff of the University of Queensland, becoming the youngest Senior Lecturer appointed up to that time. As Musical Director of the newly-formed Queensland Opera Company from 1968 to 1971, he helped lay the foundations of permanent opera in Queensland, and conducted the Australian premieres of such works as Haydn's L'infedeltà delusa and Bizet's Dr. Mirâcle. In 1972 he took study leave for further advanced music composition in Rome, having received his Doctorate of Music the previous year from the University of Melbourne. He was awarded one of the first Advance Australian Awards in 1981 for his services to music. He retired in 1998 from a position as Associate Professor in the School of Music at the University of Queensland.

Many of Dr. Brumby's works are commissioned by a performer or organization and often for a specific occasion, such as the cantata Charlie Bubbles' Book of Hours for an Australian UNESCO Seminar on Music Education, and This is the Vine for the 40th International Eucharistic Congress. Two more recent works were his Paean for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 50th Anniversary Celebrations televised nationally from the Sydney Town Hall, and his South Bank Overture for the Opening of the Queensland Cultural Centre. His ballet score Alice, comissioned by Queensland Ballet, was warmly received during its premiere season in 1989, as was his cantata The Ballad of Sydney Hospital, commemorating the Bicentenary of the Sydney Hospital the previous year.

Such a variety of commissions may explain the considerable diversity of his works, which represent nearly every form in the musical repertoire. His larger works include operas (several designed for young audiences), concerti for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, piano, violin, viola, and guitar, 2 symphonies, several orchestral suites and overtures, chamber music, such as his highly-successful wind quintet The Seven Ages of Man, a string quartet, piano quartet, bassoon quintet, and sonatas for flute, clarinet, and bassoon. In addition he has composed numerous choral works, with orchestra, piano, organ, or no accompaniment, film scores and incidental music for dramatic presentations, songs, and large quantities of music for smaller forces of almost every kind.

Many of his works have been recorded on the Jade label, as well as by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2MBS, and Signum in Germany.

His publications also appear in the catalogues of Augsburg/Fortress Press, Australian Music Centre, Cambridge University Press, Walton Music Corporation, and others.

Colin Brumby died on January 3, 2018, in Brisbane, Australia.

CanticaNOVA Publications is most pleased to offer these works of Dr. Colin Brumby:


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