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Last updated: 5 February 2015


Andrew Ford at 2014 Art Music Awards.

Last Words wins 'Work of the Year' at 2014 Art Music Awards

September 2014. Andrew Ford's Last Words has won an Art Music Award in the category Work of the Year: Vocal or Choral. Ford, who collected the award at the 2014 Art Music Awards in Melbourne's Plaza Ballroom was also a finalist in the instrumental category for his String Quartet No 5. (The instrumental award went to Mary Finsterer, with Paul Grabowsky and James Ledger respectively taking out the jazz and orchestral awards - more details.)

Commissioned by the soprano Jane Sheldon and first performed by her with the Seraphim Trio, Last Words is a song cycle based on the final poems, diary entries and letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, Captain Robert Scott, Dorothy Porter, Emily Brontë and Virginia Woolf, among others. The climax of the half-hour work is a setting of the passage from Tim Winton's Cloudstreet, describing the death of Fish Lamb. Further performances of Last Words will follow in 2015.

> Read a program note and song texts for Last Words

Video/audio online

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.

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

Watch ANAM musicians, conducted by Brett Dean, perform Andrew Ford's Symphony (Youtube)

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

Watch Ensamble 3 performing Ford's Ringing the Changes (YouTube)

Listen to Dance Maze performed by the Sydney Alpha Ensemble. (classic/amp)

Latest additions
to work list

Common Ground for two string quartets
A pitch dark night
for baritone, piccolo, trumpet and piano
Scherzo perpetuo for string quartet
After the Visitors for mezzo-soprano and string quartet
Slow Air, for trumpet, trombone and guitar
To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship, for soprano, mezzo-soprano, bass clarinet and vibes
Once upon a time there were two brothers..., for solo flute
Last Words, for soprano, violin, cello and piano
for 11 trombones
and four bass drums
String Quartet No. 5
Australian Aphorisms for six solo voices
On Reflection for two pianos
String Quartet No. 4
for medium voice and piano
Three Northumbrian Songs for soprano, harp and string quartet
Cradle Song for string quartet
String Quartet No. 3
Cradle Song for violin and piano
The First Hundred for brass band
Blitz for orchestra and prerecorded voices
Waiting for the Barbarians for large chorus

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.


The Music Show website

ABC Radio National - The Music Show

Learning to Howl
- a new CD from ABC Classics

April 2013. ABC Classics has released a recording of Andrew Ford's double award-winning song cycle, Learning to Howl, sung by the soprano Jane Sheldon. The piece sets words by Lorrie Moore, Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Emily Brontë, Queen Elizabeth I, Ann Timoney Jenkin and Elizabeth Smart (among others) and represents a woman's life from childhood to old age. The CD also includes the 'single' version of a song from the cycle, the Rossetti setting 'The Birthday of My Life', together with Snatches of Old Lauds, for bass clarinet and drone, and Sounds and sweet airs, for flute and clarinet. The other major work on the disc is the Prix Italia runner-up Elegy in a Country Graveyard,.

> Buy the CD from ABC Shop


Music and books online

A wide selection of CDs with music by Andrew Ford is easily available by mail order from Buywell. CDs and individual tracks can also be bought through the Australian Music Centre and at iTunes.

Andrew Ford's books are available from any good book shop in Australia and New Zealand. They are also available as an ebook from Readings, Amazon and iTunes: Earth Dances (NEW February 2015), Try Whistling This, The Sound of Pictures, Illegal Harmonies.

.For a full list of CDs and books, please see also the CD subpage and the Books subpage.



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a quarterly e-newsletter


Earth Dances
- a new book
now available

February 2015. Andrew Ford's new book, Earth Dances: Music in search of the primitive (Black Inc.), shows how composers through history have made their music less sophisticated in order to revive it. From Dunstaple to Bo Diddley, Stravinsky to Scott Walker, Peter Sculthorpe to Pussy Riot, musicians have invoked the demotic and even the barbaric, admitting drones and drums to their work, simplifying (in some cases, infantilising) their techniques. The result has often been renewal. Threaded through Ford's chapters are new interviews with six composers: Richard Barrett, Martin Bresnick, Brian Eno, Liza Lim, Pauline Oliveros and Karin Rehnqvist. Earth Dances is available from good bookshops and electronically from Amazon, iTunes etc.

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


The Past in London

May 2014. Andrew Ford's The Past for counter-tenor, flute and strings will form the centrepiece of a concert by the London-based Australian orchestra Ruthless Jabiru in the British capital's first Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts. The piece sets two texts, Oodgeroo Noonuccal's poem 'The Past', written in 1970 on the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook's landing in Australia, and Cook's ship's log in which he recorded his first impressions of the continent and its indigenous people. The soloist is counter-tenor Russell Harcourt, who premiered the piece in 2009. The concert, conducted by Kelly Lovelady, is in the beautiful Gothic-revival chapel of King's College London.

> Read the texts of The Past
> Performances of Andrew Ford's music in 2014


Ford in the USA: Boston, Juilliard, Yale

March 2014. This April Andrew Ford will be in the United States, presenting lectures at Boston Conservatory (Wednesday 9 April), The Juilliard School (Thursday 10 April) and Yale University (Tuesday 15 - Thursday 17 April). At Yale, as Poynter Fellow in Journalism, Ford will give a lecture entitled 'The Composer as Critic' and his music will be featured in a concert at Morse Recital Hall on 17 April at which New Music New Haven will perform the US premieres of the violin and percussion duo War and Peace (2004) and On Winter's Traces (2009) for piccolo, bass clarinet, piano and string quartet.


Listen to radio
programs online

Illegal Harmonies is a ten-part history of music in the 20th century.

Music and Fashion casts a far wider net, the programs ranging from the 12th-century composers of Notre Dame to Cyndi Lauper, from Andrea Bocelli to Elvis Presley, and from electronica to the Elizabethan volta.

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