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Last updated: 28 September 2015


A still from the film 'Le Sculpteur express' (1907). Watch film on Youtube.

Premieres at Canberra International Music Festival, and music for a silent film

May 2015.  Two new pieces by Andrew Ford will have their first performances during the 2015 Canberra International Music Festival. At the National Library of Australia on Friday 8 May, David Greco will sing A Pitch Dark Night, for baritone, piccolo, trumpet and piano, a setting of words from Arthur Taylor's Gallipoli diary. The following evening, the New Zealand String Quartet and the Tinalley String Quartet come together to play Common Ground, a piece that shares musical material with A Pitch Dark Night. Common Ground was commissioned for the Canberra International Music Festival by Barbara Blackman.

The Flinders Quartet will play the first performances of Scherzo perpetuo, commissioned by the group to accompany Segundo de Chomón's short silent film Le Sculpteur express (1907). It is one of two 'film score' commissions by the Flinders Quartet, the other from Swedish composer Mattias Lysell, and in their May concerts the quartet will play the works back to back, accompanying showings of the film. They will take both pieces to the Sundsvall Chamber Music Festival in Sweden in July. Watch Le Sculpteur express on Youtube.

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

In transit for piano and speaker
Missa brevis for SATB choir and organ The Drowners for baritone and small orchestra
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

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

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

Find me
on Twitter

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


2014 Art Music Awards:
Last Words wins 'Work of the Year - Vocal'

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.

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


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.



Subscribe to
a quarterly e-newsletter


Earth Dances
- a new book
and a radio series

May 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.
> Read reviews

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


Listen to radio
programs online

Earth Dances (see above) was broadcast in April on ABC RN. The four episodes are now available to download.

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

The Sound of Pictures a 6-part series about the way film uses music, featuring film directors (Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford, Sally Potter), composers (Richard Rodney Bennett, Ennio Morricone), a sound editor and lots of music.

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.


The Past in London

May 2014. Andrew Ford's The Past for counter-tenor, flute and strings was the centrepiece, in May 2014, 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 was counter-tenor Russell Harcourt, with Kelly Lovelady conducting.

> Read the texts of The Past

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