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Featured Composer: Gerard Brophy

 Source: Australian Music Centre

Source: Australian Music Centre

After an increasingly musical adolescence, Gerard Brophy began his studies in the classical guitar at the age of twenty-two. In the late seventies he worked closely with Brazilian guitarist Turibio Santos and the Argentine composer Mauricio Kagel before studying composition at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music.

He has been commissioned and performed by some of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Melbourne, Queensland, Tasmanian, West Australian, Sydney and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras; the Malaysian Philharmonic; the Residentie Orkest; the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic and Symphony Orchestras, to name a few. 

Over recent years he has developed a keen interest in collaborating with artists from other disciplines and he is particularly active in the areas of ballet, dance and electronica. He has also been involved in exciting collaborations with musicians from other cultures among them the great Senegalese master drummers, the N’Diaye Rose family, and the timbila virtuoso Venancio Mbande from Mozambique.

Recent performances include the sell-out season of his ballet Yo Yai Pakebi, Man Mai Yapobi choreographed by Regina van Berkel and performed by the Residentie Orkest and the Nederlands Dans Theater; the premiere seasons of Semele and Halcyon as part of the Australian Ballet’s highly successful INTERPLAY and EDGE OF NIGHT programmes, and the tour of Gethsemane, his contemporary passion play by the Song Company.

Gerard Brophy's piece, Trinity – Three Meditations, was premiered in PLEXUS: Spotlight on 24 November 2014 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.

Trinity – Three Mediations (2014)

The first meditation literally comes out of nothing and the violin drone that opens the work suggests a state of timelessness. The eternal now of the violin provides a simple backdrop against which the, initially tentative, yearning clarinet line gently unfolds suspended over the yawning chasm. 

A dramatic change of mood ushers in the second meditation. It is in stark contrast to the music that preceded it and is replete with exciting unison passages and lively call-and-response figures. It is a glittering display of virtuosity, which gradually builds towards an exciting climax of a joyous intertwining of line and timbre.

After a brief piano solo, a disquieting calm descends upon the music. This final meditation is a lament of sorts featuring the violin’s gloriously sonorous G string. On occasion the clarinet issues forth with spirited cri du coeurs, perhaps in an attempt to rail against the inevitable, to paraphrase the great Irish bard Dylan Thomas, but each time it succumbs and is once more subsumed into the timelessness of the piano’s tampura figure. The circle has been completed and we return to the eternal now of the opening of the work. 

Trinity is dedicated with much admiration and affection to the formidable trinity that is Philip Arkinstall, Monica Curro and Stefan Cassomenos.

© Gerard Brophy 2014