Featured Composer: James Wade

James Wade portrait.jpg

James Wade developed an interest in music comparatively late which allowed his compositions to be largely influenced by philosophical and abstract ideas more than by other composers or genres of music. Themes relating to environment, identity and the nature of life feature prominently in his work.

His music has been performed and broadcast around Australia and internationally by many ensembles and musicians including the Melbourne Chamber Choir, the Australian String Quartet, Halcyon, the Melbourne, Tasmanian and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras. James has also worked with a great number of Australian and New Zealand composers and conductors including Brett Dean, Maria Grenfell, Elliott Gyger, Matthew Hindson, James Ledger, Richard Mills, Paul Stanhope and Ken Young.

James Wade was born in Melbourne and educated at the University of Melbourne, the University of British Columbia and the University of Sydney. He received a Bachelor of Arts in 2001, having studied philosophy, psychology and music history prior to turning his attention seriously towards music. Initially studying voice with Steven Grant, then composition with Stuart Greenbaum, Johanna Selleck and Brenton Broadstock, he graduated again from the University of Melbourne in 2005 with a Bachelor of Music (Honours). After several years of international travel and work including a year of study in composition at the University of British Columbia in Canada, he returned to Australia to continue his work completing a Master of Music between the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. He is currently completing a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Melbourne.

James is a strong advocate for Australian music and has worked as a broadcaster on ABC Classic FM nationally and 3MBS in Melbourne. James is the 2012/2013 recipient of the Hephzibah Tintner Fellowship, working with the Sydney Dance Company, Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony.

James Wade's new work The good rain knows its season was premiered in PLEXUS: Pulsations on 11 May 2016 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.

The good rain knows its season (2016)

This piece reflects on the poem Welcome Rain on a Spring Night written by Chinese poet Du Fu (712-770) in the Tang Dynasty.

The text and an English translation are offered below.










Welcome Rain on a Spring Night


The good rain knows its season,

When spring arrives, it brings life.

It follows the wind secretly into the night,

And moistens all things softly, without sound.

On the country road, the clouds are all black,

On a riverboat, a single fire bright.

At dawn one sees this place now red and wet,

The flowers are heavy in the brocade city.


– James Wade