Featured Composer: Mary Finsterer
Mary Finsterer is the Chamber Music Australia Chair of Composition at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University. Recognised as one of Australia’s most innovative orchestral composers, Mary received the Australian Art Music Instrumental Work of the Year Award in 2014 for her large-scale piece Aerea, acclaimed by the judges as being spell–bindingand highly engaging. In the same year her most recent symphonic work, a double bass concerto entitled Lake Ice (Missed Tales no.1) performed by Kees Boersma with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, was also a finalist in the Australian Art Music Work of the Year Awards.
In 2012, her large-scale work for two pianos, Falling, premiered at the Soundstream Festival in Adelaide and was also a finalist in the Australian Art Music Work of the Year Awards in 2013. In the same year her percussion concerto, Silva, was the featured work in the Ensemble Offspring programme at the Sydney Opera House and toured nationally in 2015.
Her first collection of award–winning orchestral music spanning more than 10 years from 1991 to 2002 can be heard on the double–disc compilation entitled CATCH, on the ABC Classics|Universal label.
In 2010 Mary's hauntingly beautiful screen music for the feature film South Solitary (dir. Shirley Barrett) was a finalist in the Film Critics Circle of Australia, and has since been released on the cd label ABC Classics|Universal.
Mary has been the recipient of many prestigious awards both in Australia, Canada, USA, Britain and Europe for more than twenty years including receiving the distinguished Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize in 2009, Churchill Fellowship in 2006, Ensemble Intercontemporain and Ircam Prize 2001, Paris Rostrum prize in 1992 and representing Australia in five International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals.
Her work has been performed by numerous leading ensembles including the Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Queensland Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony and Western Australia Symphony Orchestras; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Song Company, Da Capo Chamber Players, Het Trio, Ensemble Modern, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, The New Juilliard Ensemble, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, ASKO│Schönberg Ensemble, Ictus Ensemble, De Volharding and the Arditti String Quartet.
Since 1998 Mary has been a member of various regional, national international advisory boards and adjudication panels of organisations including the Chamber Music Australia Australian New Works Award, Music Board, Australia Council for the Arts, The Melbourne Prize Trust, Soundstream Festival Young Composers’ Award, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Arts NSW, De Ereprijs International Young Composers’ Meeting (The Netherlands), De Internationale Gaudeamus Muziekweek (The Netherlands) and the International Composition Contest Forum – Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montréal Canada).
Mary Finsterer's new work Julian Suite No 1, Movement 1: Nobility was premiered in PLEXUS: Panorama on 21 September 2015 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.
Julian Suite No 1, Movement 1: Nobility (2015)
This work is dedicated to all those men and women who, through their generosity of spirit, have had a profound effect on the life of others in many different ways. This is true of the gallant members of our defence forces, past and present, and also of private citizens such as Julian Burnside AO QC, whose generous patronage of musicians and composers over many years has contributed significantly to the rich and vibrant culture of Australian music today. Thank you Julian.
– Mary Finsterer