Featured Composer: Paul Dean

Source: Melbourne Recital Centre

Source: Melbourne Recital Centre

Paul Dean is currently the Artistic Director of the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. He is also the founder and Artistic Laureate of the chamber ensemble Southern Cross Soloists, the Bangalow Music Festival, SunWater and the Stanwell Winter Music School and has premiered over 100 works, including his brother Brett’s clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music, Andrew Schultz’s Clarinet Quintet, Colin Brumby’s and James Penberthy’s Clarinet Concertos and Wilfred Lehmann’s Theme and Variations.

Between 1987 and 2000, Paul was Principal Clarinet with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and appeared as soloist with the Orchestra on over thirty occasions. Throughout the years, Paul has performed with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, the Australian String Quartet, the Goldner Quartet, the Flinders Quartet, the Tin Alley Quartet, and many of the major orchestras in Australia and New Zealand.

As soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, Paul Dean has performed in Norway, England, Japan, China, the USA and Canada. His recording of brother Brett Dean’s clarinet concerto Ariel’s Music won an ARIA in 1999 and the piece was the Selected Work at the 1999 Paris Rostrum of Composers.

In 2004 Paul recorded a CD of music by Andrew Schultz for the Tall Poppies label and in 2009 received rave reviews throughout Europe and the US for his recordings of the Mozart clarinet works on the Melba label.

Paul grew up in a house full of music. He says ‘I can’t remember a moment in our house when music wasn’t played or being practiced'.  His father’s love of Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven imbued his life from his first steps. A passionate supporter of youth and regional music education, Paul’s extensive work throughout Australia has left a lasting imprint on many budding musicians.

2011 saw performances with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Seraphim Trio.  Paul will be composing works for the Melbourne Piano Trio, the Seraphim Trio, the Flinders Quartet and the Brisbane Chamber Choir.

IN 2012 Paul toured Messiaen’s Quartet for the end of time with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and also with the Australian String Quartet on their National Tour. 

Paul has composed works for the Melbourne Piano Trio, the Seraphim Trio, the Brisbane Chamber Choir, Michael Kieran Harvey, cellist Patrick Murphy and the Southern Cross Soloists.

Paul Dean's piece, Fragmented Journeys, was premiered in PLEXUS: We have lift off on 24 February 2014 at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne.

Fragmented Journeys (2014)

I. Fraught

II. An unwanted disturbance

III. A turn for the worse

IV. Emergency

The composer writes: “The word ‘journey’ is a hackneyed cliché used to describe a whole plethora of aspects of music including concert programs and pieces of music.

So when Monica asked me for a title for this trio before I had even completed the first movement, I tongue-in-cheek said that it would be a ‘journey’. Thus the name Fragmented Journeys came into being. But of course, in true form, my smart arse bit me fair on that same arse and the piece literally became about journeys!

The four ‘journeys’ represented here are musical portraits of actual journeys I have taken or in one case, a story that was passionately related to me by a friend.

Fraught was a journey which I just didn’t want to take! An Unwanted Disturbance is a journey that didn’t go according to plan. A turn for the worse, depicts my first visit to a relative in a nursing home and Emergency is a reaction to an horrific story of one of my friends who had a high speed trip in an ambulance to a hospital with their son after a car accident.

I really wish to thank Plexus for suggesting I write this piece and even more so that they could be bothered learning it. Big thanks especially to Phil – the clarinet part is horrendous and I am glad I am not playing it. I have played many of the pieces for this combination and drew on many them for inspiration. So indirect thanks to Ives, Bartók, Milhaud, Khachaturian and Rihm. (perhaps some direct thanks as well)

I dedicate the trio to Monica, Phil and Stefan. Especially to Monica who once shared a 4 day car trip (journey) with me, Gerard Dutton and Matthew Kinmont from Brisbane to Geelong for National Music Camp – at a time when we were skinnier, funnier and sunnier!”

© Paul Dean 2014