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Featured Composer: Robert Davidson

Source: University of Queensland

Source: University of Queensland

Head of Composition at the University of Queensland, Dr Robert Davidson is a prolific composer, bassist, lecturer and founder and artistic director of Topology, ensemble-in-residence at the Brisbane Powerhouse and a Key Organisation in the Australia Council’s funding structure. Davidson studied composition with Terry Riley in California before completing a composition PhD at the University of Queensland, included on the Dean’s list of outstanding PhDs in 2003. Davidson’s studies with Riley were made possible by a Churchill Fellowship during which he also consulted many leading composers in the US and Europe. He previously studied South Indian vocal music in Kerala, India.

Davidson was a bassist in the Australian Opera, Sydney Symphony, and Queensland Symphony orchestras before commencing his current career as a music lecturer. He has been featured as a bassist in the Darwin International Guitar Festival, performing chamber works with John Williams, Ensemble 24, and the Brodsky Quartet. He has also tutored as bassist and composer in many conferences, including the Mt Buller Chamber Music Summer School and Australian String Association National Conference. He regular tours internationally with Topology and other ensembles, and his compositions are regularly performed, recorded and broadcast around the world. All of Australia’s professional orchestras and many leading festivals, soloists and ensembles have commissioned and performed his works, including the Brodsky Quartet (London), Australian String Quartet, Karin Schaupp, Southern Cross Soloists, Paul Dresher Ensemble (San Francisco), Newspeak (New York) and many more.  

He has received many commissions for major works from festivals including the Queensland Music Festival, Brisbane Festival, Sydney Festival, Olympics Arts Festival, Castlemaine Festival and many others. With Topology he has released six CD albums and a DVD, and has directed numerous collaborations with artists including The Kransky Sisters, Gerry Connolly, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, Robert Forster, Misinterprotato, and the Southern Cross Soloists.

Robert Davidson's piece, Lost in Light, was premiered in PLEXUS: Spotlight on 24 November 2014 at the Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre.

Lost in Light (2014)

“Lost in light” is a musical reflection or meditation on “I am not yours” by American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). It is dedicated with great affection and admiration to the marvellous artists of Plexus.

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love—put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

© Robert Davidson 2014