David Harris is an Adelaide based composer, broadcaster and lecture in composition at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide University. Before joining the University Staff in 2002, he lectured in composition at the Flinders Street School of Music where over a ten-year period he developed composition studies to degree level.

As a composer David has been prolific (350 pieces since 1980) and varied, ranging stylistically from ‘hardcore minimalism’ (making a piano sound like an aeroplane) to an expressive post-romanticism and many experimental shades in between.

His interest in combing opposing materials has seen the development of his most recent style which the unlikely combination of chance, serialism and utilizes counterpoint. These pieces present chromatic, rhythmically disjointed episodes alongside warm seemingly tonally centred passages. Signposting the beginning of his most recent period was the first work of the Compossible Series in 1994. This series is held together by the theme of its title which means ‘able to co-exist with’. Works that are most concerned with this theme have been included in the series, which consist of 11 pieces for mixed ensemble to date (e.g. String Quartet No. 5 Compossible X for the Amicus String Quartet).

David’s works have been heard in Germany, France, USA, Canada, Poland and Australia. In 1994 643 Pieces for a Percussionist, commissioned by Vanessa Tomlinson was performed in the Darmstadt New Music Festival. Also in Darmstadt, Compossible IV received repeat performances at Prinz Georgs Garten in 1996. Compossible VII for solo Guitar was toured by Geoffrey Morris as part of the European tour by Australia’s leading new music organisation, Elision in 1997. Later that year works for solo and duo piano were performed at the Marmosaal Concert Hall in Stuttgart, Germany.

In 1998, Piece for Three Speakers was performed in St Denis Paris, France by members of the ACME New Music Co. Also in this year the Chamber Players of South Australia premiered Compossible IX, commissioned by Richard Hornung. In 1999 String Quartet No. 5 Compossible X was commissioned by the Amicus String Quartet. Highlights of 2000 include 16 Variations for Piano – Shading into White commissioned by pianist, Gabriella Smart, Compossible XI, A Hommage to Don Dunstan, commissioned by Carl Crossin for the Adelaide Chamber Singers and the Saxophone Quartet commissioned by the Adelaide Institute Connection Saxophone Quartet which was performed at the World Saxophone Congress in Montreal, Canada. 16 Variations for Piano featured in Smart’s Recital in the 2001 Hobart Festival Also in 2001, Concord Divergences received repeat performances by pianist Rodney Smith and the Concerto for Multiple Percussion with Percussion Orchestra was performed at the International Percussion Festival in Warsaw, Poland.


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