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Damian Barbeler


July 2024

Damian Barbeler is an award-winning composer and multimedia artist recognised for his inventive nature-inspired creations. His visually-influenced style, derived from the practice of composing in situ during field trips, brings a raw and unvarnished honesty to the colours and textures of the Australian bush: from oppressive harshness to intoxicating beauty and everything in between.


Barbeler’s music regularly incorporates extra-musical elements, including visuals, sculpture, theatre, and/or interactive electronics, created either by himself or in collaboration with other artists. This practice has led to a series of significant and idiosyncratic works such as “Piece for Violin and Ball of Wool”, “Scenes from the Bundian Way”, “Bruces Shed" and “Duet for One”, which push the boundaries of classical concert presentation into genuinely innovative and immersive realms. 


His compositions and multimedia works have appeared in concert halls and major festivals around Australia including Vivid Light Festival, MOFO, Four Winds Festival, Canberra International Music Festival, Tasmanian International Arts Festival, Brisbane Festival and Metropolis Festival. For nearly a decade he Directed projects with local communities in Far North Qld and the Torres Strait Islands for Qld Music Festival.

In 2024 Barbeler's choral work Charlotte, on a text by Judith Crispin, will be premiered by Kings College Cambridge Choir on an Australian national Musica Viva tour.

In 2020 Barbeler co-curated the independent, experimental, online HiberNATION Festival of the Lo-fi which was nominated for the global 2021 Classical:NEXT awards. He has twice received the ‘Recommended Work’ award at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers. He was a finalist in the international Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize 2008, and was awarded the prestigious Ian Potter Emerging Composer Fellowship 2006/07. In 2015 he was finalist for “Best Instrumental Work” for the APRA/AMC Art Music Awards.

Major premiere highlights include, Scenes from the Bundian Way (2022) for Canberra International Music Festival, Piece for Violin and Ball of Wool (2018 with violinist Anna McMichael), for violin and ritual theatre for Melbourne Recital Hall, Metropolis Festival; The Sound Bubble installation in Vivid 2016 (with John Taylor and Anna McMichael), and MOFO Festival Launceston (2018); The Music Orchard (with Tim Jetis, Ciaran Frame and John Taylor) Vivid 2017; Bruce’s Shed, for Big hArt for the 2015 Tasmanian International Arts Festival; Bright Birds (2012) and Visiting Eucalyptus (2018, with Tim Jetis) for Four Winds Festival.

Barbeler is a Lecturer in Composition and Music Technologies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (University of Sydney), and Creative Producer for the independent art music production house Backstage Music. He is a represented composer with the Australian Music Centre. His book “Music Composition Toolbox” co-authored with Matthew Hindson and Diana Blom is a staple text for secondary education in Australia.


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