Composer's Details

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Nigel Westlake
6.9. 1958


Born in Sydney, he studied with his father and later at the Australian Film and Television School under William Motzing. He was a freelance performer and composer the early years of his career, playing throughout Australia and in parts of Europe. He was a member of the Magic Puddin' Band and was later invited to be a part of the Australia Ensemble, a group of musicians that played new Australian classical music. He remained a composer during this time, writing music on commission for groups including ABC television and the Royal Australian Navy Band. He composed his first film score in 1989, and later was widely recognized with his score for the Oscar-nominated film Babe. Other film scores he has composed include Antarctica, including the award winning 'Penguin Play', The Nugget and Miss Potter.

He has composed symphonies for the Australian Virtuosi Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In 2004 he was awarded the "H. C. Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship" at the Australian National University.

His Op. 1, Omphalo Centric Lecture for percussion quartet, has become one of the most frequently performed works in the percussion repertoire since its composition in 1984. It was premiered by the Sydney-based percussion group Synergy. It was recorded through the use of multitrack recording by Michael Askill in 1995 on the album "Onomatopoeia" (Westlake uses the same technique on the album's first track). In 2006, his Percussion Concerto When the Clock Strikes Me was premiered with Rebecca Lagos and the Sydney Symphony. In 2007, the newly commissioned clarinet concertino "Rare Sugar" was premiered by Catherine McCorkill and the Australia Ensemble.

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