Iain Grandage is a composer, conductor and Festival Director of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival. He has received the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, the Ian Potter Emerging Composer Fellowship, and been Composer-in-Residence with the WA Symphony Orchestra, and Musician-in-Residence at the UWA School of Music, where he is currently an Honorary Research Fellow, and by whom he was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate.
In 1996 and 1998, Iain was musical director and arranger for the national tours of Jimmy Chi’s multi award winning Corrugation Road, and his involvement with indigenous musicians has continued through his collaborations with the Spinifex people of central Australia, initially on the theatre work Career Highlights of the Mamu, and subsequently with concert works in collaboration with WASO and Topology. Iain has worked as musical supervisor and arranger on many large scale multi artform events – from the Black Arm Band’s award-winning performances Hidden Republic, dirtsong and Seven Songs, to the opening event ‘Home’ for the 2016 Festival of Perth, directed by Nigel Jamieson and featuring Richard Walley, John Butler, Tim Minchin and The Waifs. He has co-created welcoming events for the 2007 Festival of Perth and 2010 Sydney Festival, collaborated with Steve Pigram, Mark Atkins and Richard Tognetti on the ACO’s multimedia presentation The Reef. His Artistic directorship of the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival has been hailed for its innovation and energy, and he curated the Chamber Music Program for the 2018 Adelaide Festival to great critical and audience acclaim.
Iain’s concert works have been performed by the ACO, Brodsky String Quartet, Australian String Quartet, Australian Brass Quintet, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Sara Macliver, Craig Ogden and choirs and orchestras around Australia. Highlights include the Victorian Opera production of his opera The Riders, based on the Tim Winton novel with libretto by Alison Croggon, which had Michael Shmith writing in The Age “…an opera of rare dramatic power, utmost musicality and first-rate performances. “, Peter Burch in The Australian writing “.. a bewitching jewel of contemporary music theatre.” .and Peter Rose in the Australian Book Review writing “star of the night was Grandage’s radiant new score”. For the Centenary of ANZAC day in 2016, Iain conducted the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the critically and publically acclaimed world premiere performance of his oratorio Towards First Light, with text by Kate Mulvany after the words of Australian Servicemen and women. Gordon Forrester in Limelight wrote “Grandage shows us intimacy, vulnerability, inspiration, comfort and desolation in this exceptional piece, “ and Graeme Strahle in The Australian wrote “this was a memorable world premiere of a major new Australian work. Grandage conducted a polished Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with tremendous flair and energy.”
As music director, he has won Helpmann Awards for his work with Meow Meow on the Malthouse/Sydney Festival production Little Match Girl, and with the cast on Sydney Theatre Company’s The Secret River. He won Green Room Awards for his work with ANAM and Meow on Wunderschön, and with Meow and Malthouse on Vamp. He has conducted orchestras for the late Dr G Yunupingu, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan and Tim Minchin, and led the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Southbank for Meow Meow’s Pandemonium. He led a revival of Shane Warne The Musical for the 2013 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, and was music director and arranger for Opera Australia’s critically lauded new opera The Rabbits by Kate Miller-Heidke and Lally Katz. He regularly conducts and presents the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Education program.
His compositions for the theatre include Helpmann Award winning scores for Cloudstreet, The Secret River, When Time Stops and (in collaboration with Kate Miller-Heidke) The Rabbits, and Green Room Award winning scores for The Riders, Lawn, In the Next Room, Babes in the Wood, The Odyssey and The Blue Room for theatre companies including Belvoir, Black Swan, Malthouse, MTC and STC. His score for the Garin Nugroho silent film Satan Jawa, co-written with Rahayu Suppangah for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and gamelan musicians, received a Helpmann award for best score, as well as rave reviews from critics. It regularly tours internationally – most recently to Holland Festival and Singapore.