8th August 2015

Rabbits @ the Melbourne Festival


The Rabbits, a show I helped the brilliant Kate Miller-Heidke compose the music for, has won four Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score and Best New Australian Work.


It’s an adaption of the Shaun Tan and John Marsden book of the same name and premiered at the Perth Festival in February this year.

Bookings are now open for the Melbourne Festival season. It sold out in Perth – get in quick.

8th August 2015

Dances with Devils Premieres and broadcast

Claire Edwardes

My Percussion Concerto Dances with Devils, written for long time collaborator Claire Edwardes had its premiere last month with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Benjamin Northey and then the following week with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Carter.

The reaction has been extraordinary. Audiences gave it standing ovations after every performance, and critics and players alike have been wildly enthusiastic in their praise. I was thrilled by the commitment and energy of all the performers involved – it’s a privilege to have one’s music played by such fine musicians.

You can hear it next Wednesday on ABC ClassicFM with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

And here are some reviews…

“★★★★★ In Claire Edwardes’ hands, Iain Grandage’s eclectic, new percussion concerto is spectacular. “  “Internationally acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra joined forces to present a spectacular concert that was a testament to their calibre and stamina. Australian composer Iain Grandage’s thrilling new percussion concerto, Dances with Devils, was… the highlight of the afternoon concert” Delia Bartle, Limelight Magazine 27th July 2015

Full Review here :

“As a collaboration between percussionist Claire Edwardes and composer Iain Grandage, the four-movement work Dances with Devils took Australian gothic stories and depicted them in vividly dynamic ways, utilising an eclectic collection of instruments and effects, including slowly dipping tubular bells into water. Edwardes’ virtuosity combined with Grandage’s clever writing made for a particularly enjoyable aural feast.” Joel Carnegie , Sydney Morning Herald. July 19, 2015

Full Review here :  



27th April 2015

Towards First Light Premiere

Towards First Light Performance 1


It was my great privilege last week to conduct the premiere of a new work that I wrote with dear friend and playwright Kate Mulvany titled Towards First Light. The combined forces of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Elder Conservatorium Chorale with soloists Taryn Fiebig and Jud Arthur were exceptional in their commitment to the work, and it was a thrill to help them pay homage to War Veterans past and present.


You can listen to it for another three weeks or so by following the links on this page here

And here are some reviews


“Grandage shows us intimacy, vulnerability, inspiration, comfort and desolation in this exceptional piece… …Towards First Light is a majestic and noble memorial in the grand tradition of great orchestral choral music, and a glorious and fitting of work of Remembrance.”  Gordon Forester, Limelight Magazine 24th April 2015


Full Review here:


“Another attempt at myth-building around the Anzac legend may be cause for scepticism, but Iain Grandage’s Towards First Light is a powerful work, noble in spirit, that in its direct honesty sweeps aside any such concern.”

“… this was a memorable world premiere of a major new Australian work. Grandage conducted a polished Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with tremendous flair and energy.” Graham Strahle, The Australian 24th April 2015


Full Review here: [behind paywall]

2nd October 2014

The Riders Reviews


The critical and audiences responses to The Riders has been extraordinary and, with the season sold out, I can’t thank all those involved enough. Here are some of the reviews, with links.


“…an opera of rare dramatic power, utmost musicality and first-rate performances. “ Michael Shmith, The Age 24/9/2014 Full Review here

“.. a bewitching jewel of contemporary music theatre.” Peter Burch The Australian 25/9/2014 Full Review here

“The real star of the night was Grandage’s radiant new score” Peter Rose Australian Book Review 24/9/2014 Full Review here

“…a compelling and beautifully sung new work by a talented team.” Kate Herbert Herald Sun 26/9/14 Full Review here

“…the music has an immediate beauty and power, strongly supporting the dramatic action and the inherent emotional beats of the story. Simon Parris Man in Chair 24/9/14 Full Review here

“Grandage’s music, his first opera, is a concoction of musical style that colours the visual and dramatic landscape throughout, often with supernatural awe. Folk, cabaret, Mediterranean vernacular and oratorio are employed with expressive force, accompanied by exceptional vocal structures.” Paul Selar. Bachtrack 26/9/2014 Full Review here

“Ian (sic) Grandage’s score, tightly conducted by VO artistic director Richard Mills, beautifully echoes her trill. His music is attentive, elusive in melody as we’ve come to expect from contemporary opera but vivid and distinctly Australian.” Jason Whittaker Daily Review Full Review here

“The Riders is an exciting and important new piece of Australian opera and theatre. It’s grand and intimate..” Anne-Marie Peard Aussie Theatre 27/9/2014 Full Review here


21st September 2014

The Riders Premiere

A year of my creative life finally takes flight on Tuesday 23rd September, with the premiere of my first opera The Riders.

The cast, led by the superlative Barry Ryan, have been a wonder to work with, as have the creative team and all those at the commissioning company Victorian Opera and their co-presenters at Malthouse Theatre. Tickets are almost all sold out,and the performances run on the following dates in the Merlyn Theatre at The Coopers Malthouse. All shows at 7.30pm.

Performance # 1 – Tuesday 23 September 2014
Performance # 2 – Thursday 25 September 2014
Performance # 3 – Friday 26 September 2014
Performance # 4 – Saturday 27 September 2014
Performance # 5 – Tuesday 30 September 2014
Performance # 6 – Wednesday 1 October 2014
Performance # 7 – Friday 3 October 2014
Performance # 8 – Saturday 4 October 2014

Needless to say, I’m unspeakably excited.

21st September 2014

Awards Season


With great joy, I accepted a Helpmann Award for Best Musical Score for my work on the Expressions Dance Show When Time Stops

It of course belongs to that amazing group The Camerata of St John’s who memorized swathes of my music, and performed it amidst leaping dancers. I’ve never felt more supported by any group of musicians ever.

In good news, they received their own recognition at the APRA Art Music Awards, receiving the Queensland State Award. At those same awards, Cath Crock was recognised with the Award for Excellence by an Individual for her work with the Hush Foundation, commissioners of much fine music, one tiny part of which is my work Suspended on the Hush 13 CD.


8th October 2013

Gurrumul at the Melbourne Festival


This Saturday night, the 12th October, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu will present a series of his songs for the Melbourne Festival in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. He will be joined onstage by Sarah Blasko as well as his long time musical collaborator Michael Hohnen, a 4 piece band and 30 piece orchestra, conducted by me.

It is an immense privilege to share the stage with one of Australia’s great singers – he carries another world in his voice, singing songs of tremendous beauty and truth. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

You can visit his website here, or for tickets to this concert, visit the Melbourne Festival website here.

25th September 2013

The Turning


Tomorrow, September 26, the movie of Tim Winton’s ‘The Turning’ is released in cinemas nationally.
It is an omnibus film with 17 different directors and a multitude of Australia’s finest actors and creatives involved, all wrangled by Robert Connolly.
It was a thrill to contribute the score to Tony Ayres’ chapter, titled ‘Cockleshell’.

The Turning

You can visit the website for the film here to book tickets, or to see more details.

11th September 2013

When Time Stops – Expressions Dance Company


Last Friday, a new work titled When Time Stops was premiered in Brisbane by Expressions Dance Company. I’ve had a brilliant time collaborating with that company, their choreographer Natalie Weir and the remarkable Camerata of St John’s, who perform my score live on stage. It’s been getting some great reviews, which you can read here, here, here and here. Only on for three more days.

Thur 12 September 11.30am*

Fri 13 September 7.30pm

Sat 14 September 7.30pm

14th August 2013

2013 Helpmann Awards


Well, who’d have guessed that? I am the happy recipient of not one but two 2013 Helpmann Awards for my work on the STC show ‘Secret River’.

The awards were for Best Musical Direction and Best Original Score.

‘Secret River’ also picked up awards for Best Play, Best New Australian Work, Best Direction of a Play for Neil Armfield and Best Supporting Actor in a Play for Colin Moody.

The Helpmann Awards “recognize distinguished artistic achievement and excellence across the major disciplines of Australia’s live performance industry.” The full list of winners can be seen here.

The ceremony was held on the 29th July in the Sydney Opera House, presented by my old friend and colleague Eddie Perfect and new friend and colleague Christie Whelan-Browne. Which is all well and good, but I wasn’t there sharing the fun with them – I was with my dear family in Germany, and sent acceptance speeches by video.

These awards belong to every member of the Secret River family, and I can’t wait to chop the statuettes up into the dozens of pieces required to disperse amongst the deserving many.