Andrew Ford (composer)

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Andrew Ford OAM (born 18 March 1957[1][2] in Liverpool) is an English-born Australian composer, writer and radio presenter.

Ford was composer-in-residence with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (1992–94), held the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Composer Fellowship from 1998 to 2000 and was awarded a two-year fellowship by the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts for 2005–2006. He was appointed composer-in-residence at the Australian National Academy of Music in 2009.

Beyond composing, Ford has been an academic in the Faculty of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong (1983–95). He has written widely on music and published seven books. He wrote, presented and co-produced the radio series Illegal Harmonies, Dots on the Landscape and Music and Fashion. Since 1995 he has presented The Music Show on ABC Radio National.

Ford studied at Lancaster University with Edward Cowie and John Buller.

Works (selected)[edit]

Music theatre[edit]

  • Poe, opera (1983)
  • Whispers for tenor and chamber orchestra (1990)
  • Casanova Confined for baritone and backing track (1995)
  • Night and Dreams: The Death of Sigmund Freud for tenor and backing track (1999)
  • Rembrandt's Wife, opera (2007–2009)


  • Concerto for Orchestra (1980)
  • The Big Parade (1986)
  • Manhattan Epiphanies for string orchestra (1999)
  • The Furry Dance (1999)
  • Scenes from Bruegel for chamber orchestra (2006)
  • Headlong (2006)
  • Symphony (2008)
  • Bright Shiners for string orchestra (2009)
  • Blitz for orchestra, (optional) chorus and pre-recorded voices (2011)


  • Piano Concerto: Imaginings (1991)
  • The Great Memory for cello and orchestra (1994)
  • The Unquiet Grave for viola and chamber orchestra (1997–1998)
  • Raga for electric guitar and orchestra (2015-2016)

Vocal and choral[edit]

  • A Martian Sends a Postcard Home for tenor, horn and piano (1986)
  • Wassails and Lullabies for SATB choir and percussion (1989), recorded by ABC Classics
  • Harbour for tenor and string orchestra (1992)
  • The Past for counter-tenor, flute and string orchestra (with ad lib didgeridoo) (1997), a setting of Oodgeroo Noonuccal's poem 'The Past' and excerpts from James Cook's ship's log
  • Learning to Howl for soprano, clarinet/sax, harp and percussion (2001)
  • Tales of the Supernatural for folk singer and string quartet (2002)
  • An die Musik for SATB choir (2005)
  • Elegy in a Country Graveyard for SATB choir, brass or concert band (flexible instrumentation) and pre-recorded voices and instruments (2007)
  • Domestic Advice for soprano and piano (2007)
  • A Singing Quilt for SATB choir, percussion ensemble and pre-recorded voices (2008)
  • Willow Songs: six poems of Anne Stevenson for soprano, mezzo-soprano and mixed ensemble (2009)
  • Waiting for the Barbarians for large chorus (2011), based on the poem by Constantine P. Cavafy
  • Last Words, song cycle for piano trio and soprano (2013 premiered by Anna Goldsworthy, Seraphim Trio, Jane Sheldon)[3]
  • The Drowners for baritone and chamber orchestra (2015)
  • Missa brevis for SATB choir and organ (2015)
  • Comeclose and Sleepnow for singer and jazz ensemble (2016), to words by Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough


  • Chamber Concerto No 3: In Constant Flight for solo violin and ensemble (1988)
  • Ringing the Changes for piccolo, bass clarinet and piano (1990)
  • Pastoral for string octet (1991)
  • Tattoo for 12 timpani (6 players) and 4 pianos (1998)
  • Icarus drowning (1998)
  • Chamber Concerto No 4 (2002)
  • Sad Jigs for string quintet (2005)
  • A Reel, a Fling and a Ghostly Galliard (String Quartet No 2) (2006)
  • Oma kodu for clarinet and string quartet (2006)
  • Nine Fantasies about Brahms for piano trio (2009)
  • On Winter's Traces for piccolo, bass clarinet, piano and string quartet (2009) for the 30th anniversary of the Australia Ensemble
  • The Rising (2010) for the Black Dyke Band
  • The Scattering of Light for piano quartet (2010) commissioned to mark the centenary of the University of Queensland
  • String Quartet No 3 (2012) for the Brodsky Quartet
  • String Quartet No 4 (2012) for the NOISE String Quartet
  • String Quartet No 5 (2013) for the Australian String Quartet
  • Uproar for 11 trombones and four bass drums (2013)
  • Common Ground for two string quartets (2014)
  • Contradance for 11 players (2015)


  • Like Icarus ascending for solo violin (1984)
  • Swansong for solo viola (1987)
  • Spinning for solo alto flute (1988)
  • The Very End of Harvest for viola and piano (2000)
  • The Waltz Book (60 one-minute waltzes for solo piano, 2002; commissioned by Ian Munro)
  • War and Peace for violin and percussion (2004)
  • Chorales from an Ox Life for viola and double bass (2007)
  • Folly for solo piano (2007)
  • You Must Sleep, but I Must Dance for viola and percussion (2010)
  • On Reflection for two pianos (2012)
  • Once upon a time there were two brothers...for flute and voice (2013)


  • Deirdre of the Sorrows (1989)
  • Elegy in a Country Graveyard (2007)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Ford's awards include the 2004 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize (for Learning to Howl), the 2003 Jean Bogan Prize (for The Waltz Book) and the 2012 Albert H. Maggs Composition Award for his work Rauha. His works Blitz and Willow Songs were both shortlisted for the 2013 Paul Lowin Prizes, Last Words was shortlisted for the 2016 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Prize,[4] and his radiophonic work Elegy in a Country Graveyard was shortlisted for the 2007 Prix Italia. He has also had nominations and awards in the Art Music Awards, formerly known as Classical Music Awards (for details see below).[5]

APRA Awards The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA).[6] They include the Art Music Awards (until 2009 Classical Music Awards) which are distributed by APRA and the Australian Music Centre (AMC).[7]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2004 Learning to Howl – Ford Best Composition by an Australian Composer[8] Won
2005 Tales of the Supernatural – Ford – Australian String Quartet, Jane Edwards Vocal or Choral Work of the Year[9] Won
2008 Ford Outstanding Contribution by an Individual[10] Nominated
2009 Learning to Howl – Ford – Arcko Symphonic Project Best Performance of an Australian Composition[11] Nominated
2011 A Dream of Drowning – Ford - West Australian Symphony Orchestra Work of the Year - Orchestral[12] Nominated
2013 Blitz – Ford - Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Work of the Year - Orchestral[13] Nominated
2014 Last Words – Ford - Jane Sheldon and the Seraphim Trio Work of the Year - Vocal/Choral[14] Won
2014 String Quartet No. 5 – Ford - Australian String Quartet Work of the Year - Instrumental[15] Nominated




  • Joyce Morgan: "A Composer's Subterranean Half-century", The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2007
  • Australian Music Centre database (works, articles, recordings, audio samples)
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, 4th edition (1996). New York: Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ Classics Online Archived 16 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 9 April 2015
  2. ^ Oxford Index. Retrieved 9 April 2015
  3. ^ Last Words, program notes and texts
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Classical Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Archived from the original on 28 September 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "2004 Winners – Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "2005 Winners – Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "2008 Finalists – Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "2009 Finalists – Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  12. ^ "Art Music Awards 2011 - finalists announced". Australian Music Centre (AMC). Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Art Music Awards 2013 - finalists announced". Australian Music Centre (AMC). Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "2014 Art Music Awards - winners". Australian Music Centre (AMC). Retrieved 7 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "2014 Art Music Awards - finalists". Australian Music Centre (AMC). Retrieved 7 March 2017. 

External links[edit]