David Ahern

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David Ahern
Born (1947-11-02)2 November 1947
Died 31 January 1988(1988-01-31) (aged 40)
Nationality Australian
Occupation Composer and music critic
Notable work Ned Kelly Music
Style Avant-garde

David Anthony Ahern (2 November 1947 – 31 January 1988) was an Australian composer and music critic, who became a prominent artist in the avant-garde genre after his best-known work, Ned Kelly Music was released and performed at the Sydney Proms music series.[1]

Born and raised in Sydney, Ahern decided to become a composer in his mid-teens, and studied composition under Nigel Butterley and Richard Meale. His first performed work, After Mallarmé, was recorded by the South Australian Symphony Orchestra and was submitted to the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. He travelled in Europe in the 1960s, studying under Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany and Cornelius Cardew in London.[1]

In 1970, Ahern returned to Australia where, influenced by the Scratch Orchestra co-founded by Cardew, he formed the AZ Music ensemble at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, which included such composers and performers as Roger Frampton.[2]


  1. ^ a b David Ahern (1947–1988): Represented Artist, Australian Music Centre.
  2. ^ Barnard, Geoffrey (1989). "AZ it was". NMA 7. Retrieved 4 April 2011.