Nigel Westlake

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Nigel Westlake (born 6 September 1958) is an Australian composer, performer and conductor.

Biography[edit]

Westlake was born in Perth, Western Australia to clarinettist Donald Westlake. He attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, but left the school early to pursue a professional career in music, studying clarinet with his father. Eventually, he studied at the Australian Film and Television School under William Motzing. In the early years of his career he was a freelance performer and composer, playing throughout Australia and in parts of Europe in recording sessions, chamber music concerts, theatre and ballet performances, as well as tours. 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 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation 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, 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.

Career highlights[edit]

  • 1978: first professional orchestral recording was Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, playing bass clarinet with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under conductor Willem van Otterloo.
  • 1979: Toured to China with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Received Australia Council Grant to form Magic Puddin' Band (a 7 piece instrumental fusion band) to perform original compositions.
  • 1980: Toured to Canada with Flying Fruit Fly Circus band.
  • 1982: Studied Film Music at Australian Film and Television School with Bill Motzing.
  • 1983: Studied Bass Clarinet In Netherlands with Harry Sparnaay and composition with Theo Leovendie.
  • 1983: First film score commission for a documentary for Film Australia.
  • 1984: Composed "Omphalo Centric Lecture" -initially for bass clarinet and 2 percussionist, but later developed for 4 percussion. It is one of the most frequently performed works in the percussion repertoire. 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".
  • 1985: Won Jazz Action Society Composition Competition.
  • 1986: Joined "Australia Ensemble", a mixed chamber septet, resident at the University of New South Wales. With this group he toured as a soloist to China, Europe, UK, USA, Russia, India, New Zealand, Japan and throughout Australia.
  • 1987: Composer in Residence for ABC Radio. Composed "Fabian Theory" for percussion and digital delay, and "Moving Air" for percussion quartet.
  • 1988: Won Gold Medal at New York International Radio Festival.
  • 1990: Wrote "Malachite Glass" for Percussion Quartet & bass Clarinet, and co-wrote the score for the 4-part documentary "Roads to Xanadu".
  • 1991: Commissioned to write the score for the Imax feature film Antarctica.
  • 1992: APRA music award for best Contemporary Classical Composition. Re-worked Antarctica film score into an Orchestral Suite for Guitar & Orchestra - commissioned for John Williams and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the ABC's 60th anniversary.
  • 1992: Invited to join guitarist John Williams group "Attacca" for tours of UK & Australia.
  • 1993: Commissioned to write the film score of Imagine, one of the very first 3D Imax movies to be made. Received an Australia Council Grant to study composition with Richard Meale and conducting with Richard Mills.
  • 1994: Wrote "Songs from the Forest" for 2 guitars.
  • 1995: Commissioned to write the score for "Celluloid Heroes" - a 4-part documentary in celebration of 100 years of Australian Cinema.
  • 1995: Commissioned to write the feature film score for Babe, which won the Golden Globe award for "Best film - Musical/Comedy" in 1996.
  • 1996: APRA music award for Best Film Score for Babe.[1] Wrote "The Invisible Men" for percussion quartet and silent movie; " Invocations" for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra.
  • 1997: commissioned to write film score Babe: Pig in the City.
  • 1998: commissioned to write film score for A Little Bit of Soul.
  • 2000: Commissioned to write Imax feature film score "Solarmax" ; Also commissioned to write Piano Concerto for Michael Kieran Harvey & the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, & "Oscillations" for 2 pianos
  • 2001: Commissioned to write feature film score "The Nuggett", & telemovie Stepfather of the Bride
  • 2002: Commissioned to write Piano Trio for Macquarie Trio.
  • 2003: Commissioned to write "Six Fish" for guitar quartet.
  • 2004: Appointed "H. C. Coombs Creative Fellow" at Australian National University. Commissioned by Sydney Symphony Orchestra to compose a Percussion Concerto.
  • 2006: Relocated to UK to write film score for feature film Miss Potter. Percussion concerto premiered by Rebecca Lagos with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2007: Commissioned to write "Rare Sugar" clarinet concertino.
  • 2008: Formed "Smugglers of Light Foundation".
  • 2008: Sailed the East Coast of Australia.
  • 2011: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra premiered "Missa Solis- Requiem for Eli" at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.
  • 2012: Received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of NSW

Awards and nominations[edit]

APRA-AMC Classical Music Awards[edit]

The APRA-AMC Classical Music Awards are presented annually by Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and Australian Music Centre (AMC).[2]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2005 Piano ConcertoMichael Kieran Harvey Best Performance of an Australian Composition[3] Nominated
Six FishSaffire Guitar Quartet Instrumental Work of the Year[4] Won
Crystal SpheresSolarmax film orchestra Orchestral Work of the Year[3] Nominated
2007 When the Clock Strikes Me - Rebecca Lagos (soloist), Sydney Symphony Best Performance of an Australian Composition[5] Won
2008 Rare Sugar - The Australia Ensemble and Catherine McCorkill (clarinetist) Best Performance of an Australian Composition[6] Won
Glass Soldier SuiteMelbourne Symphony Orchestra, Geoffrey Payne (cornet), Jean-Louis Forestier (conductor) Orchestral Work of the Year[7] Nominated

APRA-AGSC Screen Music Awards[edit]

The annual APRA-AGSC Screen Music Awards are presented by APRA and Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) for television and film scores and soundtracks.[8]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2005 Hell Has Harbour Views Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie[9] Won
2007 Miss Potter Feature Film Score of the Year[10] Won
Best Soundtrack Album[10] Won
Stepfather of the Bride Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie[10] Won

Other[edit]

  • 2012: Winner Art Music Awards / Orchestral Work of the Year / Missa Solis - Requiem for Eli
  • 2012: Honorary Doctor of Music (honoris causa) awarded by the University of New South Wales
  • 2011: Winner Limelight 2011 Awards / Best New Composition / Missa Solis - Requiem for Eli
  • 2007: Winner APRA/AGSC Award / Feature Film Score of the Year / Miss Potter
  • 2007: Winner APRA/AGSC Award / Best Soundtrack Album / Miss Potter
  • 2007: Winner / APRA/AGSC Award / Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie / Stepfather of the Bride
  • 2007: Nomination / World Soundtrack Awards / "When you Taught me How to Dance" from Miss Potter / Best Original Song Written Directly for a Film
  • 2007: Nomination / International Film Music Critics Association / Best Original Score for a Comedy film Miss Potter
  • 2005: Winner APRA/AGSC Award / Best Music for a Mini-Series or Telemovie / Hell Has Harbour Views
  • 2005: Winner APRA / AMC Awards / Instrumental work of the year / Six Fish
  • 2003: Winner AGSC/ APRA Awards / Best Feature Film score / The Nugget
  • 2003: Nomination / AGSC/ APRA Awards / Best film score / Horseplay
  • 2002: - Nomination for / Sounds Australian / APRA Awards / Urban Myths
  • 2001: Winner / A.G.S.C. APRA Award / Best music for a soundtrack / Solarmax
  • 1998: Winner / A.G.S.C. Award / Best Original Music / A Little Bit of Soul
  • 1998: Winner / Jean Bogan Memorial Prize for piano composition / Piano Sonata No. 1
  • 1998: Winner / APRA Music Award / Most Performed Classical Work / The Edge[11][12]
  • 1997: Highly commended / Paul Lowin Orchestral Award / Invocations
  • 1997: Winner / Film Critics Circle of Australia Award / Best Original Music / Children of the Revolution
  • 1997: Winner / Film Critics Circle of Australia Award / Best Original Music /Babe
  • 1996: Winner / AGSC Award / Best Original Music / Children of the Revolution
  • 1996: Winner / AGSC / APRA Award / Best Soundtrack Album / The Edge
  • 1996: Winner / APRA Music A / Best Film Score / Babe
  • 1996: Nomination / AFI Awards / Best Original Music / Children of the Revolution
  • 1995: Winner / AGSC /Best Music / The Celluloid Heroes
  • 1993: Nomination / ARIA Awards / Best Film Soundtrack / Antarctica
  • 1992: Winner / APRA Awards / Contemporary Classical Composition of the Year
  • 1992: 2 Nominations / APRA Award / Contemporary Classical Composition of the Year
  • 1990: Nomination / APRA Awards / Most Performed Serious Work
  • 1989: Nomination / APRA Awards / Most Performed Serious Work
  • 1988: Gold Medal / Best Original Music / New York International Radio Festival.
  • 1986: Selected as entrant for the Paris Rostrum.
  • 1985: 1st prize Jazz Action Society Composition Competition
  • 1984: 3rd prize Jazz Action Society Composition Competition.

Filmography[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Westlake is married to Jan Loquet Westlake, and together, they had two sons, Joel (born 17 October 1983) and Eli (born 22 July 1986). Eli died on 7 June 2008 in a road rage accident, a few weeks before his 22nd birthday.[13]

Westlake composed Missa Solis - Requiem for Eli and dedicated it to Eli. It was premiered by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Myer Music Bowl in February 2011.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1996 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2018. 
  2. ^ "Classical Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "2005 Finalists - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "2005 Winners - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  5. ^ "2007 Winners - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "2008 Winners - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  7. ^ "2008 Finalists - Classical Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "Screen Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "2005 Winners - Screen Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 17 May 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c "2007 Winners - Screen Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Nominations – 1998". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2018. 
  12. ^ "1998 Winners - APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 18 September 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2018. 
  13. ^ Mitternacht, Manuel; Kidman, John (8 June 2008). "Footpath fracas ends in tragedy". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "Composer Nigel Westlake's requiem for murdered son". The Australian. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2012. 

External links[edit]