Sculthorpe's birth notice
The Examiner (Launceston, 4 May 1929)
Score of Port Essington, cover
specially painted by Russell Drysdale
"One of the world's greatest living composers."
- Ivan Moody, Gramophone (July 2007)
"The most original sound to emerge from Australia since Nellie Melba and the first to show awareness of regional contexts; it established Sculthorpe as musical figurehead for the entire Pacific basin."
- Norman Lebrecht
THE internationally renowned Australian composer PETER SCULTHORPE celebrated his 80th birthday in 2009.
He was born in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, on 29 April 1929, and began composing at the start of 1938, after his first piano lesson, aged 9.
Sculthorpe first came to international attention with his Sonatina for Piano, composed 55 years ago in 1954, premiered at the 1955 ISCM Festival in Baden-Baden. The following year saw the first of his Irkanda series of evocations of the great Australian outback.
Since then, each decade of Sculthorpe's composing life has been distinguished by a succession of notable works published exclusively by Faber Music.
In his Thirties (1959-1969) His early masterworks, the strongly Australian identified Irkanda IV and the orchestral Sun Music series and in chamber music the String Quartet No 6.
Forties (1969-1979) The cross-culturally path-breaking String Quartet No 8 and Port Essington and the celebratory Love 200.
Fifties (1979-1989) Sculthorpe's composing fifties focused on our environmental future bounded by the orchestral masterworks Mangrove and Kakadu, framing Earth Cry, the Piano Concerto and the visionary opera Quiros.
Sixties (1989-1999) From the decade of his 60s came the guitar concerto Nourlangie, the String Quartet No 11 (Jabiru Dreaming), the admonitory orchestral Memento Mori and Great Sandy Island.
Seventies (1999-2009) In his 70s Sculthorpe composed his String Quartets Nos 15, 16 & 17 and the moving choral-and-orchestral Requiem.
And now into his Eighties . . .