Angus Davison

BIOGRAPHY

Angus Davison is an Australian composer based in Sydney. Sometimes delicate and fragmentary, sometimes exuberant and dynamic, Angus’ music has been described by The Mercury as demonstrating “considerable poignancy” and by Cut Common as revealing “a respect for sound in itself”.

Angus studied with Don Kay in Tasmania, then with Michael Smetanin at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he attained First Class Honours in 2016. His compositions have been performed and commissioned by leading ensembles including the Ady Ensemble, Huon String Quartet, Elanee Ensemble, Michael Lampard, Musica North, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. His awards include an Honours Scholarship from the University of Sydney, the Don Kay Scholarship for Music Composition from the University of Tasmania, a Highly Commended in the 2016 Jean Bogan Youth Prize, and first place in the 2011 TSO Student Composition Competition.

From 2013-15, Angus co-founded and directed new music ensemble Note-Aurius. In this capacity, he curated numerous concerts of Australian music and commissioned over a dozen new works by Australian composers for the ensemble. He currently performs as part of improvisation collective Ensemble Onsombl.


Composer website:  http://angusdavison.com/


FEATURED WORKS

Karst Music, for electronics.

The term karst describes landscapes that are formed by the dissolution of stone by water. In the resulting architectures, the flow of water and the solidity of rock shape the other. Many people will be familiar with the way rock formations in caves often appear fluid, as if frozen in the process of melting. Karst Music is similarly a landscape of ‘sound objects’ that are simultaneously solid and liquid.

Featured in Ambient Waves, October 2017


Fantasia on a Webern Row, for Triple Winds, Brass, and Percussion.

I compose with three scores sitting on my desk. Each is by a composer I admire, and having them there motivates me. One of the scores is by Anton Webern, an Austrian whose music from the early 20th century influenced a generation of composers. In Fantasia on a Webern Row I draw on the tone row from Anton Webern’s Symphony, using it as a thread with which to weave my own music. The opening minutes of Fantasia are spare and stripped back. Often only a single instrument plays. Richer sonorities soon emerge, but these function less as ‘chords’ and more as ‘sound masses’ in which instrumental timbres swim in and out of focus like colours on the surface of a deep and gently undulating lake. This swelling effect is even more pronounced at the climax of the work, where tutti sonorities come in vast waves, surging and receding and surging again. In the closing moments of the work, only specks of sound remain.
“An absorbing multi textured piece, with a clearly defined and satisfying sense of structure and line” – The Mercury, ‘Davison’s New Work Shines’, 22/2/17

Featured in Fragile Waves, June 2018