WELCOME This is the artist website for Australian/British composer David Holyoake.
Here you will find an introduction to his concert music, as well as genre music for theatre,
film and contemporary dance.
REVIEWS “The City Will Crumble is the kind of show that needs to exist, different, thought provoking and musically arresting.”
- Mark Wogan, Upcoming, review of The City Will Crumble - “...A subtle and spacious work by David Holyoake...”
- Joanna Selleck, Melbourne Composers League, review of Sambhala for cellos - “A harrowing and interesting soundtrack by David Holyoake“
- Mark Wogan, Upcoming, review of The City Will Crumble - BACKGROUND & EDUCATION David is a composer originally from Melbourne Australia, and now dividing his time between Brussels and London. He is represented as an Associate Artist with the Australian Music Centre and some of his scores are published by Reed Music. David is passionate about art music as deep language, and as a source of spiritual connection or social or personal transformation. His music searches for and makes use of contemporary and new techniques to widen his musical vocabulary, yet he often reacts against the ongoing fashion for atonality and excessive dissonance within contemporary classical music.
David is also one of the few contemporary classical composers interested in contemporary music as activism. For him, the multiple environmental crises, and the urgent need to find alternatives to the dehumanizing dilemma of endless economic growth should present artists with a social mission and call to arms. In the mainstream, cotemporary classical music continues to be perceived as elitist at best and irrelevant at worst. Historically, the avant garde have often been at the vanguard of big shifts in society and morality. We urgently need to revive art-ivism in coordinated ways.
Voluminous psychological literature demonstrates that humans make most decisions NOT on the basis of rational or intellectual thought but according to emotional and unconscious drivers. Music has the ability to engage directly with this black ocean. Existential issues like climate change demand an emotive cultural response as well as a search for a new aesthetics.
David’s latest commissions have combined multimedia or electronics. Extinct Birds, commissioned by Ensemble Matisse in 2013, was a half hour chamber work including live and digitally enhanced recordings of extinct and endangered song birds. David’s music has appeared on Move Records label and some is available on spotify and i-tunes.
AWARDS, AFFILIATIONS and COLLABORATIONS: David holds degrees in Creative Arts and Law from the University of Melbourne, as well as qualifications from the Australian Music Examinations Board. In 2006 David won second prize for piano composition at the Keys Australian Music Competition, as well as the encouragement award for advanced composition.
He has been awarded public arts grants on several occasions in Australia and from the Arts Council of England.
David is a member of the Melbourne Composers league and has had works performed at several of their concerts. He has been fortunate to collaborate with several outstanding musicians including sound curators from the National Gallery of Victoria, Silo String Quartet, Ensemble Matisse, members of ensemble Musiques Nouvelles (Belgium.) He has also worked with artists from other disciplines including contemporary dance.
In 2012 he received a commission from London based dance-theatre company Nyctolopic to compose and record and original soundtrack for ‘the City Will Crumble’ supported by the Arts Council of England and the Norwegian Embassy. This was a new physical theatre work inspired by the philosophy and aesthetic of film noir. He has also worked with Gerard Van Dyke, choreographer of Kage Physical Theatre.
INFLUENCES AND THOUGHTS ON MUSIC: Key influences and admiration include the sound worlds of Kaija Saariaho, George Crumb, Toru Takemitsu, Arvo Part for lofty power and wisdom, Rachmaninoff for irrepressible dark. Gypsy Flamenco for ‘duende’ and the ability to summon the scream of dead generations, music from Sufi and Indian traditions.
In the future, I’m interested in finding ways in the future to revive music as instructive ritual. While I work quite a bit in the ‘art music’ genre, I remain anti elitist and anti-intellectualism in art, the irrational is the great well spring of creativity, and is usually the quickest and deepest route to touching or changing people. Regarding the irrational and the ability of music to summon all of its manifestations, I would still rate Frederico Garcia Lorca’s ‘theory and play of the duende’ essay as an amazing and non-exhaustible source of inspirations.