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.


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 -


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 holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne as well as qualifications in piano performance and music theory from the Australian Music Examinations Board.

He 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 artistic avantgarde have often been at the forefront of big shifts in society and morality.

We seem to have lost this in our era, and this is a problem. Voluminous psychological studies 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 has been the recipient of numerous arts grants awards including from Arts Council of England, Victoria Rocks, and the Ministry of Culture, Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles, Belgium. Before leaving Australia he won second prize for piano composition at the Keys Australian Music Competition, as well as the encouragement award for advanced composition.
His concert works have been performed at venues such as the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The Ian Potter Centre Melbourne (as part of the National Gallery’s first ever sound-only exhibition Now Hear This) the Brisbane Convention Centre, the Royal Academy of Music London, Fairfields Hall London, Rich Mix London, Beursshouberg Brussels, and broadcast on ABC Classic FM and other media.
Holyoake has also been commissioned to compose music in various genres for professional and amateur theatrical productions, for contemporary dance, and for television. David is a member of the Melbourne Composers league and has had works performed at several of their concerts. His recent work involves multimedia or digital sound juxtaposed against live chamber music.

In this vein, he was commissioned by Ensemble Matisse to composer a half hour work called Extinct Birds involving digitally enhanced sound recordings of now extinct song birds interacting with live chamber music. And more recently, he was commissioned by Trio Metafora, members of Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles in Bruxelles, to compose The Message of the Hurricanes, with projected animation, collaborating with emerging animator, Leah Dahan, performed at the Echternach international festival for classical music.

In 2016-2017, Holyoake spent six months as composer in residence at Atelier Marcel Hastir in Brussels, a leading and historical cultural centre.
During that time, he engaged with the historical archives of its recently deceased founder, artist and great humanitarian Marcel Hastir, who bravely helped save many Jews during the Nazi occupation of Belgium. The resulting work was premiered at the venue in May 2017 by acclaimed violinist Daniel Rubenstein from Ensemble Mendelssohn and composer David Holyoake at the piano, with grant support from the Contemporary Music Council and the Ministry of Culture.


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.

David's webpage at the Australian Music Page

Memory of a Mensch: Concert with Ensemble Mendelssohn

13 May 2017, Atelier Marcel Hastir, Brussels.

This special concert will premiere David Holyoake´s latest work, Memory of a Mensch resulting from his residency at Atelier Marcel Hastir. Performed by violinist Daniel Rubenstein with David on piano, the concert will also feature Ensemble Mendelsohhn with guest artists Eliane Reyes and Jean-Marc Fessard and a new work by Israeli composer Anna Segal.

Tix and details: Click Here



piano lessons piano lessons

David brings over 10 years of experience as teacher of piano and music theory. He blends a variety of proven methods, and aims to tailor the learning pathway to the strengths, goals and personality of each student. His teaching focusses on developing well-rounded musicianship, an understanding of classical music as deep language, and training a powerful and sensitive technique. All ages are welcome, specialising in adult beginners. Lessons are given in English, and you or your child can learn purely for pleasure, or take the option to obtain certificates by enrolling in an ABRSM exam, which can be sat in English language. Believing that everyone should have access to study music regardless of income, discounts are provided for the unemployed, the elderly and others experiencing hardship. Beyond the joy of music, learning an instrument brings a multitude of well known benefits, including stress reduction, improved self-awareness, cognition, and, neuroscientists have discovered, improved ability to accurately perceive subtle emotions in the speech of others. In addition to regular classes, workshops in music appreciation, and introduction to composing or improvising are also available. Contact David for further details or to arrange a trial class.


Currently accepting work and commissions.
Email: david.holyoake@gmail.com


Some scores and parts available for sale or hire from the Australian Music Centre:


Background Photos by: Isabelle Françaix ©