As an Australian with Celtic heritage,
much of Deane-Johns’ music is influenced
by the traditional music of his ancestors,
and by his experience of the vastness and isolation of the Australian continent.
One of Australia’s outstanding up-and-coming orchestral composers, Ben Deane-Johns has written music for film, theatre and dance. Born in Melbourne in 1971, he holds a Bachelor of Music from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Graduate Diploma in composition from Melbourne University. An experienced performer as Singer, Trumpet Player, Pianist and Bandleader, he has also done much arrangement and production for other artists. Deane-Johns’s music draws on his family’s Celtic heritage, as well as Contemporary Orchestral, Jazz, Dance and Film Music influences. The evolution of folk tune material in his work was initially subconscious, with the Australian pianist Michael Kieran Harvey first drawing attention to the evocative nature of the harmonies in his Solo Piano work Ode to the God of Fire, and their suggestions of Celtic traditions.
Deane-Johns has released seven albums of his material: No Time at All ~ The Collection (2020), a Stars of March song project entitled Don’t Be Afraid (2019), the second album from Captain Darling entitled Rights of Man (2019), a Chamber Music CD entitled The River – Music for an Exhibition (2017), an album of Celtic songs and pieces from Captain Darling entitled Carry me Home (2005), a collection of original songs by Taliesin entitled The Sea Sessions (2000) and Ode to the God of Fire, an album of contemporary orchestral music (1998). The title track from this album was performed and recorded by Michael Kieran Harvey at the 1997 Melbourne International Festival. The pieces Shining Brow (for solo Uilleann pipes), Song for Chloe, The Prayer and Gwydion (written in Cornish) from The Sea Sessions album have been published by Boa Records (Zamie Songs) of Canada.
Deane-Johns’s first piece for full orchestra, The Mirror Pool, was premiered by the Queensland Youth Orchestra in September 2003, with a reduced version of the piece presented by Ensemble Rosario of Argentina in April 2003. This piece was a finalist in the 2002 MusOz Challenge (Best Classical Piece), with Ode to the God of Fire a finalist in the same category in 2001.
Deane-Johns has written scores for the plays Wrongful Life (2005) and Renaissance (2006) (written by Ron Elisha), both directed by Dave Letch and performed at Chapel off Chapel and the Old Fitzroy Theatre respectively. 2007 saw the premiere of The Full-Rigged Ship, performed by the Sydney Sinfonia (conducted by Richard Gill) as part of the Discovery Series at the City Recital Hall, in addition to the composition of original music for the fantasy/adventure feature film Wishbone. 2009 saw the completed commission from Ivanhoe Grammar of a new work for full orchestra, entitled Reaching the Shore.
Deane-Johns has ten film and television credits, and continues to be involved in collaborative work. In 2013, he composed and recorded a requiem for his grandparents. 2014 saw the composition and recording of The River, Music for an Exhibition. 2015 saw the composition of his First Symphony and 2016 saw the release of the CD The River, Music for an Exhibition. 2017 saw the success of The River exhibition at Montsalvat and the composition of a score for the short film Wednesday (directed by Dave Letch) . 2018 saw the composition of a Concerto for Trumpet and Winds for Anthony Pope (soloist) and the Heidelberg Wind Ensemble. 2019 saw a new recording from Captain Darling, the premiere of his Trumpet Concerto, the recording of Don’t Be Afraid from Stars of March (songwriting project), and a series of new recordings ahead of the release of his Collected Works (No Time at All) through Move Records in 2021. In 2020 the composer’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak was to compose Fear and Distance (Cello and Chamber Strings), supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants. In 2021 the composer completed his second of three COVID-related pieces for Strings with the String Orchestra piece entitled The Second Wave. Inventions in Modality 21 (A suite of Solo Piano pieces) was also completed in 2021, whilst his triumvirate of COVID-related pieces for Strings was finalised in 2022 with the composition of This Darkening Sky for Solo Cello and String Orchestra.
PROGRAM NOTES “Espagnol” 2nd movement of “Trumpet Concerto“
The 2nd Movement mainly uses the resources of the Solo Trumpet and Piano, with the extensive use of the 2:3 and 4:3 polyrhythms. Written in a Spanish style, it showcases the rich, expressive, open sound of the solo instrument, particularly in the middle and lower registers.
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