Stuart Greenbaum

b. 1966

Australian

Summary

Stuart Greenbaum is Professor in Composition at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne where he was also Head of Composition between 2007 and 2023.

He has composed over 230 works including seven concertos, five symphonies, two operas, 25 sonatas, eight string quartets and five piano trios.

Greenbaum’s music is mature, confident and impactful. Known for haunting melodies, it is lyrical and contemporary yet with a strong link to the Western classical tradition.

“I hear music in time as a journey. Often this involves viewing our home planet Earth from a distance and considering our place in the universe. I gravitate toward remote and abandoned places on Earth or beyond as a metaphor.”

Stuart Greenbaum

There is an infectious jazz element to Greenbaum’s writing, which frequently includes unprepared descending modulations, providing an urgency and interest to the listener. His compositional style could sometimes be described as almost ordered improvisation.

“Melbourne composer Stuart Greenbaum’s chamber works, like all the best art, is in the world but not of the world.”
Will Yeoman, Limelight magazine

 

Sample Listening List

Biography

Stuart Greenbaum grew up in Melbourne, Australia. His mother was a trained classical pianist and taught music at Deakin University. His original influences when young were pop, rock and blues, before later becoming interested in jazz. Greenbaum went on to study composition with Brenton Broadstock and Barry Conyngham at the University of Melbourne. Greenbaum plays the piano, as well as the oboe and the electric guitar.

The merging of Greenbaum’s grounding in western classical compositional techniques, together with his earlier jazz and blues influences, has created an exquisite musical output characterised by good form, catchy motives and engaging ‘blue’ elements. Regularly programmed on classical radio stations and in live concerts, Greenbaum’s music is mature, confident and impactful. It is lyrical and contemporary yet with a strong link to the Western classical tradition.

There is an infectious jazz element to Greenbaum’s writing, which frequently includes unprepared descending modulations, providing an urgency and interest to the listener. His compositional style could sometimes be described as almost ordered improvisation.

“Melbourne composer Stuart Greenbaum’s chamber works, like all the best art, is in the world but not of the world.”
Will Yeoman, Limelight magazine

Greenbaum’s orchestral output includes works for the SSO, MSO, AYO, ACO and CSO. City Lights a Mile Up was commissioned by the Tasmanian Symphony orchestra and has been a major success for the HUSH Foundation and its series of recordings. Major chamber works have been written for The Australia Ensemble, Southern Cross Soloists, Omega Ensemble, Grigoryan Brothers, Ensemble Liaison, Ensemble Francaix and The Australian Ballet.

The early 1990s saw Greenbaum producing a number of pieces for stage, including a time as the resident composer at the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne. In 1993, as a young composer, he was commissioned to write Aaron Copland: In Memoriam, the first of a series of ten works commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation by young Australian composers.

Around the world, Greenbaum’s music is regularly programmed. Nelson, a 3–act opera with libretto by Ross Baglin, was presented in London in 2005 and premiered in full at the 2007 Castlemaine State Festival. Their second opera, The Parrot Factory, received a 5-show season in 2010 staged by Victorian Opera at The Malthouse. Major choral works include The Foundling (1997) and Brought to Light - Symphony No. 5 (2022), commissioned by Cantori New York. From the Beginning was commissioned for the sesquicentenary of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic in 2003 and The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs commissioned The Night that the Museum Burned for its 2022 season.

Currently in train, with 25 works already completed, is Greenbaum’s Sonata Project. He aims to create a substantial recital work for all major orchestral instruments, contributing new repertoire for professional and emerging artists. Most are accompanied by piano, though some are unaccompanied.

Greenbaum was a Featured Composer at the 2006 Aurora Festival, resident composer at the 2009 Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and Composer in Focus at the 2009 Bangalow Music Festival. In 2009 he was Australia's representative for the Trans-Tasman Composer Exchange, working in Auckland with NZTrio on a new piano trio, The Year Without a Summer, which toured nationally for Chamber Music New Zealand, in Sydney for the ISCM World New Music Days (2010) and internationally at the City of London Festival (2011). He was Featured Composer with the Flinders Quartet in 2016 and Resident Composer with MYO in 2019. He was a Resident Fellow at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan in 2019 and again in 2023, and Composer in Residence at the Visby International Centre for Composers in Sweden in 2020.

Prizes include the Dorian Le Galliene Composition Award, the Heinz Harant Prize, and the Albert H. Maggs Composition Award. His work 90 Minutes Circling the Earth was named Orchestral Work of the Year at the 2008 Classical Music Awards.

Greenbaum currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife, a violinist. He is Professor in Composition at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne where he was also Head of Composition between 2007 and 2023.

“Greenbaum’s music; there's real poetry in it.”

Andrew Ford, 24 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

News

Performances

23rd June 2024

PERFORMERS
Ensemble Offspring; The Song Company
CONDUCTOR
Roland Peelman
LOCATION
City Recital Hall, Sydney, Australia

Photos

Discography