Curriculum Vitae

Colin Bright has been awarded a 2-year Fellowship (2002-2003) by the Music Board of the Australia Council. The amount of the Fellowship is $40,000 per annum.

He has previously received Composers Fellowship (1980) and an International Fellowship from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council, as well as numerous commissions from Australia's leading ensembles. His music has been performed and broadcast in 27 countries throughout the world. He writes: -

'The major influence on my musical thinking is: -

PSYCHE OF PLACE - landscape, space, sun, etc.
'There is nothing nationalistic in my music. It is about being aware of PLACE - where you live and how you fit. Even if you live in the city, the vast space of the interior is a part of one's psyche, as much as the surf and the ocean are an everpresent reality. That is, unless your 'body' is here and your 'head' is in Europe or somewhere else.

For some years I have been interested in Australian Aboriginal music. The origins of this were a social awareness that Australian Aboriginals had little say in controlling their own destinies (too many decisions being made by whites) and that black culture and attitudes had not impinged greatly on white thinking even after 200 years. The ignominy of this being that such a two-way flow between cultures could only have enriched both cultures and created a closer understanding of each other.

As a musician it seemed to me that there were aspects of Australian Aboriginal music that intrinsically reflected something of the larger environment. In the same way that Classical music reflected aspects of the elegant or refined culture of the courts of Europe, could not the flatness of the didjeridoo, the nasal vocal styles, the repetitive phrases and 'perceived' stasis of Australian Aboriginal music similarly reflect aspects of culture and landscape in Australia? Whether such a subliminal relationship exists or whether it is merely coincidence, it was enough to inspire a personal enquiry and, for me, a point of departure for musical exploration.'

My current preoccupation could generally be described as: -
URBAN PSYCHOSCAPES - more internal/psychological states.
So far, these pieces involve finding something of the essence of a writer/poet (& sampling their voice), which, when integrated with the music adds an almost theatrical or meta-musical dimension.
W.S.Burroughs wrote that 'happiness is a by-product of function'. We presently live in an age of despair. If you have work - you have a function. If you have money - you have some power. If you conform - you live. If you don't have these things - you are driven towards despair, even suicide.
Society has turned, or been forced, along a path of selfishness which leaves the individual with a sense of 'not belonging'. This aspect of society must also be expressed as a part of our psyche.

My recent music reflects a 'realist' approach whereby voice samples (spoken & sung) are integrated into the musical fabric. These pieces quote politicians/writers/poets and although an 'attitude' is expressed I think of them as primarily music but driven or inspired by socio-political events.

The primary influences on my music are Australian aboriginal music, especially didjeridoo (didjeridu), but also some elements of jazz, rock and techno, particularly in the choice of instruments, electro sounds and rhythms. I work in computer music (& multimedia)

I am also interested in particular aspects of microtonality - specifically & tone intervals. My attitude at the moment is that microtonality becomes part of a composer's personal vocabulary, that is, a personal approach rather than another system of orthodoxy. For me, the interval is on one hand the most dissonant, harmonically, but has a connective fluidity when used chromatically. The tone, being midway between a minor third interval is interesting both melodically and harmonically, especially when used with minor thirds, which, in addition to multiphonics, enrich the harmonies.

Rhythmically, I prefer ON the beat, which is a more direct expression of human animality. It is not about beauty - beauty is slavery - a genteel submission to nostalgia - though I suppose that can be all right occasionally. But mostly, I prefer the liberating effulgence of rampant passion.

Also see: The Ideas behind the music


Born: 28th June 1949, Sydney, Australia

Awarded Composer's Special Purpose Grant by the Music Board (Performing Arts Board) of the Australia Council, 1976.

Research trip to the Aboriginal Studies Institute, Canberra, 1977.

Attended UNESCO International Music Congress, (which was generally concerned with cross-cultural music), 1979.

Composer's Fellowship (12mths) awarded by the Music Board of the Australia Council, 1980.

Organiser for two chamber music recitals at Paddington Town Hall, on behalf of the APMIRA Festival Committee. The concerts were to publicise and raise money for aboriginal land rights, 1981. Performers gave their services free and composers wrote new pieces for the occasion. There were 12 world premiers.

International Fellowship (Europe - 9 mths), awarded by the Music Board of the Australia Council, 1982. Studies with Ton de Leeuw, Netherlands.

Innovative Project Grant, 1986, from the Music Board of the Australia Council, for production of Places Alien, a collaborative music-theatre piece combining live electronics and live art.

Guest composer at the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo, USA, April 1986. The Festival presented three first overseas performances of the composer's work, including Red Earth, and invited him to join a panel and a public discussion on aspects of contemporary music.

Composer-in-Residence for Warringah Shire, 1988. A project involving community members in composition workshops, resulting in three and a half hours of cassettes which were broadcast on public radio. The culmination was a free public performance at Narrabeen Lakes: Echoes Now and Then... involving over 100 musicians, writers, actors and broadcasters, lasting 4 hours, and incorporating tapes of the composition workshops in a Music Walk through a bush track.

Words & Music Seminar - 1996 Adelaide Festival. Presented a paper with Amanda Stewart on The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, a 75minute opera.

Built web site - - 1996. I have audio works on my web site which can be listened to (and viewed through) Real Player, (free), which streams the work so that it is experienced in 'real time'. Visual components range from graphics on the web page to a complete multimedia presentation.

Project Grant from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council for an audio-visual project, 1996.

The Wild Boys - selected by the ABC as Australia's entry for the Paris Rostrum 1997, and chosen in the Recommended- for-Broadcast List of 10 pieces (from 75 pieces from 38 countries), subsequently receiving the highest number of broadcasts.
Awarded Best Composition of the Year at the national Sounds Australian Awards 1997.

Black Years - Red Years won the NSW award for Best Composition at the 2000 Sounds Australian awards.

Composer-in-Residence for the Central Coast Conservatorium, 2000.

New Work grant from the Music Fund of the Australia Council, 2000, to compose electro-acoustic works.

Opera - The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior selected as ABC entry for the Italia Prize 2001.

Concert of electro-acoustic audio-visual works for 12th Sydney Spring International Festival of New Music, Sydney Opera House, 18/9/2001.

Composer Profile for New Music Australia on ABC-FM, 20/02/2001. Including premier broadcast of There Ain't No Harps In Hell, Angel!

Fellowship (2 years) awarded by the Music Board of the Australia Council for 2003-2004.

Lecturer in composition at the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, 2005.

Let The Storm Break Loose (2003) Duration 9'00" - an electroacoustic composition featuring - Ian Shanahan - recorders.
Selected as a finalist in the 2005 APRA / AMC
Awards for Best Composition by an Australian Composer

Words On Water - October 21 2006 An outdoor performance on the Ross River to open the Townsville Writers Festival.
Music - Colin Bright, Words - Suzie Gilmour, Imagery - Glen O'Malley.
A performance event featuring electronics, voice samples sounds, lights, projected photographs, words & fire-sculpture Live performers - Aquapella Choir, Young dancers/acrobats from Magnetic Island,Woodenbong Fire Tribe.
Words On Water was commissioned by the Townsville City Council.

Residecy with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2007-8 as part of the 4th Trans-Tasman Composer Exchange Residency.

The Last Whale (2007) 14'30" - awarded Best Composition by an Australian Composer - 2008 Classical Music Awards

MUSIC SPECIALIST - for disadvantaged Primary Schools.

Redfern, 1980,1981,1983,1984,1985.

Atholstane, 1984.

Darlington, 1985.

Canley Heights, 1986,1987.

LECTURER - for High School Music Teachers/Students on the Australian component of the music syllabus.

Sydney, Metropolitan East,1987.

North Coast, 1987.

Oak Hill College,1987.

M.L.C School, 1996.

Riverview College, 1997.

St.Francis Xavier College, 1998 & 2002.


- in composition at the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney, 2005.


- University of Sydney Music Dept. - 2003.

- University of Sydney Music Dept. - on Music and Politics, 2005.


- with High School music students James Joyce Foundation, 1998, 1999.

- Manly High - Selective Campus, 2004, 2005.


- Manly Selective Campus 2004-2011

- Northern Beaches Secondary College - NBSC  2011-2013


An Australian Sound? - in Sounds Australian, the journal of the AustralianMusic Centre, no. 23, Spring 1989.

Defining the Culture - in Sounds Australian, no. 26, Winter 1990.

Credo - in Sounds Australian, no. 34, Winter 1992.

Fuck You Pal! - in Sounds Australian, No. 59, Summer 2002.


Kakadu - Jade JAD CD 1050 Arc of Light

Night - Tall Poppies TP 039 Windows in Time

Earth-flowering Time - Tall Poppies TP 080 Mere Bagatelles

Tango Dreaming - New Albion Records NAD 073CD incitation to desire

Many Heads - Katatjuta - Tall Poppies TP096 Uluru

The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior - Vox Australis VAST028-2

Black Years - Red Years - Colbright Music CMCD01 (single)

Red Earth - Tall Poppies TP133 Red Earth

Let The Storm Break Loose - Sidereal Records SRCD01 - Harmonia

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