Alan Holley

Alan Holley in Vienna May 2014

Alan Holley in Vienna May 2014

Australian composer Alan Holley had his first professional performance in the Recording Hall, (now the Studio) Sydney Opera House in 1974. His music has been supported by the Australia Council through composer fellowships and through numerous commissions. Regularly performed and broadcast in Australia since the mid-1970s, over the past thirty years his music has become increasingly well-known in America and Europe.

In 2012 there was a concert of his works at the Hall of Croatian Composers in Zagreb under the musical direction of Tomislav Spoljar. In 2013 Holley was one of several composers-in-residence in the first Sydney International Brass Festival and in that same year had a recital of his works featured in the Australasian Saxophone and Clarinet Conference at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2014 he was a featured composer at the Velika Gorica Brass Festival (Croatia) and was the subject of a composer profile concert in the Kolarac Hall, Belgrade, Serbia.

A recital of seven solo works at Watters Gallery (Sydney) in his 60th birthday month was followed in 2015 with a concert of his chamber music by Sirius Chamber Ensemble. Later that year David Elton directed a program of Holley’s large ensemble works at the Melbourne Recital Centre for the Australian National Academy of Music.

In May 2016 Holley returned to south-eastern Europe this time for a month long tour with the virtuoso trumpeter Paul Goodchild where they gave concerts and workshops in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia and concerts and lectures in Tirana at the inaugural International Albanian Brass Festival under the direction of Ilir Kodhima. In July of the same year he was the composer-in-residence at the Podium Festival in Fazana/Brijuni, Croatia, directed by the inspirational saxophonist, Petra Horvat.

In 2018 a choral work written in conjunction with the poet Mark Tredinnick And the rain received numerous performances by the Australian Chamber Choir in Victoria and Sydney. This choir then commissioned and performed Time Passages in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and England on their 2019 tours. Also on that tour, and at the invitation of Hrvoje Pintarić, Alan was a guest at the Amadeus Festival in Bjelovar, Croatia, and travelled then to Tirana at the invitation of Ilir Kodhima where apart from giving masterclasses at the Arts University there was a concert of his works in the concert hall of the Archaeological Museum of Tirana.

In 2024 Alan returns to the Balkans and to Italy for music festivals and composer residencies.

Some of his major compositions include the opera Dorothea (1988), five song cycles, and numerous works for small ensembles and solo instruments. Larger-scale compositions include Chamber Symphony (2003) and The Winged Viola (2004) for solo viola and ensemble. The trumpet concerto Doppler’s Web (2005) written for soloist Paul Goodchild,  A Line of Stars (2007) and A Shaft of Light (2015) for oboe and orchestra with Shefali Pryor as soloist were all commissioned and performed in the Concert Hall of the Opera House by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Loaded with Dream (2011) was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony for performance by the Fellows. In 2012 the Seraphim Trio toured his piano trio ‘the estuaries of time’.

Holley also teaches trumpet and composition, and his works for flute, double bass, trumpet and other brass instruments are included in the Australian Music Examinations Board syllabus. EMI Australia has published two collections: Summer Bird and other pieces for trumpet and Birds of Opal and other pieces for flute. CDs of chamber and vocal music include Ophelia and Masquerade on the MBS label also Solos, Hammerings and Doppler’s Web on the Hammerings Records label. Four of his trumpet works appear on the Paul Goodchild CD, Mixed Dozen on the 1M1 label.

Alan Holley is published by Kookaburra Music and recorded on HAMMERINGS RECORDS.


Alan Holley with oboist Ivan Kirn in Belgrade May 2014

Back to the top ^

Header image: excerpt of the score of take flight hand notated by Alan Holley
Photography: Annie Turner