The 'higher listening grounds'

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Christopher Sainsbury Composer

“Music of quality and integrity".

(Chris Bearman, Conductor Central Coast Symphony Orchestra)

“Cinematically tonal".

(The Boston Globe)

Brief Introduction

Since 1985 Christopher Sainsbury has made a sustained contribution to Australian music in both professional and community music arenas. He remains a working composer. His output ranges from sublimely simple songs to large orchestral works. With a flair for melody and for the art of orchestration the Boston Globe has reviewed his work as "cinematically tonal" and "dotted with vivid orchestral touches". Sainsbury lives between the Central Coast of NSW north of Sydney, and Canberra. He writes much for the various fine orchestras, choirs, soloists and ensembles of his home region, finding meaning and joy in contributing to the ongoing local narrative through music. He also works nationally and internationally for specific jobs. Hear an example now:

Lydian Caprice - 2010 (the London Wilhelm string quintet) 2.2MB (<<click to hear)

Chris and tree.jpg

Christopher Sainsbury with tree

Hear more:

Coolamon Rd Bus Shelter (<<click) from Civic Melancholy (for two pianos). Hear the 'long lingering of time' experience of many regional Australians.

Storm (<<click) from Brackish Songs (mezzo-soprano and guitar).

Hear more sounds now (<<click)

Recent performances / releases /new commissions / announcements

Upcoming in 2016:

Ratoos for flutes in 3 parts. Hear at the Flutation Festival, Central Coast Conservatorium, 3pm January 19th.

Gallipoli Sensings for the Wind Trio of the Royal Australian Navy Band Sydney, installation with the Contemporary Gallipoli exhibition. Grafton Regional Art Gallery 14.3.16 until 8.5.16

August announcement: a major APRA grant for the inaugural round of the Indigenous Composer Initiative, a mechanism for mentoring and producing Australian Indigenous composers working in new classical music and jazz music scores. Headed up by Moogahlin Performing Arts, Chris and Kevin Hunt, with partners the AMC, APRA, ANU, Sydney University Jazz and Musicology staff, and Eora College. A significant move for Indigenous music in Australia.

The Earth Song by former Senator Bob Brown (arranged for the Canberra Pop Up Choir by Chris), at the Canberra Writers Festival closing address, National Library Theatre, Canberra Sunday Aug 28th, 5.30pm.

Scar Tree for mixed ensemble (as part of the Footmarks dance event) - a modern ballet, commissioned by Alyssa Casey and the Primal Dance Company for Sydney Fringe Festival, Eternity Playhouse Darlighurst, Sept 5th, 7pm. Other Australian composer works in program are by Ian Munro and John Nottle. Congratulations Alyssa for commissioning three Australian composers!

Scar Tree Laycock Street Theatre, Gosford City, Sept 11th, 7pm.

The Sphinx for SAB choir. A commission from Avondale Conservatorium (Newcastle region) for the University choir 'The Promise'. Words by RW Emerson. September dates include: afternoon concert at St Ignatius Church Toowong, Brisbane on Sunday 25th September, then at the Kodaly Music Education Institute Australia National Conference - a lunchtime performance at the All Hallows School Brisbane on Monday 26th September.

The Magic of This Dawn for Symphonic wind. Sept 11th at 630pm, Chatswood Concourse Concert Hall, Sydney. Commissioned by conductor Patrick Brennan for the North Sydney Symphonic Wind Ensembles Spring Festival, and December tour of Japan.

The Flowergirls for solo oboe, at the Australian Double Reed Society National Conference and Competition, a set work for higher level competitors, Oct 1st and 2nd, Sydney Grammer School, College St, Darlinghurst.

Scar Tree Wyong Art House Theatre Oct 7th, 7pm.

North Country Sketches for guitar, Sydney/NSW premiere by touring Italian virtuoso Gian Marco Ciampa. Sat 15th Oct, 7pm, Robert Knox Hall, Gosford City.

Scar Tree Port Macquarie Glasshouse Theatre, Oct 16th, 7pm.

Brackish Songs for mezzo-soprano and guitar, featuring Giuseppe Zangari and Michaele Archer, hosted by the College of Arts and Social Sciences Indigenous lecture-recital, Theatre 3, ANU, 5pm Oct 19th.

Gallipoli Sensings also at Waverley Library Gallery Exhibition Space 3.11.16 until 25.1.17. An installation playing all day every day for near two months, with possible live event on 11th Nov. This piece featured in the Contemporary Gallipoli Exhibition that was a finalist in the Museums and Galleries Association of NSW 2015 Imagine Awards.

The Central Coast Symphony Orchestra will play Australian Concert Overture at 230pm, on 4th December, Central Coast Grammar School Auditorium. This is the first performance of this work for 30 years, since it won the Australian Young Composer Award in 1986.


Civic Melancholy for two pianos, and also the Brackish Songs for mezzo-soprano and guitar. These two works explore how a regionalist stance is articulated through the works themselves. Musicians featured include Michaele Archer (voice), Guiseppe Zangari (guitar), Geoff Preece and Andrew Swan (pianos). Civic Melancholy is a musical response to the regionalist digital photography work of Jamie Holcombe (photography lecturer Charles Sturt University). 8pm, Feb 28th 2015 at Laycock St Theatre Gosford, and 8pm 7th March 2015 at The Grove Theatre Wyong.

Gallipoli Sensings for the Wind Trio of the Royal Australian Navy Band Sydney. Macquarie University Gallery, Macquarie University Sydney, 6pm April 8th, 2015. A commission from the curator of the Contemporary Gallipoli exhibition. Playing from 2.4.15 until 10.6.15. (10am-5pm Mon - Fri).

Gallipoli Sensings also as a sound installation at Cowra Regional Art Gallery 8.8.15 until 6.9.15 (10am - 4pm Tue -Sat, 2-4pm Sun).

Where Cooling Zephyrs Breathe - a commission from the Central Coast Youth Orchestra with Patrick Brennan (cond). Anglican Performance Hall, 3 Mann St Gosford, 7pm June 26th, 2015.

Featured CD (click image to order):

Anima cover.jpg

Click on CDs for email / ordering page

Also visit the Hear Sounds page.