Lachlan Skipworth: Clarinet Quintet

May 25, 2021 / ISCM


The music of Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth (b. 1982) has been described as featuring ‘bold, innovative textures, and compelling melody’. His vivid musical language communicates a unique personal voice across orchestral, chamber, vocal and experimental music, and is coloured by three years spent in Japan, where his immersion in the study of the shakuhachi bamboo flute inevitably became a part of his muse. His compositions display a craft grounded upon the sensitive assimilation of musical sources, a rare technical skill in sonic construction, and a highly imaginative deployment of ideas.

The International Society for Contemporary Music selected his works Dark Nebulae and Clarinet Quintet for performance at the World Music Days in Slovenia (2015) and Vancouver (2017) respectively. Skipworth’s Awards include the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize (2016) for his Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra – the same work earned the Performance of the Year APRA & AMC Art Music Award for its premiere performance by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and was chosen by ABC Classic FM to be presented at the 2016 International Rostrum of Composers in Poland. Spiritus won the 2017 Albert H Maggs Award. In 2017, the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus commissioned his Hymns in Reverie for performance at the Dai-Ichi Seimei Hall. His recent works include Breath of Thunder for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Japanese drumming group Taikoz – a culmination of his time spent in Japan learning shakuhachi and developing his deep understanding of its ancient musical culture.

Skipworth holds degrees from the University of Western Australia (B.Mus.Ed) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (M.Mus., Ph.D.) where he studied with composers Roger Smalley and Anne Boyd respectively. Further afield, he spent two semesters in Germany undertaking a kontaktstudium at the Freiburg Hochschule fur Musik with leading international composer and clarinettist Prof. Jorg Widmann. Skipworth’s main shakuhachi teachers are the revered masters Kakizakai Kaoru and Yokoyama Katsuya.

About the Clarinet Quintet, composed in 2016, the composer writes: “My Clarinet Quintet offers a dystopian response to our current time through the deep sadness of its harmonic language and its drawn out melodic lines. The arch structure traces a questioning of the status quo in increasing degrees of urgency, falling back to a disturbed state of acceptance to end the work.”

Lachlan Skipworth: Clarinet Quintet (2016)
From the Navona Records CD released on 26 July 2019.
Performers: Ashley William Smith, clarinet; Akiko Miyazawa, violin; Kate Sullivan, violin; Ben Caddy, viola; Jon Tooby, cello.
Licensed to YouTube by Naxos of America (on behalf of Navona Records)




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