Composer - songwriter - guitarist -
"Surely this year's Australian musician of the
Australian Music Centre's Resonate magazine May 2019)
“Cinematically tonal, and
Boston Globe 2010)
Christopher Sainsbury is an accomplished composer and a highly experienced music educator, currently lecturing
in Composition at the Australian National University (ANU). He has made a sustained contribution to Australian music as a working composer in regional, community and professional music arenas for
many years. He has worked much in the region of the Central Coast and also the far north coast of NSW, and in Aboriginal communities for over three decades. As an Indigenous person he maintains a
commitment to lifting the profile of Indigenous Australian composers and is founder and artistic director of the Ngarra-burria First Peoples Composers program. He was previously Head of Dept
Aboriginal Visual and Performing Arts at the Eora Centre, an Indigenous Tertiary College in Sydney for 23 years. He writes in various styles and genres, from simple solo instrumental works to large
orchestral works, and from surf music to jazz. The 'yadda yadda' stuff includes commissions from the ACO (1987), from Australian flute elder Gordon Yemm (1987), from the Newcastle Bicentennial
Authority (1988), the World Expo Brisbane (1988), all the way through to recent times including commissions from the Central Coast Youth Orchestra (2014), from the Canberra International Music
Festival (2019), and from the SSO (2020). But his first love is playing guitar, making music in communities, and teaching. To enjoy the music of Christopher Sainsbury go to the
Caprice - (<<click title to hear) - the string quintet version.
Christopher Sainsbury (artwork by Djon Mundine)
Djagamara (<<click to hear) featuring the Random Earth Band (Guy Strazz, Stephen Marquis, Chris, Rosalie Bourne, Christina
VCE Curriculum piece
Simple Truths score (<<click to download score,
guitar piece for VCE curriculum).
Simple Truths audio (<<click to
Recent performances / releases / new commissions /
* Red Kangaroo
Standing: a new commission from Canberra's leading
contemporary group the Griffyn Ensemble, an interpretive setting of Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt's maiden speech to Parliament. Lyrics by Melinda Smith.
* If I Were A Semi-tone: a new commission for The Australian Voices, cond. Gordon
* Bardo: flute trio for Mark Xiao and friends, for the Australian Flute Festival July 2019, Sydney Conservatorium.
* Clock and Bells: for
Oriana Choir (directed by Dan Walker), co-composed with Aboriginal musician Darryl Griffen.
* Mari yanna: a Graduation/ceremonial piece commissioned by the ANU Chancellery, with Indigenous context,
for ANU orchestra directed by Chris.
* A new Sydney Symphony
Orchestra commission, directed by Marin Alsop, August 2020. (Now to be scheduled in 2021).
* The Random Earth Band new CD (coming soon, see guitar page).
* Beach Holiday: for
youth orchestra. Performed by Canberra Youth Orchestra 2019.
* Dying River Party: for solo clarinet. Performed by Eloise Fisher, ANU 2019. ABC recording to air soon.
* Recording and broadcast of Bardo and other woodwind works, performed by Mark Xiao and friends,
ABC Classic Radio.
* Recording and broadcast of The Arrival and also Grainger in Bourke St, Edward Neeman piano, ABC Classic
* A new work for
the National Carillon, commissioned by the National Carillon Authority and Thomas Laue, for 2020.
* Lake Music: Installation piece in collaboration with the photo-media artist Rowan Conroy, Goulburn
Regional Art Gallery July - September 2019. See guitar page.
* Bark of the 'bidgee: Small mixed ensemble work for Canberra International Music Festival, cond. Roland
Peelman, May 2019.
* The Arrival: a commission for Friends of Chopin Australia and Teddy (Edward) Neeman solo piano, October
* Djagamara: for Griffyn Ensemble (flute and harp version) recent Sorry Day concert, Glebe Park Canberra. Dedicated to James MacLeod.
* Ngarra- burria composers with Ensemble Offspring tour to Brewarrina to participate in the
Baiame's Ngunnhu Festival 2018 and again in 2020.
* Spirit Land: orchestral piece and soundtrack for film "Spirit Land".
Coast Youth Orchestra and Central Coast Symphony Orchestra, Central Coast Grammar School Auditorium, Erina Sept. 2017 and film launch Dec. 2017, The Hub, Erina, NSW. Repeated screenings in
Central Coast cinemas.
* Juljul: for Turner
Trebles Children's Choir, Canberra International Music Festival April 2017. Repeated performances.
* As Wild as All Get Out: Carillon piece for Canberra International Music Festival, May and June 2017 at
National Carillon Park, Canberra. Repeat performances in Spain and Belgium, July 2017.
* Mud Moon:
a string trio commission for milestone birthday celebrations of Australian ceramicist Ros
The Sainsbury solo guitar CD, 10 years young now. (Click image to order):
Click on CDs for email / ordering page
Also visit the Hear Sounds page or Guitar