Member Login
User Name:
41 School St
Kincumber 2251
Tel 0431 822322


Christopher Sainsbury

Composer - songwriter - guitarist - educator

"Surely this year's Australian musician of the moment"

(The Australian Music Centre's Resonate magazine May 2019)

“Cinematically tonal, and vivid"

(The Boston Globe 2010)

Brief Introduction

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 Hear Sounds page.

Lydian Caprice - (<<click title to hear) - the string quintet version.

Chris at outdoor gallery Canberra.jpg

Christopher Sainsbury (artwork by Djon Mundine)

Hear more:

Djagamara (<<click to hear) featuring the Random Earth Band (Guy Strazz, Stephen Marquis, Chris, Rosalie Bourne, Christina Sainsbury)

VCE Curriculum piece

Simple Truths score (<<click to download score, guitar piece for VCE curriculum).

Simple Truths audio (<<click to hear).

Recent performances / releases / new commissions / events

A selection:

* 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 Hamilton.

* 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 Radio.

* 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 2018.

* 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". Central 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 Auld, 2018.

Featured CD

The Sainsbury solo guitar CD, 10 years young now. (Click image to order):

Anima cover.jpg Anima cover.jpg

Click on CDs for email / ordering page

Also visit the Hear Sounds page or Guitar Music page.