Martin Wesley-Smith

Composer and Activist

What is your musical background?

As a child in Adelaide I learnt piano and cello. My family used to sing (mainly songs from the Oxford Book of Folksongs) around the piano, with my three older brothers and I singing harmony parts (which provided excellent training in listening, improvising, and harmony etc). While at school, twin bro Pete and I formed a vocal and instrumental folk trio called The Wesley Three that went on to sing in clubs and record four LPs for CBS Television Broadcasting Company. I also started playing guitar and banjo in a Dixieland jazz band. Later I played banjo with the York University Symphony Orchestra and synthesizer with the ABC Training Orchestra. I studied composition at the University of Adelaide with Peter Tahourdin, Peter Maxwell Davies and Sandor Veress, then at the University of York. From 1974 to 2000 I taught at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, establishing its Electronic Music Studio. This eclectic background has contributed to my eclectic tastes.
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What is your advice to singers performing your works?

Make sure the words are clearly articulated. Enjoy yourself!

Find out more about Martin Wesley-Smith:

https://shoalhaven.net.au/~mwsmith/
https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/artist/wesley-smith-martin

What are your favourite pieces you’ve composed?

Who Killed Cock Robin?, for a cappella choir

For Marimba & Tape, for marimba & tape

Boojum! (a full-length choral music theatre piece)

Welcome to the Hotel Turismo, for cello and pre-recorded sounds and images