Raffaele Marcellino –
Composer and Educator
What is your musical background?
I started my musical formation as choirboy singing in an a cappella all-male choir when I was in primary school performing repertoire from plainsong, Palestrina to Gelineau. When I arrived in high school I started playing trumpet, then trombone and performed in all sorts of bands and taught myself arranging and composing. I was accepted to study composition at the Sydney Conservatorium where my teachers included Richard Vella, Bozidar Kos, Gillian Whitehead, Richard Toop, Martin Wesley-Smith and Graham Hair. Writing for voice has been a strong inspiration for me as I have worked with many Australian poets and lyricists for songs, opera, theatre and choral works. Even my instrumental music has been influenced by the voice and words with inspiration from poetry, literature and literary models looming large in my imagination. My greatest collaborators in vocal music were Roland Peelman and the Song Company.
What is your advice to singers performing your works?
To sum up my musical ethos I offer an anecdote from my residency with Nouvel Ensemble Modern in Montreal. Asked to provide a manifesto for the residency the limit was 1,000 words. I responded with, ‘I’ll take idiosyncrasy over ideology any day!’
Find songs by Raf:
What are your favourite pieces you’ve composed?
My favourite works are the O Antiphons, Fishtale, and the operas The Flight of Les Darcy and Midnite.