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Peter Sculthorpe

From Academic Kids

Peter Sculthorpe (born April 29, 1929) is a noted Australian composer from Launceston, Tasmania. He is known primarily for his orchestral and chamber music, such as Kakadu (1988) and Earth Cry (1992), which evoke the sounds and feeling of the Australian bushland and outback. He has also written several string quartet, using unusual timbre effects, and works for piano.

Sculthorpe begun writing music at an early age (at seven). As a young composer, he independently discovered the whole-tone scale, and was disappointed when he learned that Debussy had found it first. By thirteen, he had decided to make a career of music, despite many (especially his father) encouraging him to enter different fields, because he felt the music he wrote was the only thing that was his own.

In early adulthood, he wrote a piano sonatina for an ABC competition; however, the piece was rejected because it was too modern. For many years, Sculthorpe has conducted master classes and lectured at the University of Sydney, where he is now an emeritus Professor. He has stated that he wants his music to make people feel better and happier for having listened to it--hence, he has typically avoided the dense, atonal techniques of many of his contemporary composers.

Sculthorpe is currently working on a requiem, which he has reported will incorporate drumming, and other elements, to give it a distinctive Australian feel.

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