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Profile – Duncan Gardiner

DuncansquareClassical guitarist and composer Duncan Gardiner is emerging as one of Australia’s leading musicians. Having released three albums, published a book of original works and toured internationally, Duncan has been described as “exceedingly talented” (Julian Day, ABC Classic FM) and as “an excellent ambassador for the classical guitar“.  His playing has been described by audiences as “delicate, serene and magical“, while William Yeoman (The West), described his “extraordinarily attractive music [as] not only a pleasure to listen to but a delight to play“. Duncan was honoured to be included in Ron K. Payne’s publication The Twang Dynasty, a history of notable Australian performers.

Duncan’s most recent release Incense & Arabie was warmly received by reviewer, Rosalind Appleby (Noted), who exclaimed, “the works are pensive, melodically exquisite and immaculately performed and produced“.  Similarly, Duncan’s debut album Of Dreams and Fantasy impressed Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine,UK) who stated: “I must say that this is one of the very best CDs of guitar music to ever come my way. I have returned to this CD more than most others just for the sheer pleasure of it. This is a startlingly good disc“.  It is no wonder that it was voted ‘CD of the Week’ in the West Australian newspaper (2009). Each of his albums receives regular national airplay on ABC Classic FM.

Duncan is thrilled to appear on behalf of Musica Viva Australia as part of their In Schools performance team. Duncan gives around 50 performances around the state each year with his group Fiddlesticks (with Pascale Whiting, violin, and Sophie Curtis, cello).  Due to the popularity of his group, 2016 will see him tour to Hong Kong and Melbourne as well remote areas within Western Australia.  Duncan is passionate about chamber music and is thrilled to be involved with a number of ensembles including mimi duo (with Setsu Masuda, piano), Duo Caliente (with Rebecca Guy, flute) and the Perth Guitar Quartet (Mel Fitzgerald, Chris Kotchie and Dan Christoffersen, guitars).

Duncan is an active composer and published a book of original works in 2009.  Of his book, Uroš Dojčinović, (SOUNDBOARD, USA) wrote “this is a very enjoyable collection with a wide range of different pieces, presented in a traditional way that can easily amuse not just the listeners but also the performers“.  Duncan was delighted to have several of his compositions chosen for the exam syllabi of the Australian Guild of Music and Speech as well as the Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts in 2010.  He has been commissioned to compose music for a number of prestigious groups and organisations. In 2014, the Western Australian Youth Orchestra’s Sinfonietta premiered his commission Sharp Light and Spirals at the Perth Concert Hall.  Duncan’s work Dance (like nobody’s watching) was premiered by the Newman College concert band and choir at the Sydney Opera House.  The Fremantle Symphony Orchestra presented world premieres of two of his orchestral suites. Of these works, Neville Cohn (The West) said: “These works reveal evidence of a real creative gift. They are written with real understanding of what works in rhythmical and sonic terms. Whether lulling or emphatic, they delighted the ear“.  A recent commission by Rossmoyne Senior High School will see performances of his works across Italy in 2016.

Duncan holds a First Class Honours degree in Music Performance from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he was the recipient of the Helen Court Scholarship and a Faculty Medal.  Duncan has also received a Licentiate of Music Diploma (with distinction) from the Australian Music Examinations Board, and won the J.B. Vincent Memorial Prize for being the most outstanding candidate.  Duncan is thrilled to be able to encourage the next generation of young guitarists through his work as an educator in WA schools and an as adjudicator at a number of local music festivals and eisteddfods.