The UYMP office is open for limited hours, during the summer of 2021. You can still obtain music from our catalogue in the usual way, from Musicroom.com, and hire from our agent Wise Music Classical. Please contact UYMP composers directly, via their own websites, if you have any queries.

An interview with David Lumsdaine

Distinguished UYMP composer David Lumsdaine has recently been in conversation with Frederick Viner.  In a most interesting discussion, Lumsdaine talks about his musical education, growing up in Australia, his lifelong fascination with birdsong and soundscapes.  Lumsdaine describes how he was drawn to composition, his childhood influences and the process of musical discovery.  He reminisces about studying for his degree in Sydney, in the early days of the Music course there, and his subsequent more formal study in England. 

Lumsdaine goes on to tell how he became established in the UK and speaks of the orchestras, ensembles and musicians he has worked with, such as Roger Smalley, Jane Manning, Gemini and the Australian poet Peter Porter.  Lumsdaine remembers various performances, such as Kelly Ground, performed by Roger Smalley, and Flights, and his work on A Garden of Earthly Delights, including the fantastic recording by the Australian Youth Orchestra, with Diego Masson.  Collaboration is very important to Lumsdaine, ‘sharing with somebody, sharing the responsibility for a work’. 

Viner asks Lumsdaine about the influence of birdsong and soundscapes on his composition.  Lumsdaine speaks of field trips to the countryside, with an ornithologist friend, on early mornings in Spring, and how birdsong was ‘a different kind of music, it was a music to me but something entirely different, and that experience …… has remained with me ever since.’  Lumsdaine also describes the Sydney soundscapes of his childhood, the varied ships’ horns from Sydney harbour, the lions from the zoo, the squeals of the tram wheels. 

Finally, Viner asks Lumsdaine about his wife, the composer Nicola LeFanu, and the role they have played in one anothers’ creative lives.  Lumsdaine describes their collaboration as one of mutual support and encouragement, rather than compositional.  Lumsdaine recounts how, in more recent years, both his wife Nicola and the composer Anthony Gilbert have been incredibly helpful in attending rehearsals and helping to balance performances.  Squabbles with his wife over music are rare, ‘operatic and over quickly’ and usually end up in ‘gales of laughter’!  Listen to the complete, fascinating discussion on YouTube, at the link below.

Photo credit: Wynn White

Interview with David Lumsdaine, 07/05/2021