Brett Dean (20 January)
He was born and raised in Brisbane. He started learning the violin at the age of 8, and later studied viola with Elizabeth Morgan and John Curro at Queensland Conservatorium where he graduated in 1982 with that institution’s Medal for the Highest-Achieving Student of the Year. In 1981 he was a prize winner in the ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Awards.Since then he has combined a career as composer, viola player (from 1985-1999 he was a violist in the Berlin Philharmonic) and curator of classical music programmes with the Sydney and Melbourne Festivals. He has been composer-in-residence for the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and Creative Chair for the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra.
He began composing in 1988, initially focusing on experimental film and radio projects as well as improvisational performance; since then he has written mainly works for orchestra and chamber ensembles. He is married to the Australian visual artist Heather Betts, who shares the platform with him and their interviewer Piers Lane.