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Maria Grenfell : Represented Artist

Grenfell's work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary and visual sources and from non-Western music and literature.

Random Audio Sample: Rock hopping : for orchestra by Maria Grenfell, from the CD Magic island

Photo of Maria Grenfell

Photo: Anthony McKee


Maria Grenfell was born in Malaysia in 1969 and raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, graduating with a Master of Music degree from the University of Canterbury. She completed further studies in the USA, gaining a Master of Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and a doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins and Morten Lauridsen in Los Angeles, and Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler in New York.

Maria Grenfell's work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary and visual sources and from non-Western music and literature. Her music has been commissioned, performed or recorded by all the major symphony orchestras in Australia and New Zealand, and numerous chamber groups in Australasia and overseas, including the Australia Ensemble and the Vienna Piano Trio. Her music is broadcast regularly in Australia and New Zealand, and is released on Kiwi-Pacific and Trust CDs, and her works are available through the Australian Music Centre, SouNZ New Zealand Music Centre, and Reed Music.

Maria is regularly involved in mentoring young composers through programs such as the TSO Australian Composers' School, the TSO Composer Project for Tasmanian pre-tertiary composition students, and the Sydney Conservatorium's Composing Women program 2016-2017. She served on the Board of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2018. Maria has given guest lectures at the University of Auckland, University of Houston, University of Melbourne, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore. In Spring 2013 she was Visiting Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and in Fall 2019 she was the Kerr Composer in Residence at Oberlin Conservatory.

She has also been a violinist with the Christchurch Symphony and the New Zealand Youth Orchestra, and has performed bowed piano with the University of Southern California Percussion Ensemble.

Her awards include:

  • Tasmanian State Award for 2018 for Spirals (Orchestral Work of the Year)
  • Tasmanian State Award for 2013 for Ten Suns Ablaze (Instrumental Work of the Year);
  • Jimmy McHugh Composition Prize and the Halsey Stevens Prize from the University of Southern California;
  • Composers' Association of New Zealand Trust Fund Award; and
  • University of Otago's prestigious Philip Neill Memorial Prize.

Maria is an Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania where she teaches composition, music theory, aural skills, and other related subjects. She lives in Hobart, Australia, with her husband, guitarist David Malone, and their two children.

Maria Grenfell — current to September 2021

Collaborated with

Kenneth Young (1996 - current)

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (1998 - current)


Teacher/Influence on

Scott McIntyre (2010 - 2013)

Simon Reade (1998)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2018 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Orchestral Finalist Spirals
2018 Art Music Awards: State Awards Winner: TAS State Award Spirals

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Stings and Wings : marimba solo (2021) Commissioned as part of a project to increase the marimba repertoire by women composers and aimed at advanced school-level difficulty.
Digital sheet music sample Gaudete Fanfare : for brass (2021) Commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as part of their Fifty Fanfares project, supported by the Neilson Foundation.
Wall of Flames : for piano trio (2020) Commissioned by ABC Fresh Start Fund.
Flinders and Trim : chamber ensemble with orchestra (2019) Commissioned by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
And the Air Was Dancing : triple concerto for flutes, violin, viola and strings (2019) Commissioned by the Ivy Street Ensemble, Denver, Colorado USA
Digital sheet music sample Spirals : for clarinet, bassoon and chamber orchestra (2017) Commissioned by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.