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Stephen Lalor : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: Kavkaz : Caucasian Dance, for string quartet by Stephen Lalor, from the CD Chanterelle String Quartet

Photo of Stephen Lalor

Photo: Prudence Upton


"Lalor's Flying is passionate, wistful music that's instantly affecting".

'Its long and beautiful melodic lines seem to lift us high above the clouds, propelled by gentle yet insistent rhythms motoring away underneath. In its calmer moments there's a sense of weightlessness, of effortlessly floating through the air, but the momentum always returns to carry us forwards on our journey' - Sydney Symphony Orchestra online, 3 February 2002


"New orchestral piece sparkles like the lake .. A sensationally uplifting concert overture .. exceptional new work by Dr Stephen Lalor"

- InTouch Magazine, Autumn 2022 review of "Mima Concert Overture" premiere

Dr Stephen Lalor's compositions Ethnicities of Sound were described as 'sophisticated, compelling, cosmopolitan music compositions... beautifully rendered and replete with new sounds and virtuosic techniques that are deeply embodied by a musician-composer who is a specialist in the field of plucked instruments...' (Dr Aileen Dillane, University of Limerick, Ireland)

'a multi-lingual music-maker' whose music is 'moody, folk-flavoured, ranging from powerful, soulful lyricism to the wistful, catchy ride of Flying' (Sydney Morning Herald review of the 2017 recording Music of Stephen Lalor by the Sydney Symphony's Chanterelle String Quartet, 10 March 2018).

'A very beautiful and beautifully crafted work' - Dr Jim Bates, conductor of US premiere of Stephen Lalor's 'Australis Suite', Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois State University October 12 2019

"Stephen Lalor's 'Waltz' & 'Antipodie' (1994) exude a cool, Satiesque aloofness" - Australian Piano Music of the 20th Century (Sitsky,L; Praeger Pulishers, Westport, CT, USA 2005)

  • PhD in Composition (USyd)
  • MMus Musicology (UNSW)
  • Tchaikovsky Conservatorium Kiev postgrad studies in composition (G. I. Lyashenko), conducting (Y.V. Tarnopolsky) & domra (N.T. Lysenko)
  • Churchill Fellow 2003

His compositions span opera, music theatre, symphonic, musicals, ballet, film, choral, vocal, theme and instrumental music. This music has been performed by major bodies including Opera Australia, the Melbourne Festival, the Queensland Ballet and Opera House Choral Concerts; it is recorded and broadcast nationally by the ABC and overseas artists.

A selection of Stephen Lalor's music is published by Trekel Verlag, Hamburg. Representative pieces are in the collections of the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler (Paris) & the US Library of Congress.

Upcoming 2022 performances/recordings include:

  • release of "Mist in the Valley" recorded by Poul Hoxbro (xun) (January)
  • "Bukovina Odyssey" - The Metroplitan Orchestra (Sydney, 5 June)
  • "Mima Overture" for symphony orchestra - commissioned for Lake Maquarie Philharmonic by MIMA Arts Centre (1 May)
  • release of filmed performances of string quartets (SSO website)

Lalor's music reflects a combination of his formal training and extensive experience in all forms of performance and interpretation at international level. In Australia he has collaborated with a range of artists in concert, from the Tawadros and Grigoryan brothers to Taraf de Haidouks and violinist Fiona Ziegler. He has featured on several ABC Classics CDs.

A plectrum-instrument specialist, Lalor guests as principal mandolin, guitar (& related instruments) with orchestras throughout Australia & abroad, featuring as solo mandolinist on CD releases of the Mahler Symphonies and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet (SSO/Ashkenazy), Gelmetti's Cantata Della Vita, and several Opera DVD and CD releases e.g. Don Giovanni (OA) and L'Amour Jaloux (Pinchgut Opera).

Recent tours have been with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2016 (London, Copenhagen, Edinburgh Festival, Tanglewood) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (Shanghai and Beijing, September 2017). His October 2017 performance (electric guitar) with the SSO in Brett Dean's Fire Music at the Sydney Opera House was acclaimed in Limelight magazine. Before Covid struck, 2018/19 saw Stephen performing & recording with the Singapore Symphony, Malaysian Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia & The Australian Ballet as well as chamber concerts and a Chatswood Concourse Concert of his own music.

He has performed with a range of ensembles & orchestras at all the major Australian festivals, as well as the Edinburgh, Tsaritsyn (Moscow), Bulgakov (Moscow) & Montreux Jazz Festivals as well as Tanglewood (USA).

His CD Plektra was reviewed by Prof Robert Margo (Boston University) in the Journal of the Classical Mandolin Society of America, August 2014: 'Plektra, a seven-member ensemble, is the brainchild of Stephen Lalor... All of the music on the CD is arranged or composed by Lalor. The playing is highly polished, with very tight ensemble and beautiful sound throughout.'

Stephen Lalor has performed and conducted concerts of his own music at BDZ Eurofest (Europe's major classical mandolin and guitar ensemble festival) and at the 2010 & 2014 BDZ festivals he also performed solo sets of his own music, the only Australian to have been invited to do so.

As well as films and soundtracks, Stephen Lalor has performed and recorded with Aboriginal groups including the Stiff Gins and the Black Turtles. Former Head of Contemporary Performance at The Australian Institute of Music, he was also for several years the only non-indigenous permanent staff-member at Sydney's Eora Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Visual & Performing Arts in Sydney.

Stephen Lalor — current to May 2022

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Orbit : mandolin ensemble (2020) Commissioned by Plektra Mandolin Ensemble.
Hand-Painted Soundscapes : for mandolin orchestra (2017) Commissioned with the generous support of Mrs Eileen Wright for the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2017
Digital sheet music sample Adelaide dances : for mandolin orchestra (2016) Commissioned for the 2017 Adelaide Mandolin Festival
Winter collection : three movements for mandolin orchestra (2015) Commissioned by Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles.
Australis suite : for mandolin orchestra (2013) Commissioned by the Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles
Atherton Tableland waltz : movement II from The Brisbane Suite for mandolin orchestra (2009) Commissioned by Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles.

Analysis & Media

- Video: Ballade and Autostrada waltz

- Video: Trio "Campanella" by Stephen Lalor.