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Jack Symonds : Associate Artist

When contemporary music is able to meaningfully interrogate tradition, a unique alchemy is achieved whereby past and present are experienced simultaneously. In my work I aim to naturalise this process to a point of individuality such that the music appears to be innately cognisant of the past.

Photo of Jack Symonds

Photo: Anja Emzén


Artist website: https://jacksymonds.com/

Jack Symonds (b. 1988, Sydney) is a composer, conductor and accompanist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London under Kenneth Hesketh, was mentored by Detlev Glanert at Dartington and completed undergratuate studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received the University Medal. Trained also as a pianist and trombonist, he continues to work regularly as an accompanist and pianist, giving the premiere of many new works as well as frequently conducting his own and others' music.

He has written extensively for the voice in a variety of stage and chamber music settings, including The Shape of the Earth after Patrick White's Voss, Climbing Toward Midnight, a chamber opera re-imagining the second act of Wagner's Parsifal and the Dostoevsky opera Notes from Underground (2011, restaged at Carriageworks in 2016). He has also written works for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, JACK Quartet (US), three works for the Australia Piano Quartet, Composers Ensemble (UK), cellists Timo-Veikko Valve and Patrick Murphy, the Streeton Trio, soprano Jane Sheldon a viola d'amore concerto for BIFEM and 2015 concert series curated around his music by Affinity Collective which included three premieres.

As conductor, he has conducted world premieres of operas by Australian composers Elliott Gyger, Mary Finsterer, Michael Smetanin and Damien Ricketson as well as Australian premieres of works by Britten, Romitelli, Benjamin, Kurtág, Dusapin, Kancheli for Sydney Chamber Opera, Victorian Opera, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney and Melbourne Festivals.

Jack Symonds — current to October 2018

Studied with

Damien Ricketson (2008 - 2009)

Michael Smetanin (2009 - 2010)

Kenneth Hesketh (2011 - 2012)


Influenced by

Brett Dean

Elliott Gyger


Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2023 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Chamber Music Finalist String Quartet No. 2

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Fire-featuring heaven : for vocal sextet and electronics (2023) Commissioned by The Song Company.
Digital sheet music sample String Quartet No. 2 : string quartet (2022) Commissioned by the Australian String Quartet for the London season of ANAM Quartetthaus through the Australian String Quartet Richard Divall Australian Music Fund
Digital sheet music sample À la recherche d’Eden perdu : Cello Sonata No. 2 (2021) Commissioned by The ANAM Set, Kim Williams for performance by Blair Harris.
Digital sheet music sample Nothing other than silence : mezzo-soprano voice with piano (2021) Commissioned by Phoenix Central Park
Digital sheet music sample Lasciare vibrare (duos: marimba, harp) (2021) Commissioned by Claire Edwardes.
Digital sheet music sample Memory : for flute solo and ensemble (2021) Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring.