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Stephen Leek


Stephen Leek

Stephen Leek is a composer, conductor, educator and publisher who has been at the forefront of Australia's musical culture for over 20 years. His distinctive music captures the rhythms, colours and ethos of Australia and Australians. He is a versatile composer much respected for work that is suited to all ages and levels of skill. His prolific output is in a straight-forward musical language which speaks directly to its audience, yet maintains an integrity that has seen it performed by leading musicians in the great concert halls of the world.

Leek studied at the Canberra School of Music with composer Larry Sitsky and cellist Nelson Cooke. Stephen commenced his professional life doing part-copying work for other composers. He was offered the full-time position of Composer/Musician to the Tasmanian Dance Company - a position he held for 3 years. During that time he honed his skills by working in schools and in communities, composing and collaborating with choreographers and musicians in what was then Australia's only 'Dance in Education Company'.

Since then, Leek has worked as a composer and conductor across Australia in a diverse range of residencies and commissions. He has been a pioneer in establishing the ideals and practices of the 'Composer in Residence' scheme in the Australian community.

Stephen Leek has worked with orchestras, theatre and dance groups, choirs, schools and other community groups, but has been involved particularly in changing the nature and direction of Australian choral music. Groups with whom Stephen has worked include The Sydney Children's Choir, Sydney Youth Orchestra, Tasmanian Dance Company (now TasDance), The Australian Voices, Canberra Youth Theatre, AusDance, Gondwana Voices, National Music Camp Association, St Peters Chorale, Canberra Youth Orchestra, The Hunter Singers, The Adelaide Chorus, Glenn Ellyn Children's Choir (USA),The Melbourne Chorale, Eltham East Primary School Choir (Melbourne), North Sydney Girls High School, The Australian Youth Orchestra, Alice Springs Junior Singers, McKillop College (Melbourne), Tapiola Childrens Choir (Finland), Sydney Grammar School, Taipei American School (Taiwan), Opera Queensland, Tucson Boys Choir (USA) St Catherine's School (Sydney), The Leeds Girls School (UK) and Townsville Youth Voices.

Leek is in demand for commissions, residencies, workshops and guest conducting appearances. He manages to juggle this hectic schedule with part-time teaching in Composition and Improvisation at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

In partnership with Graeme Morton, Stephen Leek was a founder, Artistic Director and then Conductor of The Australian Voices - an elite ensemble of young adult singers who have changed the nature, traditions and landscape of choral music in Australia over the last decade through their commitment to record, perform, promote and tour the work of Australian composers.

Under his direction The Australian Voices has performed Australian music across the world on 10 tours and has been awarded major national and international accolades including the Bela Bartok International Choral Competition in Hungary, The Llangollen International Choral Eisteddfod in Wales. In 2001 they were finalists in the most prestigious of choral events, The Choir of the World Competition in Wales. Their 2003 tour to Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, saw The Australian Voices performing with Bobby McFerrin and Evelyn Glennie in concert in Berlin.

Stephen Leek and his music have also been recognised through the Sounds Australia National Award for the Most Distinguished Contribution to Australian Fine Music by an Individual, an Australia Council Fellowship, a Churchill Fellowship in recognition of his major achievements in Australian music and recently through the Australian Federation Medal in recognition of his contribution to the community through his music.


Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.

Stephen Leek : Island Songs : 01 Songbook : Stephen Leek :  : MM0409

Stephen Leek : Island Songs

Review: Three songs from the Torres Strait Islands to the north of Australia. The songs have been composed as adaptations of traditional songs and no attempt has been made to translate or interpret the text or language which these songs are traditionally sung but an attempt has been made to capture the essence and joy for singing which is central to the music making from this region. Includes Monkey and Turtle, Trade Winds and Morning Tide. Good for use in a high school choir or as a set of encore pieces for college or community choir.

Songlist: Monkey and Turtle, Trade Winds, Morning Tide

7938b 01 Songbook $2.95 World Music Arrangements

Stephen Leek : Aussie Songs : Sheet Music : Stephen Leek : 

Stephen Leek : Aussie Songs

Review: "Kumbargung" - One of the easiest and most immediately appealing from Stephen Leek's In Construction series. It is suitable for singers of all ages and uses indigenous Australian words that are spoken in rhythm at various pitch levels. "Kumbargung" means "night" and other evocative words include "ungi gungi" (grasshopper) and "goolay yali" (pelican). A delight for all ages! "Tunggare" means "voice" or "to sing" in an Australian dialect. This is a wonderful opening or closing to a concert. There is much repetition and very easy tenor and bass parts, so it is perfect for a high school choir (and other choirs as well!). It may also be used as a choral piece for audience participation. "Riawanna" is an Australian native word for "circles" and the piece is a do-it-yourself round with thousands of possibilities. It includes mixed meters. The final instruction in the accompanying notes says it all: "have fun".

Songlist: Kumbargung, Riawanna, Tunggare

7940b Sheet Music $6.50 World Music Arrangements

Stephen Leek : Songs Of Passage : Sheet Music : Stephen Leek : 

Stephen Leek : Songs Of Passage

Review: Stephen Leek's famous work from Songs of Passage. "Ngana" means "shark" and the piece strikingly captures the driving energies, rhythms and vivid colors of the island seascape found around the northeastern tip of Australia. Pronounced "ungahyullyull" meaning "hawk dreaming". The text reflects the thoughts of the sheep farmer herding his sheep, ever aware of the hawk circling overhead. The second of Stephen Leek's Songs of Passage, this is a highly evocative and beautiful composition using easy but effective modern compositional techniques. The music includes "boxes" of material for singers to work through as well as traditionally scored sections. The writing is easy to sing though it contains some chord clusters. Some song texts in an Australian Aboriginal language, some in English. Lots of fun here!

Songlist: Ngana, Ngayulyul, Coraparena, Ceduna, Tabulam

7939b Sheet Music $11.50 World Music Arrangements

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