21 Feb

Vale Nigel Butterley

Brian Howard, Nigel Butterley and Elliott Gyger

It is with great sorrow that we have received news at Wildbird of the death of Nigel Butterley.

Nigel was 86 and Australia’s senior composer. His life was dedicated to composition and his contribution to the canon of our music was of great beauty and substance.

For so long there was a triumvirate of Nigel Butterley, Richard Meale and Peter Sculthorpe and my connections to all three of them go back a long way, with so many memories of good times, not-so-good times and very human times in between. Now all three of them have gone.

Farewell, dear Nigel… we will remember you with love and affection,
Brian Howard

01 Dec

‘The Music of Nigel Butterley’ by Elliott Gyger reviewed by Timothy McKenry in Context Journal

The Music of Nigel Butterley by Elliott Gyger received a review in Context journal, Issue 40 (2015).  Reviewer Timothy McKenry writes:

The Music of Nigel Butterley provides scholars of Australian music with an invaluable resource that functions to contextualise, analyse and even advocate for Butterley’s music.

Read the full review via the Context website.

30 Apr

‘The Music of Nigel Butterley’ reviewed in ‘Tempo’

The Music of Nigel Butterley by Elliott Gyger received a review in Tempo journal, Volume 70, Issue 276, April 2016, pp. 103-104. Reviewer Alistair Noble writes:

This book is a valuable publication for promoting an understanding and appreciation of Butterley’s music but I sense that its importance goes beyond this: it helps us also to understand a great deal about the nature of non-tonal musical composition in the latter half of the twentieth century.

23 Oct

Forthcoming concert celebrating Nigel Butterley

We’re delighted to share the news about a very special forthcoming concert.  On 31 October 2015 at 7.30PM, Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, together with ABC Classic FM, will present From Sorrowing Earth, a concert celebrating composer Nigel Butterley in his 80th birthday year.

Butterley’s works From Sorrowing Earth – a symphony – and In the Head, the Fire – a radiophonic work – will be performed, along with From Joyous Leaves, a new concerto by Elliott Gyger for piano and orchestra, featuring soloist Zubin Kanga, and based on Butterley’s piano work Uttering Joyous Leaves.

The concert will take place at Iwaki Auditorium, ABC Centre (Cnr Stuart Street & Southbank Boulevard, Southbank, VIC). Tickets are FREE, and can be reserved online: http://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=153981

14 May


Saturday’s concert at the Canberra International Music Festival will be broadcast 8pm tonight (14 May 2015) on ABC Classic FM. Tune in to hear the world premiere of Brian Howard’s Full Fathom Five.  For those catching up on the broadcast on a later date, the link is:


Also, on Saturday 9 May 2015, author Elliott Gyger spoke with presenter Andrew Ford on ABC Radio National’s The Music Show about his book The Music of Nigel Butterley. The interview can now be downloaded/streamed at this link:


08 May

Book Presentation

Elliott Gyger with Nigel Butterley

Elliott Gyger with Nigel Butterley

While Elliott Gyger was in Sydney for the premiere of his opera Fly Away Peter by Sydney Chamber Opera this month he visited Nigel Butterley at his home to present him with a copy of his book, The Music of Nigel Butterley.

The Music of Nigel Butterley is the third volume in Wildbird’s Australian Composers series. After an extensive period of research, Gyger has written a book which examines all Butterley’s principal compositions, looking at his technique, style and musical language.

Written for music students, teachers and the interested public, this book has been released to coincide with Nigel Butterley’s 80th birthday.

We wish Nigel a very happy birthday… and we hope he enjoys reading his birthday book!!