David Young is a composer and was the Artistic Director of Chamber Made Opera from 2010 - 2013. During his time in the role, he transformed the company, remarkably commissioning more than 10 new Australian chamber operas, working with artists and musicians across the spectrum of arts practice and style. Chamber Made Opera’s Living Room Opera series is pioneering a new philanthropic approach to creating new work, and has attracted unprecedented media interest in Australia, and growing interest overseas. From the Living Room, these new operas are beginning to take to new venues, festivals and theatres, truly pushing the boundaries of what opera can be and how it can be presented.
David’s own work also has found a place in the living room: with Margaret Cameron he composed, directed and presented the Minotaur Trilogy, the first part of which premiered on Bruny Island as part of Ten Days on the Island. With musical and aesthetic interests that genuinely reach into all artforms, David’s composition has frequently extended beyond the merely aural. This approach is mirrored in his artistic direction, whether it be for the programming of a small dynamic arts company, or a large-scale festival such as Next Wave (David was director of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival in 2002).
David was the founding Artistic Director of Aphids which remains one of Australia’s most innovative cross-artform producing organisations. Over his 15 years in this role, David created performance projects with a great number of Australian and international artists. David is recognised as an innovator in the creation of coproduction relationships internationally, breaking new ground in projects created in Australia and Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. He has a national profile, creating and presenting work in major venues and festivals as well as working regionally and with communities. David’s mentoring of young and emerging artists has been consolidated in inspiring initiatives such as the Myer Foundation funded Aphids mentoring scheme which brokers the resources of national and international partners.
David’s music is performed in Australia, Europe and Asia, in contexts ranging from concerts to music theatre and installation. As a composer he is preoccupied with exploring the relationship between sound and image, employing intricate and often miniature formats in unconventional settings. The music has been variously described as ‘musical origami’, ‘accessible, yet satisfyingly abstract’ and ‘quietly determined to be itself … an aural equivalent of seeing a world in a grain of sand’.
His music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and musicians including the Ives Ensemble (The Netherlands), Fritz Hauser (Switzerland), Æquatuor (Switzerland), Norio Sato (Japan), Tosiya Suzuki (Japan), Yasutaka Hemmi (Japan), Manufacture Ensemble (Japan), Champ d’Action (Belgium), Ensemble 2000 (Denmark), and Australia’s Elision, The Song Company, Libra Ensemble, Australian Youth Orchestra, Speak Percussion, Michael Kieran Harvey, Ensemble Offspring and Aphids.
Together with instrument artist Rosemary Joy, David was commissioned by the Slagwerkgroep Den Haag in The Netherlands to present Underground for miniature percussion, which toured to The Hague Festival Classique, Bains::Connective in Brussels, Castel Burio in Italy and Yakumo Honjin in Japan in 2007.
David composed for and co-curated Schallmachine 06 & 07 in Melbourne and Basel, with percussionist Fritz Hauser and architect Boa Baumann. Other collaborative projects include Ricefields, an electro-acoustic installation/performance which toured Australia, France and Japan; Radio 1, percussion/theatre event featuring the world premiere live performance of Beckett’s radio play of the same name; Maps, a music theatre film text collaboration between Aphids and its sister company in Denmark with performances in Melbourne (November 2000) and Copenhagen (October 2002); and Music at Mt Egerton in an old clay mine in regional Victoria, Australia.
In 2005, the multimedia work Skin Quartet toured to four continents: Sydney, the USA, Belgium and South Africa. David composed and produced for multimedia artist Matthew Gardiner’s Oribotics since 2005. Early in 2004, David undertook an Asialink residency in Indonesia with W. S. Rendra’s Bengkel Theater. He led the Aphids residency at the MUSiCLAB program at Bains::Connective, a socio-artistic laboratory based in an art deco, disused, indoor swimming pool in the Moroccan quarter of Brussels. David then produced the acclaimed production of A Quarreling Pair at La Mama as part of the 2004 Melbourne International Arts Festival, which has gone to have three subsequent sellout seasons at the Malthouse Theatre, La Mama New York and Teatro Patalogico in Rome.
In 2000 David curated music for Ice Carving as part of the Melbourne Festival, and the following year created the miniature opera and sound installation Overheard at Inveresk for Ten Days on the Island. In 2002 he was festival director of Next Wave, Melbourne’s multi-artform festival which showcased new work by over 600 young artists.
David has served on many boards and committees including the New Music Network (Sydney), RealTime Open City, the Australian Music Centre and Chamber Made Opera. He is a member of the Truscott Design Circle, and was also co-founder of the charity SoFA (Social Firms Australia) which assists organisations to set up businesses that employ people with disabilities.
Photo: © Margaret Cameron & David Young