Biography

The AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER CHOIR was founded in 2007 by its current director, Douglas Lawrence OAM, founder and for 24 years, director of the Choir of Ormond College, University of Melbourne. Lawrence’s first venture with the Australian Chamber Choir was an acclaimed 20-concert tour of Europe,: “There are days when something of heaven seems to touch the earth. Thank you for giving us just one of those days” (Stefen Wegener, Presenter, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnisskirche Series, Berlin, July 14, 2007) “The Australian Chamber Choir inspired the audience with the finest choral music” (Ostfriesischer Kurier, July 19, 2007).

In its first ten years, The ACC has toured Europe six times, giving some hundred concerts . With a reputation for its “lucidly articulated” performances of Bach’s Motets, the choir has performed several times in St Thomas’, Leipzig, including in the Bach Organ Festival. Current Thomas-Organist, Ullrich Böhme said “of the many choirs visiting Leipzig, not many come up to our standard. The Australian Chamber Choir did”.

The performance of Australian compositions in Europe and Australia has become a hallmark. Douglas Lawrence commissions new works from his country’s most talented young composers and showcases them in the choir’s international touring programs, winning the outspoken praise of critics in the mainstream press: “In Australia, as in Europe, refugees are an important topic … Uncertain Journeys (Tom Henry, 2017) … illuminates the acuteness of this problem … Henry has created a richly evocative work in which the sounds of a surging sea form a backdrop … choral sound overlaps sprechstimme, resolving into wordless vocalises that seem to symbolise speechlessness in the face of overwhelming emotion. The choir delivered this harmonically demanding work … with the greatest security” (Echo, Darmstadt, July 2017), “Magnificent! Transporting!” (Schwäbische Zeiting), “Simply phenomenal” (General Anzeiger, Bonn).

In 2015, the choir was recognized as an honorary life member of Denmark’s oldest classical music festival, the Sorø International Music Festival, taking its place among such luminaries as Wilhelm Kempff, Anton Heiller, Gaston Litaize and Julian Bream and hailed in the Danish press under the heading “Australian Choir in the Super League”. (Dagbladet, Ringsted)

Australia’s foremost historian, Geoffrey Blainey wrote of the “tyranny of distance”, a geographical remoteness that has shaped the country’s cultural identity. The ACC, based in Melbourne, is committed to sharing fine music with those who live outside the capital cities. Every program performed in Melbourne is also presented in at least two rural centres.

Many of the choir’s concert programs have been recorded. The ACC is regularly broadcast on ABC Classic FM and can be heard in five commercial recordings.

 

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