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Ian Munro has emerged over recent years as one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians, with a career that has taken him to thirty countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia. His award in 2003 of Premier Grand Prix at the Queen Elisabeth International Competition for composers (Belgium) is a unique achievement for an Australian and follows on from multiple prizes in international piano competitions in Spain (Maria Canals), Italy (Busoni), Portugal (Vianna da Motta) and the UK, where his second prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 1987 established his international profile.

Since 2003, his works have been frequently heard all over Australia, with broadcasts on the ABC and BBC. Commissions from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra through a Symphony Australia residency led to ‘Blue Rags’ (2005), ‘Drought & Night Rain’ (2005) and ‘O Traurigkeit’ (2006), written for soloist Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello). In 2011 he was Featured Composer for Musica Viva’s international season, in which his piano trio ‘Tales from Old Russia’ (2008), String Quartet no.1, Clarinet Quintet and Piano Quintet no.2 were toured by the Eggner Trio, Brentano Quartet, Sabina Meyer and the Modigliano Quartet, and the Goldner Quartet with Munro as soloist. Other works have been written for Gondwana Voices, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Chorale, Flinders Quartet, Huntington Festival and Plexus.

In 2016, his flute concerto, commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, receives its premiere in November with soloist Prudence Davis. The song cycle ‘Three birds’, commissioned by Norma Hawkins for the Australia Ensemble, will be played in August with Sara MacLiver as soloist.

June 2016

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Kris Spike permalink
    February 10, 2009 12:02 pm

    Hi Ian,
    Having enjoyed your piano playing and compositions for some years now, I would like to send you a CD of my latest compositions for piano and winds. It has 5 quartets for fl cl ob pno one trio fl cl pno and one piece for fl pno. The other players are Diana Doherty, Deborah de Graaff and Leah Lock. One of the quartets won the runner up prize at the University of Canberra composition competition last year and is a tribute to the great black American singer Paul Robeson with sections evoking negro spirituals and Broadway show music. Another is called The Lorax’s Lament inspired by the Dr. Seuss classic children’s book. If you haven’t read this book it is a must for anyone concerned about the future of our planet. If you like it enough you may like to do it with the Australia Ensemble sometime. If you’re interested give me your postal address and I will send you the CD.
    Looking forward to your future performances and compositions.
    Kris Spike

  2. February 12, 2009 8:52 am

    Hi Chris. I’d be delighted to hear your music – I like your Gandalf’s Clock. And I’d like to hear your Dr Seuss music. You might like the Tove Jansson books about Moomin Trolls, Andy Ford put me onto them. Email me via my website Cheers

  3. August 27, 2011 6:59 am

    Hi Ian
    While driving home this afternoon I was listening to ABC radio and I thought the announcer said you were playing a peice by Rachmaninov called “A Child’s Day”.

    I have searched the web but cannot find it and was wondering if I heard the name of this music incorrectly. I would like to hear it again as it was a beautiful peice of music.

    Thank you and kind regards

    • September 10, 2011 11:33 am

      Hello Elly. Just got this message. I wasn’t aware of the broadcast but can tell you that the piece is by Grechaninov :)

      Best regards, Ian

  4. November 17, 2011 4:11 am

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I heard your Musica Viva composition in Adelaide the otehr night, and it was wonderful! Is there any way to buy a recording, or plans to release it as such?

  5. Kenneth Heeks permalink
    December 30, 2011 11:05 am

    Hi Ian

    Was fortunate to hear your new Clarinet Quintet in Perth with Sabina Meyer and the Modiglian String Quartet. What a stunning performance of a great clarinet piece. Your introduction was both interesting and informative.

    I would love to learn and perform this piece here in England adding it to the usual Mozart, Brahms, Weber and Somervell repertoire.

    Is the music available yet? and if so from where can I obtain it? Are there plans fora recording.


    Ken Heeks

  6. Joseph permalink
    January 15, 2014 4:01 am

    Hi Ian Monro,
    I was looking at your piece, “Return” for my HSC Music 2 work. Which AMEB grade is this piece relatively equal to? If it is easier than 7th grade, could you recommend another of your piece that is suitable for HSC around 3-5 mins? My email is

    Thank you,

    • January 15, 2014 10:45 am

      Hi Joseph,

      I would say about Grade 6, but this is a guess, as I’m not really up with AMEB guidelines these days. I tend to underestimate the difficulty of my music…

      Other pieces that might be suitable would be a couple of the rags: ‘Bad Girl’ and ‘China Rag’, although ‘China Rag’ is pretty hard. The second piece from ‘Letter to a Friend’ would do, too (‘I Sat Down by the River’).

      All the best, Ian

  7. Michael permalink
    January 16, 2014 6:02 am

    Hallo, Ian.

         Just read this enquiry by Joseph. I wasn’t aware that your music is available at all. Can you please tell me how I could get it? Do I get it on-line somewhere, or go to an old-fashioned seller of sheet music?
         What is the general style of your music? Is it avant-garde or strongly modern, or is it a little more approachable than that? I’m pretty open-minded about the styles of music I explore, but some avant-garde music can be a little difficult to understand, and much of it probably beyond my piano technique, too. And some of the neo-classical pieces around can be very dry and desiccated, too, so that, even when they seem to go through the usual procedures of tonality and classical technique, they can end up doing absolutely nothing for me. So an idea of the style(s) you use would be helpful.
         Thank you. (We met years and years ago and spoke a little about Katharine Parker, and you were kind enough to send me photocopies of her pieces, which I find most attractive; but I’m not sure if you’d remember that now.)

    Regards, Michael.

    • January 16, 2014 6:13 am

      Hi Michael, and of course I remember you very well, and you are forever linked with the Parker project, which is one of my happiest efforts. You, as I remember, were the one to supply me with some of the music (the ‘Nocturne’, I think).

      Have a look at my composer pages (listed in the menu column). There are samples of most things, with some audio as well.

      All the best,


  8. Joseph permalink
    January 16, 2014 6:53 am

    Hi Ian,
    Thank you very much for your reply. I have to do pieces with AMEB grade 8 up. I’m thinking of doing Bad Girl and either Zee Rag or Alexander Rags to make up 5minutes. What do you think? Could you tell me which rag is more difficult than the other? Thank you again.
    Kind regards,

  9. David Trainer permalink
    November 16, 2014 2:14 am

    Hi Ian, just loved your beautiful playing in the Hartmann Serenade broadcast from Melboure, divine.

    • November 19, 2014 12:30 pm

      Thanks so much David! As I said, what a find. A composer entirely unknown to me until a few weeks ago.

  10. David Trainer permalink
    November 21, 2014 8:39 am

    Of course that was Melbourne, silly fingers!

  11. Tim Dutton permalink
    April 18, 2016 5:02 am

    Hi Ian,

    I am currently learning Dismal Blues from Blue Rags. I was wondering why you decided to use an unfinished phrase from “God Save Our Queen”.

    Kind Regards,


    • April 18, 2016 8:39 am

      Great question and well spotted, Tim.

      The piece had its origins in an earlier project called The Whitlam Rags, a collective work by two other composers (Raffaele Marcellino, and Russell Gilmour) and myself. We were celebrating Gough Whitlam’s many achievements, and a few famous blips. ‘Dismal Blues’ was originally called ‘Dismissal Rag’. I imagine no further explanation is necessary.

      Glad you’re playing it, Tim, Hope it’s bringing you a modicum of pleasure.



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