Award-winning Australian composer Nigel Westlake, born in Sydney on 6 September 1958, studied clarinet with his father, Donald Westlake, who was principal clarinettist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1961 until 1979. Nigel left school early to persue a music performance career, touring the world with ballet companies, a circus troupe, chamber music groups and fusion bands.
In the late 1970s he formed a classical / jazz-rock / world-music fusion band to play original music, and his interest in composition dates from this time, when he also started to receive offers to write music for radio and circus. Commissions for TV and film followed.
In 1983 he studied contemporary music in The Netherlands, and from 1987 until 1992 he played clarinet with the Australia Ensemble, resident at the University of New South Wales. In 1992 he joined guitarist John Williams' group 'Attacca' as performer and composer, for tours in Australia and the United Kingdom. Since then he has concentrated primarily on composition.
In 1997 he made his conducting début with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Film credits include Miss Potter, Babe, Babe - Pig in the City, Children of the Revolution, A Little Bit of Soul, The Nugget and Imax films Antarctica, Imagine, The Edge and Solarmax. Babe and Miss Potter were international hits, and his score for Miss Potter won several awards.
Omphalo Centric Lecture (1984) for percussion quartet has become on one of the most frequently performed and recorded works in the percussion repertoire.
CD Spotlight. Superlative Performances - Nigel Westlake's 'The Hinchinbrook Riffs', recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... essential listening for anyone interested in new music.'
CD Spotlight. An impressive achievement - 'Mirrors of Fire' by Tim Kain, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. 'Kain's playing is marvellous.'