Colin McKellar has a strong background in the practice of poetry/painting and music. A turning point in musical influence came in his late teens, listening to Experimental Free Jazz and taking trumpet lessons from an inspirational player.
Always with a yearning for being in the country, having grown up in a semi-rural environment, the opportunity to go to an art school in Gippsland, living in the hills around Boolarra and Mirboo North presented an ideal healing ground for the muddles of childhood. With some tertiary studies already in hand, to find an ad-hoc bunch of likeminded social-refugees, in a very free-thinking art school in a rural environment, has shaped an open horizon of artistic interest, without a predominance of technical and formalistic presumptions.
After almost a decade living in Gippsland, the last part up and down between the city and the country, there came some music studies at Box Hill TAFE college, and a short period at La Trobe University Music Department, quickly processing the analysis of contemporary classical music. Reading music had come only in his twenties, at an intensive Jamey Abersold Summer school with a number of top-notch American Players on the teaching staff, and after that a hellbent excursion into self-taught Jazz Theory. Playing and teaching piano and trumpet has acted as a point of leverage into ensemble writing.
Through this long learning journey there were numerous work experiences: factory work, farm work, kitchen-hand work, gardening work, and disability care work, as well as being a copy boy for a football newspaper.
Colin has now been involved in assisting to organize “Elbow Room” Series of Concerts for the Melbourne Composers League and has been a committee member for the last 6-7 years. To operate within a peer environment has been crucial, firstly at art school, and now as a member of the Melbourne Composer’s League. Through the Melbourne Composer’s League, he has enjoyed having a variety of pieces performed by some outstanding players. This has been an important learning experience, and led to wider awareness of developmental advancement in the art of, and enthusiasm for contemporary composition.
List of Compositions
- In a Short Time Dance/ Happily Deranged for solo piano (2002) – performed by Liselle Fernandez
- 12 HOURS for solo piano (2002) – performed by Robert Camberlain
- Molecular Life II for solo piano (2004)
- Nojm for solo piano (2005) – performed by Dana Czarski
- Catharsis in three episodes for piano duo (2006) – performed by Dana Czarski and Pat Morgan
- Top Pot for trumpet, organ & percussion (2009) – performed by Tristram Williams (trumpet), Andrew Blackburn (organ) and Eugene Ughetti (percussion)
- Stretch for solo piano (2010) – performed by Michael Kieran Harvey
- Fields of Colour for flute & percussion duo (2013) – performed by Johanna Selleck (flute), Peter Neville (percussion) and Steve Falk (percussion)
- Snake Belly Medicine Music for bass flute & double bass (2014) – performed by Peter Sheridan (bass flute) and Scott Mealy (double bass)
- Neon Sky for trumpet, percussion, piano & contrabass (2015) – performed by Tristram Williams (trumpet), Peter Neville (percussion), Michael Kieran Harvey (piano) and Ben Robertson (contrabass)
- Basket Weaving for solo piano (2015) – performed by Sandra Tan
- Scottish Dancing for solo piano (2016) – performed by Danaë Killian
- Ballet Moves for dancer & electric keyboard (2016) – performed by Chun-liang (dancer) and Sandra Tan (keyboard)
- Chicane for C flute & alto flute (2017) – performed by Johanna Selleck (C flute) and Livia Judge (alto flute)
- Short Piece for Two Low Flutes (2017) – performed by Peter Sheridan and Alice Bennett (bass and contrabass flutes)
- Spiral Four for three clarinets (2017) – performed by Andrew Fong (B flat clarinet), Tom D’Ath (E flat soprano clarinet) and Richard Shaw (bass clarinet)
- Birth Music for solo piano (2018) – performed by Danaë Killian
- Scrabble for viola & solo piano (2018) – performed by Barbara Hornung (viola) and Danaë Killian (piano)
- Piano Miniature for solo piano (2019) – performed by Danaë Killian (piano) and Belinda Rogers (images)
- Pentatonic Journeys for flute, violin, viola and piano (2021) – performed by Kat Tsyrlin (violin), Kate Worley (viola); Livia Judge (flute) and Danaë Killian (piano)
- Old Man Kangaroo for solo trumpet (2021) – performed by Hattie Channon