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Peter Sculthorpe

'Brings in the sun'

Legendary Australian composer, Peter Sculthorpe, describes the development of his career.

This video was produced with funds donated by Tim Fairfax AC.

Peter Sculthorpe:  My mother being a schoolteacher, she taught us to be inventive, to create things.  I went to art lessons and learned how to draw and to paint, and then it was time to go to music lessons.  And I naturally thought I was supposed to write music, so I went home after my first lesson and struggled away writing music, and went back to my teacher the following week with my piece, and she was so furious that she caned me across the knuckles and said I had to stop that because all the composers were dead, and that was that.
 
So I wrote it under the bedclothes for a year with a torch at night.  I loved doing it, really.  And also it was like my secret.  After all, all the composers were dead, so I was being a composer, and I found that exciting.
 
One night my parents discovered me, and they said, that’s fine.  If that’s what I want to do, you know, do it.  They didn’t treat it as being anything special, which is good, because if they had I might have stopped.
 
Before Eric’s painting, most portraits by other artists that were done of me tended to be rather dark and expressionistic, whereas Eric’s painting brings in the sun, and there’s no anger there because I’m not an angry person anyway.  It’s a real painting of me.  It captures my heart, my soul, my spirit, my music, everything.