David Pye portrait

"a composer is a machine
for turning
coffee into music"

David Pye bio

David Pye is one of WA's most experienced musicians, working as a composer, percussionist and conductor for over three decades. As musical director of various organisations, his programming reflects a policy of the encouragement of local composers combined with a practical acknowledgement of the importance of audience and musicians' enjoyment of their music-making.

In 1983 David founded Nova Ensemble to perform the classical music of the twentieth century and oversaw the development of the group into Western Australia's leading contemporary music ensemble, commissioning, writing, performing and recording music primarily by local composers. In 2002 he formed pi to specifically focus on the use of strings, reeds and percussion in an improvisational context.

As a composer David has been commissioned by many organizations including PIAF, Tura New Music, ABC, Buzz Dance Theatre, TaikOz, Tetrafide Percussion and Barking Gecko Theatre Company.

Recent developments include the use of pre-recorded environmental sounds in his concert music - karakamia [large chamber ensemble and taped environmental sounds], their kind of moon [a solo for marimba and taped frogs], cicadan rhythms [orchestra and sounds of the south-west karri forests] and transect [string orchestra and sounds of the sea, city, bush and desert], and the use of free improvisation as both textural and structural elements in his compositions. Over the past five years an increasing use of narrative, poetic, abstract and percussive text has been a feature of many works.

David's music-theatre work The Drummers of Gilgamesh was awarded the Australian Music Centre/Australian Performing Rights Association Award for Instrumental Work of the Year for 2002. In 2004 his percussion duet wacke won the Rhythmscape Composition Competition. Most recently his recorder quartet Monet's Bridge won the Moeck National Recorder Composition Competition.

In November 2010, three of his percussion scores [rebana loops, their kind of moon, and panchavadyam] were featured at the Percussive Arts Society's International Conference in the U.S.

In 2011, Nova Ensemble presented his opera into the SHIMMER HEAT [co-written with Lee Buddle and Phil Thomson] at the WA State Theatre Centre. Bunuba Films commissioned music/sound design for their production of Jandamarra [presented at various venues in the Kimberley in mid-2011]. In addition, he has recently completed a new work to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra.

In 1985 David was first invited to conduct for the West Australian Ballet Company, and in the following year joined the company as Resident Conductor. From 1988 to 1996, David was Musical Director of the West Australian Mandolin Orchestra. In 1998 he was appointed Musical Director of the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra and since then has conducted many programs for the orchestra, highlights including Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and symphonies by Mahler, Shostakovitch, Bruckner, Elgar and Sibelius.

In 2014 David was also appointed Musical Director of the Philharmonic South-West, travelling to Bunbury weekly for rehearsals. Keen to build the orchestra in both size, repertoire and community out-reach, he inaugurated the Ferguson Music Trail - a day of clasical music concerts presented by community musicians in many different venues including wineries, restaurants, and art galleries in the picturesque Ferguson Valley, The orchestra now regularly collaborates in concert with the South West Opera Company, Bunbury City Band, local dance companies, and instrumental and vocal soloists.