Brisbane-based classical guitarist, composer and educator, Duncan Gardiner, has emerged as an innovative and creative musician with expertise in many fields. Having released four studio albums, published a book of original compositions and toured internationally, Duncan has been described as “exceedingly talented” (Julian Day, ABC Classic FM) and as “an excellent ambassador for the classical guitar”. His playing has been described by audiences as “delicate, serene and magical”, while William Yeoman (The West), described his compositions as “extraordinarily attractive” and “a pleasure to listen to and a delight to play”. Duncan was honoured to be included in Ron K. Payne’s publication The Twang Dynasty, a history of notable Australian performers.
Duncan’s debut album Of Dreams and Fantasy impressed Chris Dumigan (Classical Guitar Magazine, UK) who exclaimed: “I must say that this is one of the very best CDs of guitar music to ever come my way... I have returned to this CD more than most others just for the sheer pleasure of it. This is a startlingly good disc!”. It is no wonder that it was voted ‘CD of the Week’ in the West Australian newspaper. In reviewing Incense & Arabie, Rosalind Appleby (Noted), stated: “the works are pensive, melodically exquisite and immaculately performed and produced”. Each of his albums receives regular national airplay on ABC Classic FM as well as a range of local stations.
Duncan’s guitar and piano duo, mimi duo, gave the world premiere of his very own A thousand cranes beat their wings at the 5th Anniversary Tsunami Disaster Charity Concert at the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall before an audience of 2000 as part of his 2016 tour of Japan. Recitals across Hong Kong (for Premiere Performances Hong Kong), WA’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions and Melbourne and regional Victoria (for Musica Viva in Schools) were additional highlights of 2016. Duncan performed with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and WA Opera alongside recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey in the Perth season of Iain Grandage’s opera The Riders.
Duncan’s compositions are garnering much interest; his violin concerto was premiered by international soloist Alexandre Da Costa and his Piano Trio was performed by Magellan (featuring Paul Wright, Faith Maydwell and Sacha McCulloch). He has been commissioned to write new music for The National Trust of Australia as well as Rossmoyne Senior High School. In 2014, the Western Australian Youth Orchestra’s Sinfonietta premiered his commission Sharp Light and Spirals at the Perth Concert Hall. His Dance (like nobody’s watching) was premiered by the Newman College concert band and choir at the Sydney Opera House and two of his orchestral suites were premiered by the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra. Of these works, Neville Cohn (The West) said “These works reveal evidence of a real creative gift. They are written with real understanding of what works in rhythmical and sonic terms. Whether lulling or emphatic, they delighted the ear”. Additionally, some of his compositions were chosen for the exam syllabi of the Australian Guild of Music and Speech.
Duncan published a book of original works titled Of Dreams and Fantasy. Reviewer, Uroš Dojčinović, (SOUNDBOARD, USA) wrote “this is a very enjoyable collection with a wide range of different pieces, presented in a traditional way that can easily amuse not just the listeners but also the performers”.
Duncan is currently completing a Master of Music Research at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University under the internationally acclaimed guitarist, Karin Schaupp. He has previously studied in Western Australia with Dr Jonathan Paget, Dr John Casey, Graham Hall and Robbie-Ann Rossi. In 2006 he graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Music Performance from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, where he was the recipient of the Helen Court Scholarship and the Faculty Medal. Duncan received the Licentiate of Music Diploma with distinction from the Australian Music Examinations Board, where he also won the J.B. Vincent Memorial Prize for being the most outstanding candidate. He has played in masterclasses for Karin Schaupp, David Leisner, Laura Young, Dale Kavanagh, Judicaël Perroy, Nicholas Goluses, Aleksandr Tsiboulski and Adrian Walter.
Duncan is thrilled to be able to encourage the next generation of young guitarists through his work as an educator in schools and an as adjudicator at a number of prestigious music festivals and eisteddfods. Duncan performs on guitars made by renowned luthiers Manuel Velasquez, Paul Sheridan and Graham Caldersmith.
“Whether couched in gently melancholic terms or moments of intensity, it’s clear that Gardiner has something worthwhile to say. His music deserves to be taken up by other musicians. I’d like to listen to it again – and again.” Neville Cohn (The West).