Brisbane-based classical guitarist, composer, researcher and educator, Duncan Gardiner, has emerged as an innovative 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 of his compositions, Neville Cohn (The West) said: “His works reveal evidence of a real creative gift. Whether lulling or emphatic, they delight the ear”. 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 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.
Fresh from a feature performance at the inaugural Classical Guitar Festival Sydney, Duncan also toured extensively throughout Japan, Singapore, NSW, QLD and WA in 2017. 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 highlights for 2016. In 2016 Duncan made his Japan debut with his duo mimi duo, and also performed with the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra and WA Opera alongside recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey in the Perth season of Iain Grandage’s The Riders. Duncan has previously performed many of the great guitar concerti, including those of Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Torroba, Carulli and Vivaldi as well as Nigel Westlake’s Antarctica.
Duncan’s violin concerto was premiered by international soloist Alexandre Da Costa. His piano trio was performed by Magellan with review, Neville Cohn, (The West) stating: “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.” His work Stone, Shell, Bone and Feather, commissioned by The National Trust of Australia went on to win a top honour at the Museums and Galleries National Awards in 2017. “Duncan was commissioned by the National Trust to write an original composition as a contemporary response to the graves, and the Perth Guitar Quartet presented the world premiere of it. The moving range of music explored sorrow, hardship, pain and loss…”. In 2016 his Lost Lakes suite was commissioned by Rossmoyne Senior High School. It was premiered in Perth before being toured across Italy. 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 commissioned by the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra.
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”. William Yeoman (The West), described this collection as “extraordinarily attractive” and “a pleasure to listen to and a delight to play”. Some of the pieces were chosen for the exam syllabi of the Australian Guild of Music and Speech.
Duncan is currently completing a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) at the Queensland Conservatorium (Griffith University) studying under internationally renowned guitarist, Karin Schaupp, where he is researching guitar activities in colonial Queensland. From his research has sprung the Enoggera Ensemble, a quartet comprising guitars (Duncan Gardiner and Dominic Ward), mandolin (Marissa Carroll) and banjo (Joel Woods), which is dedicated to the revival and reinterpretation of historical works that were once performed by guitar and mandolin ensembles in Queensland’s colonial days.
Duncan has played in masterclasses for Judicaël Perroy, David Leisner, Laura Young, Dale Kavanagh, Nicholas Goluses and Adrian Walter. 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.
Duncan is thrilled to be able to encourage the next generation of young guitarists through his work as an educator through his role as sessional classical guitar teacher at Queensland Conservatorium’s Young Conservatorium program. Duncan performs on guitars made by renowned luthiers Jim Redgate, Manuel Velasquez and Graham Caldersmith.