Duncan Gardiner is a Brisbane-based classical guitarist, composer, researcher and educator who 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 his compositions “reveal evidence of a real creative gift… whether lulling or emphatic, they delight the ear” (Neville Cohn, The West). 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 his follow up release, 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.
In 2018 he was thrilled to be a soloist in Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz with the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra. 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 Suite. In 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. Fresh from a feature performance at the Classical Guitar Festival Sydney, Duncan toured extensively throughout Japan, QLD and WA in both 2017 and 2018 in addition to concerts in Singapore and NSW 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.
Duncan’s violin concerto was premiered by international soloist Alexandre Da Costa in 2017. His piano trio was performed by Magellan in the same year with reviewer, 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. The composition responded to graves at the East Perth Cemeteries, exploring sorrow, hardship, pain and loss. In 2016 a commission by Rossmoyne Senior High School lead to the creation of Lost Lakes Suite which was toured across Italy. In 2014 the Western Australian Youth Orchestra premiered his commission Sharp Light and Spirals at the Perth Concert Hall. His Dance (like nobody’s watching) was commissioned premiered by the Newman College concert band and choir at the Sydney Opera House. Two orchestral suites were commissioned and performed by the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra. Duncan’s book of original works titled Of Dreams and Fantasy was favourably reviewed by Uroš Dojčinović (SOUNDBOARD, USA) who 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”. Likewise, William Yeoman (The West), described the collection as “extraordinarily attractive” and “a pleasure to listen to and a delight to play”. Some of the pieces are represented in 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 plucked string ensembles in Queensland. He won the coveted 2017 Queensland Conservatorium ‘Guitar Prize’. 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. In 2004 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 that year. Duncan has played in masterclasses for Judicaël Perroy, David Leisner, Laura Young, Dale Kavanagh, Nicholas Goluses and Adrian Walter. Duncan is thrilled to be able to encourage the next generation of young guitarists through his work as an educator through his role as a classical guitar teacher for Queensland Conservatorium’s Open Conservatorium program. He is also sought after as an adjudicator for youth music festivals and eisteddfodau. Duncan performs on guitars made by renowned luthiers Jim Redgate, Manuel Velasquez and Graham Caldersmith.