|Colin Brumby (b. 1933) graduated from the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music in 1957, and studied advanced composition with Philipp Jarnach in Spain and Alexander Goehr in London. Returning to Australia, he joined the staff of the Music Department at the University of Queensland where he was the youngest Senior Lecturer appointed up to that time.
As Musical Director of the newly formed Queensland Opera Company from 1968 to 1971, Brumby helped lay the foundations of permanent opera in Queensland. He conducted Australian premieres of works including Haydn's L'infedelta delusa and Bizet's Dr.Mirâcle, as well as writing a series of highly successful children's operettas toured throughout Queensland by the Queensland Opera Company in association with the Arts Council of Australia.
In 1972 he studied composition with Franco Evangelisti in Rome, having received his Doctorate of Music the previous year from the University of Melbourne.
On returning to Australia, Brumby was commissioned by Musica Viva to compose a work for the 1974 tour of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. The result, The Phoenix and the Turtle for string orchestra and harpsichord, also marked the composer's return to tonality.
In 1981 Brumby was awarded one of the first Advance Australia Awards for services to music. He retired from his position as Associate Professor with the University of Queensland in 1998.
Brumby's diverse range of music includes operas, concertos, two symphonies, several orchestral suites and overtures, chamber works, sonatas for flute, clarinet and bassoon, film and ballet scores and songs. Many of his works have been commissioned for specific occasions: Paean served as a showpiece for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra during the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 1982 while South Bank Overture was commissioned for the 1984 opening of the Concert Hall in the Queensland Cultural Centre. He has also written numerous choral works, including Victimae Paschali (commissioned by Pro Musica in Brisbane), and Three Baroque Angels (commissioned for the 30th Intervarsity Choral Festival).
Many of his works are available on CDs produced by the ABC as well as on the JADE label (Broad Music, NSW) and GREVILLEA (Brisbane).
He is published by Allans, Currency Press, HL Music and MusicLine in Australia, Fentone and Yorke Editon in the UK., and Hal Leonard (Walton Choral), Cantica Nova and Theodore Presser in the USA. His unpublished works are available from the Australian Music Centre. In collaboration with Jenny Dawson, he has recently written four Musicals for schools available from Musicline.
Further references to Colin Brumby are found in the Oxford Companion to Australian Music, Contemporary Composers (London: St. James Press, 1992), and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Biography provided by the composer and current to 2005