Tom Henry (born 1971) is an Australian composer whose works have been performed in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Canada.
His music is instantly recognisable for its signature sound: lyricism and dramatic inner tension, underscored by a sense of stillness.
Born in Melbourne, he began his musical career as a flautist. After obtaining a Masters Degree in Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts he embarked on a period of intensive overseas study with the French virtuoso Patrick Gallois. After returning to Australia in 2002 he held a number of positions including Associate Principal Flute with Orchestra Victoria, and Guest Principal Flute with many ensembles including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Pops Orchestra. He also worked extensively in opera, including tours with Opera Australia and Victorian Opera, and lectured in flute at the University of Melbourne from 2006 to 2009.
In recent years he is increasingly in demand and frequently commissioned as a composer. He completed his studies in harmony, counterpoint and composition with the late Australian composer Lawrence Whiffin (a former student of Rene Leibowitz). He then undertook orchestration studies with Dr Julian Yu, and further composition studies with Dr Stuart Greenbaum and Dr Elliott Gyger. He holds a Masters in Composition (2012) from the University of Melbourne, from which he received an Award for Best Composition Graduate.
His orchestral works include his arrangement of Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives, op.22, no.15 was performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under Kenneth Young in 2007. His Variations for orchestra in three movements (2009) won the APRA Prize in the 2010 3MBS National Composer Awards. Ancestors for orchestra (2011) was given its first performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, as part of a young composers workshop in October 2011.
His many works for piano include his Piano Sonata (2006, revised 2011), a Finalist in the 2011 American Liszt Society Bicentennial Composition Prize. It was given its first performance in May 2011 in Melbourne by Michael Kieran Harvey for ASTRA Chamber Music Society and a studio recording was released in 2012 on MOVE Records. More information, and an audio sample of the final movement ('Moto Perpetuo') is available at Move records.
Chamber works include a commission for Piano Trio for the Freshwater Trio (2009), and 'Time is another river' (after poems by Borges, Neruda and Machado) for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, for Syzygy Ensemble (2012). His works for string quartet include 'Scenes from a poet's life', jointly commissioned in 2015 by the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne Recital Centre for the Flinders Quartet, and ‘Shelley on the water’, commissioned by the Huon Quartet and given its first performances in Hobart and Melbourne in May/June 2016.
Works for voice include a Song Cycle for mezzo-soprano on Rilke’s Book of Images (“Das Buch der Bilder”) (2006), and the epic 'Kakadu Man - the words of Bill Neidjie', commissioned in 2015 by the Australian Chamber Choir, a setting of the words of the late Gagudju Elder, Bill Neidjie (1920-2002). After Australian performances in June 2015, the work toured Europe with 18 performances in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark during June and July, to critical acclaim (see PRESS).