Born January 17th 1977, Freeman McGrath grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Having played piano since the age of six, he took up composition late in his teenage years, and was subsequently accepted into a Composition degree at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 1994. During this course of study he learnt from Gerard Brophy and Stephen Cronin, and was awarded the Composition prize in his first year. Later in 1996 he received a commission from the Lyrebird Ensemble in Mackay to compose a 10-minute work for String Orchestra, and in 1997 joined 14 other composers in Darwin to participate in the Darwin International Guitar Festival’s Composer Workshops, resulting in the workStylin which was later revised for guitar quartet. Freeman McGrath also participated in the Griffith University Collegiat Singers, from whom he was commissioned in 1996 to write the work Noongah Girl, using a poem of the same title by Aboriginal poet Graeme Dixon.
Upon graduating from QCM in 1997, McGrath continued his output by becoming one of the founding members of the composer partnership, COMPOST. The COMPOST composers are an independent, Brisbane-based organisation who have been producing a series of diverse concerts containing their own works since graduating from their degrees. Completely self-promoted and self-produced, these concerts have ranged from programs of guitar works in a vineyard setting, to larger scale productions for 35-piece amplified super-orchestra.
McGrath has also contributed music towards several collaborative multi-media projects, including La Boite Theatre’s 1999 Newboards Festival for short plays, and the 1997 Brisbane Fringe Festival. More recently, he participated in a short course at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. Composing by Heart introduces composers to the art of responding to the dramaturgy of a film through music. Most recently, McGrath has been accepted into the Australian Composers' Orchestral Forum, a program designed and coordinated by the Australian Music Centre in partnership with Symphony Australia. The program aims to develop and refine the orchestral writing skills of the selected composers over two years, and is presently being hosted by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in Perth.