Andrew Schultz was born in Adelaide in 1960 and grew up in regional NSW and Victoria before his family moved to Brisbane where he completed his secondary schooling. His teachers and mentors included Colin Brumby, George Crumb, David Lumsdaine and Luciano Berio and he studied at the Universities of Queensland, Pennsylvania and King’s College London. His music covers a broad range and has been performed, recorded and broadcast by leading groups and musicians internationally. Schultz has been the recipient of various awards in Australia and overseas, including Australia Council Fellowships, Fulbright Award, Commonwealth Scholarship, Paul Lowin Prize, Schueler Composition Award, Maggs Award and the APRA Music Award.
Schultz has been especially engaged in a series of large-scale dramatic works, several of which incorporate parts for indigenous singers. His three operas (Black River, Going Into Shadows and The Children’s Bach) have been presented live and on film internationally. Black River (1988) was awarded the Australian National Composer Opera Award and, in its film version, the Grand-Prix, Opera Screen at Opera-Bastille, Paris. Critics noted the vitality and energy in the staged and filmed work. “There are moments inBlack River,…which for a comfortable white audience are among the most shattering one could come across in the opera theatre." [Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald]. "There is a skilful interweaving of dramatic statements and reflective interludes and the urgent, percussive rhythms propel the drama to an undecided conclusion. As in life, the story continues." [Jill Sykes, Vogue Australia]. "A landmark in culture." [Michael Hutak, SMH] The three act Going Into Shadows (2000), commissioned by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, was premiered in London and Australia in 2001 and was again to a libretto by his sister, Julianne Schultz. Critics noted it as “a powerful modern drama that is both sharp, thought-provoking and relevant…as fine a piece of modern composition as you could wish to hear.” [Suzannah Conway, The Courier Mail]. “The London premiere was fascinating. The many effects and colours in the piece are used brilliantly to highlight the psychological motivation and the cultural background of the characters.” [Dominic Sewell, Opera Now]. “Pedal tones anchor each scene and setting, and the ravishing orchestration is suffused more with modal fear than minimalist sumptuousness.” [Vincent Plush, The Australian]. “For as long as I live I will not forget the second performance of Going into Shadows…life is not always just froth and bubble and great art, which I believe this opera is, reflects and drives home some tough human truths.” [Patricia Kelly,Opera-Opera]. The Children’s Bach (2007), based on a novel by Helen Garner (libretto, Glenn Perry), was commissioned with Australia Council support and had its premiere in 2008 with Chamber Made Opera in Melbourne and has been described as “utterly original.” [Cameron Woodhead, The Age].
Journey to Horseshoe Bend is a cantata premiered in 2003 by the Sydney Symphony and released since by ABC Classics. The libretto by Gordon Kalton Williams was drawn from the book of the same name by anthropologist TGH Strehlow. “The hour-long work sprawls as vast and languidly as the continent of its setting. Whispered voices and snatches of Aranda chants and Bach chorales recreate the miasma of delirious thoughts in the head of the dying pastor. When both cultures sing their version of Bach’s Wachet auf! – in the Aranda hymnal, it is simply known as No. 309, Kaarrerrai worlanparinya … - a great cultural divide, a cultural chasm centuries long seems to have been breached. The capacity audiences in the two Opera House performances greeted the new work with sustained ovations.” [Gramophone]. "This cantata contains some of the most touching music I have heard in an Australian work.” [SMH]. “Schultz's stunning evocation of the harsh outback is one of the many strong points in this rich and diverse work." [NZ Listener]. Another large-scale work is a version of the Song of Songs. Scored for 18 voices the work was commissioned by ABC Radio and The Song Company for their twentieth birthday and had its first performance at the Sydney Opera House in 2004. A “setting of a modern recrafting by the Melbourne poet Barry Hill of the original biblical text, succeeds in creating something new in the world of choral sound” ” and “a soaring, richly woven and effusive sound fabric." [SMH]. Other works for The Song Company include Ekstasis(1990) and Wild flower (2006). Ekstasis “was originality indeed, with a multitude of anguished, increasingly urgent and complex sounds emerging from a silence that itself added a dimension, finally sinking into calm… ecstasy in a sensual, sexual sense, musically transcribed.” [SMH].
Chamber works have also been acclaimed. Barren Grounds (1988): “as a whole seems to me music of exceptionally high originality and abundant invention." [Peter Platt, Sounds Australian]. Stick Dance II (1989): its “movement through time is light and airy, almost weightless, like a glittering dance?” [American Record Guide]. Dead Songs (1991): “is a work of art of a high order, adroitly shaped to...lead to an ending of universal resonance. Its first performance...affirmed the creative poise of a composer who feels sufficient confidence in his own judgment to write not a single note more than is absolutely necessary...[A] vital, spellbinding experience." [Roger Covell, SMH]; and, a “young composer who writes music of substance and expression. His Dead Songs is a long, complex, and very satisfying setting of adaptations of epitaphs seen at seaside cemeteries in New South Wales...it is tightly composed and expressively executed.” [American Record Guide]. Barcarole (1992): “Wrought, and very effective…and truly melancholy, not an ascription one can often make to any recent music, let alone a miniature.” [Chris Dench, Sounds Australian]. 12 Variations (1997): “atmospheric, expressive, and personal…commanding, sensitive, hypnotic, and remarkable for its range of textural sonority.” [Sarah Grunstein, Music Forum]. Tonic Continent (2000): “conjured up images of vastness...rumbling piano delineating the space between echoing strings.” [William Dart, New Zealand Herald].
Schultz’s recent commissions, Once upon a time… (2006), Endling(2007) and Ghosts of Reason – Symphony No. 2 (2008) had their respective premieres in Brisbane with The Queensland Orchestra/Mills, in Hobart with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Volmer and with the Adelaide Symphony/Volmer. ABC Classics have recently recorded Endling and Once upon a time… in addition to the Violin Concerto (1996) with Jennifer Pike as soloist. Other recent releases include a second volume of chamber music on Tall Poppies and a disc of Schultz’s vocal music with the Song Company. New compositions in 2009 include Beach Burial for Philharmonia Choirs, Magnificat for Sydney Chamber Choir and two song cycles, To the evening star and Stille Sprache.
Schultz has held posts and residencies including as Head of Composition and Music Studies at the Guildhall School of Music (London), Professor of Composition and Dean of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong (Australia), a visiting lecturer at the Norwegian Academy of Music (Oslo) and Osaka School of Music (Japan), Artist in Residence – Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), and Visiting Fellow – Institute for Advanced Musical Studies, University of London. He is currently Professor of Music and Head of the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. He has also served as Chair of the Arts NSW Music Committee, Chair of the Australian Music Centre Board and Editor of the Biographical Directory of Australian Composers. Schultz is represented by Arts Management, Sydney, Australia.