Ross Edwards is an Australian composer who has written orchestral and chamber music, choral music, children's music, opera, and film music, among other genres. His distinctive sound environment demonstrates his involvement in deep nature and his conviction in the need to re-establish music's common associations with ritual and dance, as well as reconcile it with primal powers. He also understands the significance of music as a calming tool. His music is universal in that it is concerned with age-old mysteries affecting mankind, but it is also linked to its origins in Australia, whose cultural diversity it embraces and whose natural world, especially birdsong and mystical patterns and drones of insects, it draws inspiration from. He is mindful of the thrilling promise of this enormous area as a composer living and working on the Pacific Rim. Ross Edwards, who is reclusive by temperament, has generally avoided pursuing a professional direction, neglecting to advance his job and instead adapting to the inner dictates of his vocation. He has an acute sense of location and belonging, claiming to build on his background as a musician living and operating in Australia and referring to the environment from an Australian viewpoint. He is based in Sydney and frequently retreats to live in the Blue Mountains west of the region. Edwards' music, far from being isolationist, is also strongly diverse, making oblique references to a broad variety of cultures in what he defines as an intuitive quest for harmony inside plurality. He has also claimed that "the natural world remains the ultimate generative power" underpinning all of his songs.
Edwards faced an unexpected recession in the early 1970s. He was unable to write for many years after being disenchanted with European music at the time, which was in decline owing to the fading of the Modernist revolution. In 1974, he relocated with his wife and baby son to the village of Pearl Beach, north of Sydney, where his sister-in-law had a holiday home, after returning to Australia owing to his mother's terminal illness while lecturing at the Sydney Conservatorium. Pearl Beach, which was next to the teeming Brisbane Water National Park, had an immediate impact on him and his career. Edwards' transition to Pearl Beach resulted in a shift from the ferocious complexity of some of his earlier work to a collection of austere, meditative compositions focused on near listening to and contemplation of the dynamic sound of the natural world coupled with his reading of Zen texts and commentaries, which became recognised as his Sacred Series.
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