The University of Western Australia

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James Ledger

Mr James Ledger

Associate Lecturer
Academic Staff (Music)

Contact details
Academic Staff (Music)
The University of Western Australia (M413)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2183
Personal homepage
The orchestral music of James Ledger is well known to Australian concertgoers. His first work for orchestra, Indian Pacific (1996), is still regularly performed around the country.

Since then, Ledger has been resident with many orchestras and institutions including the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (New Zealand) and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. From 2007 to 2009 he was composer-in-residence with his home orchestra - the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Ledger has written much instrumental music and “has established an impressive reputation as a symphonic composer” (The Australian). Ledger has also received commissions from Australia’s leading chamber ensembles including the Australian String Quartet for whom he wrote Processions which The Australian described as “a triumph”.

The Monthly Magazine listed Ledger’s orchestral work Chronicles as one of 20 Australian Masterpieces since 2000, describing it as “a piece of emotional extremes in which everything is in balance”. In 2011, the work was awarded Work of the Year: Orchestral in the APRA/Australian Music Centre Art Music Awards. In 2014, his violin concerto Golden Years won the same award.

Ledger was composer-in-residence at the Australian National Academy of Music in 2011. This led to a collaboration with songwriter Paul Kelly. The result was the ARIA award-winning song-cycle Conversations with Ghosts. The CD was released on ABC Classics.

James Ledger studied French horn at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. In 2008, he was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research contemporary compositional practice with a particular focus on new music in Estonia. He is currently lecturer in composition at the University of Western Australia.

2015 saw the premiere of two large orchestral works: War Music to mark the ANZAC centenary commemorations for the Sydney and New Zealand symphony orchestras, and Simpler Times for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

2016 sees the Canadian premiere of Two Memorials by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. There is also a new work being premiered by the Melbourne and Adelaide symphony orchestras, and he is also the composer-in-residence at the Four Winds Festival, Bermagui, New South Wales

For more information please visit

Key research
Ledger, James Abandoned drive-in - 2002
ISMN: 979-0-720125-53-4
Ledger, James All hail the machine : for bass clarinet and live - 2011
ISMN: 979-0-720132-88-4
Ledger, James Arcs and planes 2009
ISMN: 979-0-67309-783-4
Ledger, James Bell weather - 2008
ISMN: 979-0-67309-592-2
Ledger, James Chronicles - 2009
ISMN: 979-0-67309-768-1
Ledger, James Crossing the ditch - 2005
ISMN: 979-0-67309-593-9
Ledger, James Devils on the underground : for trumpet and live - 2010
ISMN: 979-0-720156-95-8
Ledger, James Fall from grace - 2003
ISMN: 979-0-67309-594-6
Ledger, James Folk Song / James Ledger - 2007
ISMN: 979-0-67309-604-2
Ledger, James Golden years : concerto for violin and orchestra - 2013
ISMN: 979-0-720144-11-5
Ledger, James Habits of creatures - 2004
ISMN: 979-0-67309-595-3
Ledger, James Horn concerto - 2005
ISMN: 979-0-67309-596-0
Ledger, James Igor's drum. - 2013
ISMN: 979-0-720145-83-9
Ledger, James In orbit - 2011
ISMN: 979-0-720125-54-1
Ledger, James Inscriptions : for piano trio - 2006
ISMN: 979-0-67309-597-7
Ledger, James Line drawing - 2005
ISMN: 979-0-67309-598-4
Ledger, James Madness and death of King Ludwig - 2007
ISMN: 979-0-67309-579-3
Ledger, James Mean ol' world - 2004
ISMN: 979-0-67309-599-1
Ledger, James Neon - 2010
ISMN: 979-0-67309-776-6
Ledger, James News, weather and dreams - 2014
ISMN: 979-0-720152-74-5
Ledger, James Outposts : concerto for bassoon and orchestra - 2010
ISMN: 979-0-720125-51-0
Ledger, James Peeling - 2004
ISMN: 979-0-67309-601-1
Ledger, James Processions : for string quartet - 2011
ISMN: 979-0-720125-50-3
Ledger, James Prophecy songs : for voice and ensemble - 2008
ISMN: 979-0-720125-52-7
Ledger, James Quickening : for vibraphone and live electronics - 2010
ISMN: 979-0-720128-69-6
Ledger, James Rashomon confessions - 2009
ISMN: 979-0-720125-55-8
Ledger, James Restless night - 2008
ISMN: 979-0-67309-603-5
Ledger, James See how they run : for solo violin and portable CD or MP3 player - 2012
ISMN: 979-0-720145-66-2
Ledger, James Trumpet concerto - 2007
ISMN: 979-0-67309-602-8
Ledger, James Two fanfares for brass - 2005
ISMN: 979-0-67309-605-9
Ledger, James Two memorials (for Anton Webern and John Lennon) / James Ledger. - 2011
ISMN: 979-0-720125-91-6
Richard Wagner Vorspiel und Isoldens liebestod : arrangement for voice and eleven instruments / arranged by James Ledger. - 2013
ISMN: 979-0-720135-54-0
Ledger, James When Chaplin met Einstein - 2014
ISMN: 979-0-720152-75-2
Honours and awards
2014 APRA/AMC Orchestral Work of the Year for Golden Years
2013 ARIA Award for Conversations with Ghosts
2012 APRA/AMC Orchestral Work of the Year, State Award for Two Memorials
2011 APRA/AMC Orchestral Work of the Year for Chronicles
2006 APRA/AMC Orchestral Work of the Year, State Award for Line Drawing
Useful links
In Conversation with WASO's Evan Kennea at the premiere of Two Memorials:

Preview for Conversations with Ghosts:
New and noteworthy
Composer-in-residence Four Winds Festival, Bermagui, NSW March 2016
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM