Philip CZAPŁOWSKI bio / orchestral chamber music solo / gallery media contact

Concerto for Violin & Strings

2003 | violin & string orchestra | 20 minutes

A funding grant from Arts Victoria supported the composition of this work, which was premiered by soloist Mark Mogilevski and Australia Pro Arte, with Jeffrey Crellin conducting, on 28th September 2003 at BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne.


2003 | string orchestra | 9 minutes

Chloe is one of four works commissioned by Australia Pro Arte that together make up the Federation Suite. This is a set of pieces composed by Philip Czaplowski, Brenton Broadstock, George Dreyfus, and Calvin Bowman, portraying in music the four corners of Melbourne's most famous intersection - that of Swanston and Flinders streets. The three other pieces are Federation Square, The Clocks, and The Cathedral. The new works were premiered during Australia Pro Arte's 2003 concert series at BMW Edge, Federation Square.

Jules Lefebvre (1836-1911) was born in Lille, France, and in addition to his paintings is noted for his statues, war memorials, and coin designs. Chloe was painted in 1875, and immediately won great critical and popular acclaim. Having been exhibited in Australia, the painting was eventually purchased in 1882 by a surgeon named Thomas Fitzgerald (later Sir Thomas), who subsequently loaned it to the National Gallery of Victoria. After Sir Thomas's death in 1908, Chloe was aquired by Henry Figsby Young, an hotelier who made his fortune at the gold diggings. Ever since, ChloƩ has hung in the public bar at Young and Jackson's Hotel - at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne. Sadly, it seems that the 19 year old model for Chloe--a young French woman--fell in love with the artist, and, when he chose to marry her sister, she committed suicide at the tender age of 21.

Chloe is an attempt to convey in music a sense of the times in which the painting was created, the hustle and bustle of its eventual home at Young and Jackson's, and the tragic fate of the young woman whose beauty is immortalised in this ever-popular painting.

Concerto for clarinet & strings

2001 | clarinet & string orchestra | 16 minutes

The Concerto for clarinet and strings was written for David Thomas, principal clarinettist of the Melbourne Symphony, and Australia Pro Arte. It was completed in July 2001 and the first performance was given in Melba Hall on 9th September 2001, with jeffrey Crellin conducting.

The concerto is in a single span lasting about 17 minutes, within which there are three easily discernible sections that correspond approximately to the traditional fast-slow-fast movement structure of a classical concerto. These sections are linked by clarinet solos, the second of which is extended to form a cadenza. The concerto also opens with a clarinet solo that presents much of the material that will subsequently be explored during the work.

Reflecting my desire to use multifarious techniques to express divergent psychological states, the concerto makes use of a range of harmonic materials from tonality through chromaticism to atonality, and the work's rhythmic structures range from the quasi-improvisatory and rhythmically free solo clarinet passages, to the insistent, almost mechanical rhythms of the work's closing section.


2000 | orchestra | 10 minutes

Momentum was commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony, for their 2000 'Metropolis Festival'. The premiere was given on Saturday 1st April 2000 at The Malthouse, South Melbourne, with conductor James Judd.

The piece has a duration of just over 10 minutes, and was completed in February 2000.


1998 | string orchestra | 11 minutes

Threnody for string orchestra was written for Australia Pro Arte, who gave the first performance on 23rd June 1998 in Melba Hall, with Jeffrey Crellin conducting. A few minor revisions were made to the score in 2001.

Threnody for string orchestra is amongst the most deeply felt music I have ever written. It relates to the death of my Mother when I was fifteen years old - an event which dramatically impacted on the course of my life. A threnody is literally a song for the dead, and my piece uses a blend of lyricism and contrapuntal writing to express some of the emotions that affected me at the time, and afterwards. The work is a single continuous movement that conveys a range of emotions.

Concerto for Oboe & Strings

1997 | oboe & string orchestra | 12 minutes

The Concerto for oboe and strings was written at the request of Jeffrey Crellin, principal oboe of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He gave the first performance on Tuesday August 19th 1997, with Australia Pro Arte, at Melba Hall, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. The piece has since been performed by Jeffrey and the Geelong Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony, and the Christchurch SO.

The concerto is one continuous movement about 12 minutes in length, but containing three easily discernible sections. The first part is fairly slow. After a broad and contrapuntal opening by the strings, the oboe enters, and the music continues in a lyrical vein. Eventually, the tempo increases somewhat, and the second section, a mostly contrapuntal passage, leads to a brief cadenza for the soloist. This eventually leads into to the last section, an allegro. Here, the music is more urgent and virtuosic. At one point the allegro is interrupted by a brief reminder of the slower music of the first section, before the allegro returns, and the work ends in an energetic and driving coda.