James Ledger

Started at UWA: 2005

ARIA award winner, renowned composer and senior lecturer in composition

It’s very varied the way a piece might start and each one has its own life and its own way of being brought into the world.James Ledger


James Ledger is a world-renowned composer, writing music for a variety of ensembles from solo works to orchestral music, and specialising in composition, harmony and 20th century music history. After studying in Perth, Mr Ledger spent time in London working at a classical record company and writing jingles for television commercials before composing original scores for stage plays.

Mr Ledger brings years of experience to his teaching, with a primary focus on composition. He is still an active composer, giving him an advanced knowledge of the current industry and career paths for students.

Currently, Mr Ledger is writing a piece for the Australian String Quartet, using electronics to manipulate the string sounds during performance. The quartet will perform around Australia while on tour in September 2018. International singer/songwriter Paul Kelly will work with Mr Ledger over the next few months on a new piece of composition. They will be setting poetry about birds to music and performing them with a classical ensemble mixed with guitars and a banjo.

Mr Ledger also holds the position of Artistic Director on West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s annual Composition Project. Participants of the project are mentored by him through a series of individual lessons, workshops and rehearsals. They write a new work for a 14-piece chamber ensemble that is performed by WASO musicians and recorded in front of a live audience.

In 2008, Mr Ledger was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research contemporary compositional practice with a particular focus on new music in Estonia. He has been a teacher and researcher at the UWA Conservatorium of Music since 2005 and describes it as a highly collegial place to work with inspiring colleagues generating many interesting projects. Highlights of his career at UWA include the music concerts, student performances and conducting the UWA orchestra.

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Winner of an ARIA award for ‘Conversation Ghosts,’ 2013

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Awarded Orchestral Work of the Year in the Australasian Performing Rights Association/Australian Music Centre Art Music Awards, 2011

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Awarded a Churchill Fellowship, 2008

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Composer-in-residence for the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, 2007-2009

In Conversation with James Ledger: The Starting Point


Contact James Ledger