Douglas Weiland

~ Composer ~


Douglas Weiland was born 16th April 1954, Great Malvern, Worcestershire.

He lives with his wife, Hilary, and son, Benjamin, in rural Norfolk.

For the past three decades Douglas Weiland has devoted his working life to the production of works: quartets, quintets, trios, sonatas, octet, suites, concertos, cantatas, motets, masses, anthems, songs, other instrumental, orchestral, choral and choral orchestral works. Prior to this he was a violinist. Since 1990 his sole occupation has been that of a full-time composer.

Weiland’s first substantial achievements were in the form of three major chamber works (Voice Quintet, First Quartet, Piano Quintet) written for the ensemble of which he was a founder member, the Australian Quartet (ASQ); these works were composed between 1985 – 88. The Voice Quintet was premièred at the 1986 Adelaide International Festival, with the composer’s wife, mezzo; the First Quartet they toured to countless première concert halls around the world; the Piano Quintet was performed and recorded by the Australian Quartet, with the English pianist Marie-Noëlle Kendall to whom the work is dedicated, during the years following Weiland’s departure from the ensemble.

From 1990 commissioned works ranged from the Three Sir Neville Marriner Commissions: Divertimento for Strings (co-commissioned Academy of St Martin-in-the-fields 1992), Clarinet Concerto (co-commissioned Julian Burnside QC 2002), Triple Concerto (co-commissioned ASMF / Altenberg Trio Vienna 2006); to the series of chamber works produced for and premièred at the Norfolk & Norwich Music Club UK as their Composer-in-residence: Second Piano Trio (2003) Altenberg Trio Wien, Third Solo Cello Suite (2004) the first two performances from Steven Isserlis, Clarinet Quintet (2004) Andrew Marriner/ASMF Ensemble, and Third Quartet (2005) commissioned for the Janacek Quartet, premièred by the Hamer Quartet Melbourne.

The Divertimento for Strings received its World Première on the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields 1993 Tour of the Far East with performances in Manila and at the Victoria Hall Singapore, shortly followed by their London Première at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Further performances by the Academy took place on their 1994 North America Tour; all were directed by Kenneth Sillito. Of William Hennessy’s performances of the work, that given with the students of Melbourne University is held in the ABC permanent archives.

One of Weiland’s priceless miniatures, the motet “H. Baptisme (II)” (George Herbert), first heard at London’s Temple Church in 1992, was performed at Trinity College Chapel at the college’s George Herbert Celebration in January 1993, the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge conducted by the late Richard Marlow. In October of that year Ronald Corp conducted the New London Children’s Choir at St James’s Piccadilly in the première of “Huge Griffons” (Edward Stirling Booth), a piece commissioned by Corp for the choir through the RVW Trust.

At the centre-middle of his chamber music output are two large-scale sister works:

First Piano Trio (1996) commissioned Rudi & Gloria Bretschneider and Piano Quartet Homage to Philip Kendall (1999) commissioned N&NMC; the first, an ecstatic celebration of a life entering the world (dedicated to his son Benjamin); the other, a profound lament and thanksgiving for a life leaving it.

The First Trio received numerous performances in Europe given by Altenberg Trio Wien, most notably on 24th October 2000 at their own Musikverein Brahms Saal series in Vienna.

Of his Three Sonatas for Violin & Pianoforte, Ops. 26,28,29, the First (1999) was written in memory of Gracia Lezama.

On 19th November 2009 Sir Neville Marriner conducted the landmark World Première of his Clarinet Concerto Op.30 (2002)* with Andrew Marriner and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra at the Melbourne Recital Centre. There followed in 2013 a second MCO/MRC performance of the work given by Australian virtuoso clarinettist David Griffiths.

In 2009 Douglas Weiland fulfilled the 2001 Leonard Smith Legacy Commission (London). “Composed during three weeks of October 2009, Concerto 290 in A min for violin and strings was conceived and born out of a life-time’s marvelling at the Bach Violin Concertos, written around 1720; 290 years ago.” The Concerto was premièred the following year by William Hennessy and the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra conducted by Michael Dahlenburg as part of their 2010 Regional Tour of Victoria.

Contained amongst Weiland’s recent body of work are some of his most substantial statements. The collaboration with author of profound Christian Verse, Gary Simons, resulted in a set of three unaccompanied double choir motets for Norwich Cathedral. Many years earlier, in May 2009 David Lowe directed there a performance of the motet “Vere Dominus Est”, commissioned by Christopher and Judith Lawrence. His Fourth & Fifth Quartets were written in support of the establishment of a new composition chair in Melbourne. In August 2014 Douglas Weiland completed a dynamic large-scale Flute Concerto (Op.48) for legendary British flautist Susan Milan that, along with both the Clarinet and Triple Concertos, represents the pinnacle of his artistic contribution today.

In his 2014 Grawemeyer Award USA Nomination,* London publisher Roy Mowatt wrote of the Op.50 Fourth Quartet: “This work is one of a number of masterpieces written in the last ten years, culminating in the Clarinet Concerto and the Fourth and Fifth Quartets”.

Other recent compositions include the Op.55 Octet, commissioned by William Hennessy; Missa Brevis written in memory of Dr. Zaouré Schuster who died in Vienna, November 9 2015, born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 3 1953; Westmorland Mass, the introduction of which into English Cathedral/College life began with a performance of the Agnus Dei given by Stephen Layton and Choir of Trinity College Cambridge at Trinity College Chapel on 23rd May 2017.

To his extraordinary wife, Hilary, Douglas has either written or dedicated numerous works, including the immaterial and inspired miniature “The Lord’s Prayer”, a gift for her at their wedding in Bowness-on-Windermere in 1982; and a small-scale Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis written in celebration of the birth of their son thirteen years later.

For performance, publication and commission details regarding works mentioned in the concise biography, see under Catalogue

* Refer to Reviews & Testimonials