'Biography' to be produced in due course

Career History

Douglas Gordon Weiland...

…is the late Sir Neville Marriner’s most commissioned composer, with three major orchestral works spanning 1992 – 2006: Divertimento for strings (1992), Clarinet Concerto (2002), Triple Concerto (2006).

Along with Quartets nos. 4 - 9 (2011 - 21) for William Hennessy's Melbourne Quartet,
two Piano Trios (1996 /2003) for Claus-Christian Schuster's Altenberg Trio Wien,
a large-scale Flute Concerto (2014) for Susan Milan, the choral orchestral 'Simons' Requiem (Op.59) and
the Frost, Edward Thomas and 'Dymock' Songs (Op.67/68/69 2023)
these works represent the pinnacle of his artistic contribution today.

The complete works of Douglas Weiland are housed in the Schusterwerkstatt at the
Brahms Museum, Mürzzuschlag, Austria.

Malvern Hills, Worcestershire
Summer 2018

Douglas was born on April 16 1954, Great Malvern, Worcestershire. He lives in rural Norfolk with his wife, Hilary. Their son is Benjamin Weiland.

Douglas Weiland’s output comprises:

three symphonic scale concertos, numerous songs, a symphony, a concerto for violin and strings, eight string quartets nos.1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, sixteen motets, three masses, a piano quartet, four quintets, two piano trios, a string trio, three violin and piano sonatas, an octet, a divertimento for strings, an organ prelude and fugue, three solo cello suites, anthems, other instrumental, orchestral, choral and choral orchestral works. Up until 1990 he had earned his living as a violinist. From April 1990 to the present day his sole professional occupation has been that of a full-time composer, and since 2012 has been preparing to conduct his own works.

Douglas Gordon Weiland is published in London by Fountayne Editions under their General Editor, Roy Mowatt.

Douglas'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, William Hennessy’s Australian Quartet (ASQ) together with Keith Crellin (va) and Janis Laurs (vc); these works were composed between 1985 – 88. The Voice Quintet was premièred at the 1986 Adelaide International Festival, with the composer’s wife, Hilary Weiland, mezzo; the First Quartet the ASQ toured to countless première concert halls around the world; the Piano Quintet was performed and recorded by the Australian Quartet, with the great English pianist Marie-Noëlle Kendall to whom the work is dedicated, during the years following Douglas’s departure from the ensemble.

Weiland’s music has benefited from the extraordinary champion of it, that is William Hennessy. Much that has been accomplished over the past three and a half decades, both in artistic terms and those pertaining to the confronting of societal, cultural prejudices, has been due in some degree or other to the advocacy and inspiration generated from this man.

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 Janáček 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, followed shortly 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 March 1993, the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge conducted by the late Dr. 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 (dedicated to his close friend, Philip Kendall).

The First Trio received numerous performances in Europe and the UK from Altenberg Trio Wien, most notably on 24th October 2000 that they included in their own Musikverein Brahms Saal series in Vienna. Altenberg Trio Wien comprised Claus-Christian Schuster, pf, Amiram Ganz, vn and Martin Hornstein, vc. The Piano Quartet received performances in England by the Pro Arte Piano Quartet: Hamish Milne, pf, Kenneth Sillito, vn, Robert Smissen, va, Stephen Orton, vc. The work was recorded by the Melba Quartet with Marie-Noëlle Kendall, pf.

Of his Three Sonatas for Violin & Pianoforte, Ops. 26,28,29, the First (1999) was written in memory of Gracia Lezama. Douglas, in an excursion out of ‘performing retirement’, made archival recordings of Ops. 26 & 28 with Marie-Noëlle Kendall. Well-known English violinist and brother-in-law of Gracia Lezama, Peter Thomas, gave the World Première of the First Sonata with pianist Philip Fisher in a recital at Birmingham University’s Barber Institute of Fine Arts in 2000.

On November 19 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.

In more recent times the splendid collaboration over many years with poet Gary Simons in Norwich resulted in a set of a cappella double choir motets. Prior to this period, in May 2009 David Lowe directed at Norwich Cathedral a performance of Douglas's motet Vere Dominus Est, commissioned by Christopher and Judith Lawrence. Also around this time his Fourth & Fifth Quartets were written in support of the establishment of a new composition chair in Melbourne and in August 2014 he completed a dynamic large-scale Flute Concerto (Op.48) for the legendary British flautist, Susan Milan.

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 Fourth and Fifth Quartets”.

Douglas Weiland's Missa Brevis is written in memory of Dr. Zaouré Schuster, born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, May 3 1953; Zaouré passed away in Vienna, November 9 2015.

The Westmorland Mass began entry into English Cathedral/College life with a performance of the Agnus Dei given by Stephen Layton and Choir of Trinity College Cambridge at Trinity College Chapel on May 23 2017.

A uniquely memorable event took place on Good Friday 2018 at St Peter’s Church, Westleton, Suffolk . Douglas’s collaboration with Professor Tina Beattie resulted in the first performance of ‘Twelve Words’ (Op.43 2008) (String Trio & Speaker) – a revelation in music of Christ’s words “from and beyond the Cross”, following in the tradition of Haydn’s ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’. In a magical performance given by Kenneth Sillito (vn), with Michael Dolan (va) & Michael Hurwitz (vc), Tina Beattie’s majestic delivery of her splendid Script was the culmination of a treasured several months’ collaboration on the project.

In April 2020 the first commercially available ‘Weiland’ CD was released on the Naxos label*. This is Melbourne Quartet’s exemplary performance of the Fourth & Fifth Quartets (Ops. 50/51).

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; the mature Fifth Quartet; and the priceless Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis written in celebration of the birth of their son thirteen years later.

May 2019 saw the completion of the choral orchestral 'Simons' Requiem Mass (Op. 59). Interlaced amongst the selected orthodox Latin texts are four new Simons poems in English. To three have been assigned the musical device of the Chorale that Bach iconically fashioned in his Passions. Not only for purely momentary reflection, in the Requiem the chorale represents more a stepping aside to consider the familiar lines through rays of a new and fresh perspective. This is especially powerful in the placement of Chorale I. The Gary Simons poems bring elegant simplicity, integrity and profound spiritual focus that, in the context of the requiem, heighten, rather than diminish, the theology of the mass.

Recent years have seen a flurry of major new works including four 'Lockdown' Quartets, nos.6,7,8,9; and, completed May 2022, the epic Symphony: The Seven Seasons (Op.65).

In February 2022 Gary Simons commissioned a setting of an extract from his poem Julian as an offering to Norwich Cathedral for their 650th anniversary celebrations of the Divine Revelations of Dame Julian of Norwich, May 2023. Motet ‘Julian' Op. 66 (February 2022), a haunting, mystical utterance, remains, sadly, unheard by his friends of Norwich Cathedral.

2023 saw the production of three sets of songs for baritone and piano written for his son. The first, Seven Songs to Poems by Robert Frost, Benjamin Weiland will give the first performance with the generous collaboration of Claus-Christian Schuster as part of their ‘special’ recital to take place at Holy Trinity Church, Cookham, Berkshire on 28th September 2024.

Since 2000 the distinguished Viennese pianist and musical grandee, Claus-Christian Schuster, one of the founders of Altenberg Trio Wien, has become a great influence on Weiland's life - and his 'stepping out' of retirement to perform recently composed songs has touched the Weilands. Four Songs to Poems by Edward Thomas (2023) dedicated to Schuster, are a tribute to that friendship and highest artistic regard.

2024 began in solemn dedication to a friend's family with the writing of Motet ‘Edward’ Op.71, a setting of an extract from the poem Heaven-Haven by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The entire period of Douglas’s output since 1997 has been produced at Old Beetley, Norfolk, England.

For performance, publication and commission details, see under Catalogue

* Refer to Reviews & Testimonials