Professor Charles Bodman Rae

Professor Charles Bodman Rae
 Position Sir Thomas Elder Professor of Music
 Org Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
 Telephone +61 8 8313 3680
 Location Floor/Room LG 02 ,  Elder Hall ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Charles Bodman Rae is a composer, pianist, conductor and author.  As the seventh Sir Thomas Elder Professor of Music he holds the senior academic position at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide.  This continuing appointment to Australia's first professorship in music (established by endowment in 1884) was made in 2001.  He has also led the Elder Conservatorium in the managerial and administrative roles of both Dean and Director (2001-2007). He currently serves as Head of Composition.

    He was born in England to a family of Scottish and German origins.  After private piano studies with Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, he read Music at Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College).  Concurrent with his undergraduate studies at Cambridge he studied composition in Oxford with the composer, pianist and Messiaen scholar, Dr. Robert Sherlaw Johnson, with whom he also studied piano works of Messiaen.  After conducting studies with Sir Edward Downes at Hilversum in Holland, and after completing postgraduate composition studies at Cambridge, with Professor Robin Holloway, he was appointed in 1979 to a permanent lecturership in Academic Studies at the then City of Leeds College of Music.

    After two years he resigned his Leeds appointment in order to accept a postgraduate composition scholarship from the Polish Government, enabling him to live and work in Warsaw from 1981 to 1983 attached, as a visiting composer, to the Chopin Academy of Music.  During this time he developed a close professional association - and personal friendship - with one of the great composers of the twentieth century, Witold Lutoslawski, which lasted until the composer's death in 1994. This association led to his doctoral thesis on Lutoslawski's compositional technique (University of Leeds, 1992) and his monograph The Music of Lutoslawski (London: Faber and Faber, 1994) which has been continually in print since the publication of the third edition in 1999. For these and other writings on the life and music of Lutoslawski he was awarded the inaugural Lutoslawski Medal in 2005 and the Lutoslawski Centenary Medal in 2013.

    Returning to Leeds in 1983 he was appointed to a permanent lecturership in Composition and Analysis, and then in 1992 to the senior management position of Head of School of Composition and Creative Studies.  In 1997 he moved from Leeds to Manchester to join the senior management of the Royal Northern College of Music as Director/Dean of Studies with a subsidiary role as Head of School of Academic Studies.  In his four years at the RNCM he was responsible for restructuring both the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and awards, putting in place the innovative feature of 'Supporting Professional Studies' that later contributed to the RNCM securing a HEFCE-funded Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  Whilst at the RNCM he contributed to the Sutherland and Tooley reports on the funding of UK music conservatoires, and was an elected member of the national executive committee of the National Association for Music in Higher Education.  He also played an active role in the affairs of the then Federation of British Conservatoires (now ConservatoiresUK).

    In parallel with his work for leading UK music academies he was for much of the 1990s a regular broadcaster (writer and presenter) for BBC Radio 3.  He made several radio documentaries on Lutoslawski and Penderecki, but his biggest project for the BBC was a ground-breaking 9-hour series of programmes (first broadcast in January/February 1990) on connections between Music and Bells.  This project represented a long-standing interest that had already been explored in several compositions beginning with Jede Irdische Venus, which had been premiered in Warsaw at the Chopin Academy of Music.

    In 2001 he was recruited from the RNCM to direct and merge two music schools in Adelaide, the Elder Conservatorium of Music and the School of Music of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE.  The merger was effected in 2001 and 2002 was the first year of the new dual-sector music academy (initially known as the Elder School of Music).  From 2002 to 2005 he led a major multi-million dollar capital development of the school, jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments. The new facilities were formally opened by the Premier of South Australia in May 2005.  The many changes and enhancements implemented during his term as Dean and Director resulted in the Elder Conservatorium becoming recognised once more - both nationally and internationally -as one of Australia's top music academies.

    Since completing his fixed term of six years as Dean and Director in 2007 he has focussed on enhancing the research profile of the Elder Conservatorium and on continuing to advocate, at the national level, for recognition of artistic endeavours as bona fide research outcomes.  These activities came to fruition with the full recognition of the creative outcomes of music and creative arts for the inaugural Australian research assessment exercise (ERA).  For this exercise he was responsible at the university level (as so-called 'Research Champion') for formulating the ERA submissions for Creative Arts (category 19) in 2009, 2010 and 2012, as well as being one of the major contributors. In each case the submission was awarded the highest grade (5) above all the other Australian music schools/academies. Thus the Elder Conservatorium of Music has been officially rated - three times in succession - as the top Australian institution for research in music, principally due to its great strengths in composition and the performance of new music.

    In 2004, concurrent with his leadership of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, he was elected to a three-year term as Chair of the Academic Board (Academic Senate) of the University of Adelaide. In this capacity he also served, ex officio, as a Member of the University Council, a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee (the senior executive group of the university), and many other university committees.

    In Australia he has served as a non-executive Director on the Boards of the following organisations: the Helpmann Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts; the Australian Music Examinations Board; and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.  In 2000 he had joined the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in the UK as an Institutional Auditor, and in 2006 he was also invited to join the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) as an Institutional Auditor. He is a Trustee of the South Australian Guadagnini Trust, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Music Foundation.

    His professional debut took place in 1974, with the premiere of his first orchestral work, Primum Mobile.  The piece was selected for the finals of the Scottish Composers' Competition held in Aberdeen as part of the International Festival of Youth Orchestras.  The chairman of the jury was Aaron Copland, and the performance was broadcast on the BBC Radio 3 network from BBC Scotland.  His Australian debut, as both pianist and composer, was given during the 2002 Adelaide Festival of Arts.

  • Qualifications

    MA(Cantab.), DMus(Adel.), PhD, DMus(Leeds), ARCM, FRSA, FCLCM

    ARCM (Piano Performance), Royal College of Music, London, 1975

    Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Music Tripos), University of Cambridge,  1977

    Master of Arts, University of Cambridge, 1981

    Doctor of Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1992

    Doctor of Music, University of Adelaide 2004

    Doctor of Music, University of Leeds 2015

  • Awards & Achievements

    In 1999 he was awarded the honorary Fellowship of Leeds College of Music in a ceremony held in the Great Hall of the University of Leeds.

    In 2005 he was awarded the inaugural Lutoslawski Medal for his "outstanding achievement in promoting the ideas and work of Witold Lutoslawski".  The award was presented in a ceremony at Warsaw's Royal Castle by the pre-eminent Polish film director, Andrzej Wajda.

    Also in 2005 as Dean/Director he received on behalf of the Elder Conservatorium of Music an Australian Classical Music Award (APRA/AMC) for "outstanding contribution by an organisation" in recognition of the highly acclaimed chamber music series of 22 events (all broadcast live on ABC Classic FM) that he had curated for the 2004 Adelaide Festival of Arts.  The Elder Conservatorium of Music is the only Australian music academy to have received such an award.

    On 24 January 2013 he was awarded the Lutoslawski Centenary Medal at a gala broadcast concert held in the ballroom of the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The award was made by the International Lutoslawski Society under the auspices of the Polish Ministry of Culture and the Mickiewicz Institute. Others who received this medal included: the conductors Jan Krenz, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Sir Simon Rattle; the German violinist, Anne-Sophie Mutter; and the American composer, Steven Stucky.

  • Teaching Interests

    He has taught at the undergraduate levels at the City of Leeds College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music.  The main focus of this teaching has been on Musical Composition and Musical Analysis, but has also encompassed Musical Performance (conducting orchestras, coaching chamber music, coaching solo performance), Music History, Aesthetics, Music Theory.

    He has taught at the postgraduate levels (coursework and research training) at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide.  Since 2003 he has consistently been one of the top doctoral supervisors for the University of Adelaide (across all faculties/disciplines) as measured by supervisory load and successful completions. In the last ten years he has supervised to successful completion 30 doctoral research projects across a wide range of musical fields, including: Musical Composition, Musical Performance, Musical Analysis, Musicology, and Music Education. He currently supervises circa 28 research projects.

    Recent PhDs supervised/awarded: by thesis, Abigail Chantler, Helen Rusak, Jennifer Rosevear, Helen Pietsch, Joanna Drimatis, Emily Kilpatrick, Bartlomiej Walus, Luke Dollman, Robert Wolf, Emily Dollman; by portfolio of recorded performances, Peter Handsworth, Tomoe Kawabata, Kemp English, Mark Gaydon, Marija Bajalica, Christopher Martin, Leigh Harrold, Julie Haskell, Paul Rickard-Ford, Kathryn Moorhead; by portfolio of compositions, Callie Wood, Wayne Duncan, Diana Weekes, Anne Cawrse, Melisande Wright, Raymond Mok, Quentin Grant, John Polglase, Luke Harrald, Mark Smith, Paul Bonetti, Ian Andrew. Recent MMus/MPhil supervised/awarded: Ryszard Pusz, David Stanhope, Macarena Zambrano, Konstantin Shamray, Philip Hall, Gabriella Smart, Virginia Lakeman, Airlie Kirkham, Callie Wood, Amanda Lovelock; Scott Simon, Jody Fisher, Amanda Lovelock, Holly Thomas. PhDs in progress: by thesis, Simon Lord, Penelope Cashman, Virginia Lakeman; by portfolio of recorded performances, Charles Klein, Gabriella Smart, Elizabeth Layton, Rachel Johnston, Clemens Leske, Mekhla Kumar, Kathy Selby, Konstantin Shamray, Madeline Procopio; by portfolio of compositions, Sebastian Phlox, David Stanhope, Dylan Crismani, Jesse Budel, Nicholas Denison, Daniel Schricker, David Lang. MPhils in progress: Alison Heike, Stephan Richter, Matthew Binion, Kenan Henderson, Callum Gunn, Samantha Raftery, Natalie Zeleny, Thomas Devereux.

    He has been a guest at leading music institutions and universities in the USA, Canada, UK, continental Europe, China, Australia and Korea.  He has served on the juries of several national and international competitions, including: the 2004 Lutoslawski Composers' Competition, Warsaw; the 2003 Young Performers' Awards of Symphony Australia and the ABC; the 2011 International Chopin Competition of Australia, Canberra; and the 2017 International Chopin Competition of Australia. He has been the keynote speaker at conferences in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Poland.

  • Research Interests

    His primary research interests lie in the fields of Musical Composition and contemporary Polish Music (particularly the music of Witold Lutoslawski).

    His secondary research interests include: orchestrating works of Chopin significant for their innovative, chromatic and highly expressive harmony; and connections between Music and Bells.  The former interest can be seen and heard in his orchestrations premiered by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010, now published by PWM of Krakow.  The latter interest has been expressed through original compositions, research papers, articles for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and programmes for BBC Radio 3.

    His creative works are represented through the Australian Music Centre, Sydney.  His writings have been published by Oxford University Press, the Polish Academy of Sciences, Faber and Faber, Omnibus Press, Polskie Wydawnictwo Naukowe, Musica Iagellonica, and others. His publications formed part of the submission from the Royal Northern College of Music for the UK's Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2001).  He led the top-rated submissions from the Elder Conservatorium of Music for Australia's research assessment exercises in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and was formally designated as the 'research champion' to lead and represent the area of music and creative arts.  Since 2003 he has been an 'OzReader' for the Australian Research Council, advising on proposed projects in the creative arts.

  • Research Funding

    He has been a contributing partner on the following multinational research projects:

    Lutoslawski Studies Project, led by Prof.dr.hab. Zbigniew Skowron, Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw, funded by the Polish Committee for Scholarly Research and the Polish Academy of Sciences (1997-2000).

    Panufnik Project, led by Prof.dr.hab. Jadwiga Paja-Stach, Institute of Musicology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, funded by the Polish Committee for Scholarly Research and the Polish Academy of Sciences (to 2003).

    Mundus Musicalis Project, an international research consortium of music academies, led by the European Association of Conservatoires, funded by the European Commission (2004-2007). This project included representatives from the USA, Australia, UK, Brazil, Norway, Canada, Korea.  It reported formally to the European Commission at the end of 2007 (see

    He has received major project funding in the form of commissions for new creative works from the Yorkshire Arts Association (UK), and from the Australia Council for the Arts.

    For 2013-14 he was awarded a research grant from the Institute for Music and Dance of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in order to pursue his project on 'Reconstructing the Soundscape of Warsaw's Bells'.

  • Publications

    a) Compositions (selected):

    Ghosts of Galicia II (2014), for violin, clarinet, cello and piano. In four movements. Duration: 22 minutes. Dedicated to Gabriella Smart and Soundstream. Premiere given by Soundstream on 19 September 2014.

    Ballade op.23 (2013), for large symphonic orchestra (Chopin op.23 orch. Bodman Rae).  Written for and dedicated to Vladimir Ashkenazy. (AMC 27834)

    Postludia Cadenza (2013), for solo piano. To be performed 'after the Lutoslawski Piano Concerto'.  Written for and dedicated to Krystian Zimerman (AMC 27851)

    Etude op.10.6 (2012), for string quintet (Chopin op.10/6, arr. Bodman Rae). Premiere given by the Australian String Quartet, 5 October 2012 (AMC 27178)

    Ghosts of Galicia I (2012), for violin, clarinet, cello and piano. In three movements. Duration: 15 minutes. Premiere given by the Soundstream Collective, 29 July 2012 (AMC 26915)

    Ceol Mor II (2012) for solo bassoon. Premiere given by the dedicatee, Mark Gaydon, for ABC Classic FM, 20 July 2012 (AMC 26844)

    Ceol Mor I (2012) for violin, clarinet and piano. Premiere given by the Layton-Handsworth-Ammer Trio at the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts on 14 March 2012, and broadcast live by ABC Classic FM (AMC 25816)

    Golden Ring (2012), for solo piano. Premiere given by the dedicatee, Konstantin Shamray (winner of the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition), at the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Arts on 16 March 2012, and broadcast live by ABC Classic FM (AMC 25815)

    Partita Dalriada (2010), for clarinet and piano. World premiere given by Peter Handsworth and Stefan Ammer, Adelaide 19 March 2010, with the European premiere given for Bavarian Radio on 20 April 2010 (AMC 24157)

    Prelude op.45 (2010), for orchestra (Chopin op.45, orch. Bodman Rae). Premiere given by Jacek Kaspszyk and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in a live broadcast for the European Broadcasting Union, 1 October 2010 (AMC 22183)

    Nocturne op.48.1 (2010), for orchestra (Chopin op.48/1, orch. Bodman Rae). Premiere given by Jacek Kaspszyk and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in a live broadcast for the European Broadcasting Union, 30 October 2010 (AMC 24152)

    Toccata Agogica (2009), for solo flute. Commissioned as the test piece for the 2009 Australian Flute Competition. Premiere given by all four finalists on 3 October 2009 (AMC 22168)

    Viola Concerto (2007), for solo viola and chamber orchestra. Commissioned for and premiered at the 35th International Viola Congress, 1 July 2007. European premiere given on 12 April 2013 by Artur Tokarek and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer (AMC 24162)

    String Quartet no.2 (2004). Commissioned by and dedicated to the Australian String Quartet. Premiere given by the ASQ at the 2004 Adelaide Festival of Arts on 3 March 2004, with live broadcast on ABC Classic FM (AMC 24289)

    Fulgura Frango (1987) for two pianos. Premiere given by the composer and Julian Cima at the 1987 Leeds College of Music Festival, 27 March 1987 (AMC 26773)

    Donaxis Quartet (1987) for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano.  Commissioned by the Donaxis Ensemble. Premiere given by Donaxis at the 1987 Harrogate International Festival, 10 August 1987 (AMC 25777)

    Jede irdische Venus (1982) for solo piano. Premiere given by the composer in a concert of the Polish Composers' Union at the Chopin Academy of Music, Warsaw, 20 May 1982

    Sonata for Guitar (1982) for solo guitar. Commissioned and premiered by Graham Wade, October 1982 (AMC 24160)

    String Quartet no.1 (1981). Commissioned and premiered by the Leodian String Quartet, 4 March 1981

    Six Verses of Vision (1976), for soprano and chamber ensemble. Dedicated to and premiered by the soprano, Jane Manning, with the Cambridge Contemporary Music Ensemble conducted by the composer, Cambridge 1977

    Primum Mobile (1974), for orchestra. Premiere given in the finals of the National Composers' Competition at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras, Aberdeen, August 1974

    Recent works are represented through the Australian Music Centre (AMC), Sydney:

    b) Books

    The Music of Lutoslawski (London: Faber and Faber, 1994) 288pp. ISBN 0-571-16450-1

    Muzyka Lutoslawskiego (Warsaw: Polskie Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 1996). Revised and expanded. Polish translation by Stanislaw Krupowicz.  304pp. ISBN 83-01-11908-X

    The Music of Lutoslawski (London: Omnibus Press, 1999). Revised and expanded third edition (paperback). 318pp. ISBN 0-7119-6910-8

    c) Book Chapters and Articles (selected)

    'The Bells of Warsaw: reconstructing the soundscape of the city' (Warsaw: Institute for Music and Dance, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, 2014)

    'The Lutoslawski Legacy', Chapter 4 in Lutoslawski: music and legacy, eds. Maja Trochimczyk and Stanislaw Latek (Krakow and Montreal: Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci, 2014). Expanded version of the keynote address given at the Lutoslawski Centenary Symposium (Lutoslawski; Music and Legacy) McGill University, Montreal, October 2013.  ISBN 978 8376 761 992/994 (Montreal edition) and 978 0986 885 143/142 (Krakow edition)

    'Pozycja Witolda Lutoslawskiego w swiecie' [Lutoslawski's world position] Chapter 7 in Witold Lutoslawski: Portret Rodzinny [WL: family portrait] eds. Grzegorz Michalski and Marcin Schirmer (Drozdowo: Muzeum Przyrody w Drozdowie, 2013), pp.127-132. Lutoslawski Centenary publication financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage

    'Lutoslawski et sa musique pour les enfants', Chapter 3 in Witold Lutoslawski ed. Zbigniew Skowron (Brussels: Institut Polonais, 2013) pp.35-44, and parallel version in Flemish as 'Witold Lutoslawski's muziek voor kinderen' pp.40-48. Lutoslawski Centenary publication financed by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    'Lutoslawski and the Scars of Wars' in Woven Words, ed. Steven Stucky (London: Philharmonia, 2013), pp.36-39. Lutoslawski Centenary publication for the Philharmonia Orchestra, London. Published online at:

    'The Polish musical psyche from the Second Republic into the Third', Chapter 1 in Polish Music Since 1945 ed. Eva Mantzourani (Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 2013), pp.15-27. Published version of the opening keynote address given to the international conference on 'Polish Music Since 1945' Canterbury, 2009.  ISBN 978-83-7099-185-2

    'Chopin and the Ninth: comparison of the original with a new orchestral version of the Prelude op.45', in Chopin 1810-2010: Ideas, Interpretations, Influences, ed. Zofia Chechlinska (Warsaw: Narodowy Institut Fryderyka Chopina, in press)

    'Une nouvelle version orchestrale du Prelude op.45 [de Chopin]: essai d'explicitation des richesses cachees de l'original pour piano', in Analyse Musicale 62, Numero speciale: Chopin (December 2010), pp.22-33.  ISSN 0295-3722

    'The role of the major-minor chord in Panufnik's compositional technique', in Andrzej Panufnik's music and its reception, ed. Jadwiga Paja-Stach (Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 2003), pp.136-149. ISBN 83-7099-124-6

    'Research issues in music and music education', text of opening keynote address to the 2002 AARME Conference, in Proceedings of the XXIV Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Music Education, eds. J.Rosevear and J.Callaghan (Melbourne: Australian Association for Research in Music Education, 2002), pp.6-16. ISBN 0-9586086-2-8

    'Lutoslawski's Sound World: a World of Contrasts', in Lutoslawski Studies, ed. Zbigniew Skowron (Oxford and New York: OUP, 2001), pp.16-35. ISBN 0-19-816660-5

    'Bell' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd. edition, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), Vol.3, pp.168-182. ISBN 0-333-60800-3

    'Lutoslawski, Witold Roman' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd. edition, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), Vol.15, pp.381-389. ISBN 0-333-60800-3

    'Swiat dzwiekowy Lutoslawskiego: swiat kontrastow', in Estetyka i styl tworczosci Witolda Lutoslawskiego, ed. Zbigniew Skowron (Krakow: Musica Iagellonica, 2000), pp.31-52. ISBN 83-7099-095-9

     'Organizacja wysokosci dzwiekow w muzyce Lutoslawskiego' [Pitch organisation on the music of Lutoslawski], Muzyka XL/1-2 (Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of the Arts, 1995), pp.41-58. PL ISSN 0027-5344

  • Professional Associations

    Charles Bodman Rae was elected a full (writer) member of the Performing Right Society (London) in 1982.  In 1988 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London).  Since 2009 he has been a Represented Artist of the Australian Music Centre, Sydney.

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020

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