I completed back-to-back master degrees from Amsterdam and Sydney in 2011 studying with Richard Ayres and Mary Finsterer respectively. I focused predominantly on the interrelationship of words and music. During my study period in Amsterdam, I developed an interest in finding inspiration outside of normal conventions – that is, searching for inspiration in the cracks of society.
In September 2009, I volunteered at the homeless shelter De Tweede Mijl in order to write a series of short operas based on the stories and material I hoped to gather. This had a tremendous affect on my life both as a composer and as a young artist. The artistic and ethical dilemmas I was confronted with formed the backbone of my pilot opera De Tweede Mijl: an ego opera that consequently followed the failures of a young composer’s quest to uncover the stories of befriended homeless persons. The work was commissioned and premiered by Yo! Opera at their finale festival in Utrecht 2011.
My approach to composition has become a philosophy of forums and collaborations, gathering material from both musical and extra-musical elements, and engaging with performers to create theatrically musical works such as under the influence of nostalgia (solo Baritone – Charles Hens, 2011), tic (2012) for solo recorder premiered by Alana Blackburn (Australia) and Sarah Jeffery (Holland), and close(d) (2012) for solo percussion premiered by my sister Kaylie Dunstan, as well as a commission from trio Si’l Vous Plaît where the entire construction of the piece centers upon various aspects of undesirable conversation etiquette.
In 2013/2014 I collaborated in the Maastricht based opera project Baba Jaga: a modern fairytale which was premiered and toured around Limburg during March and April 2014. The project will now be featured in NEU/NOW Festival Amsterdam 2015.
My greatest pride and joy (to date) is the food and music event smaakt naar muziek co-founded with composer Felipe Ignacio Noriega where the composers cook and the cooks compose. With three successful events under our belt, Felipe and I are
quickly moving forward with our production of music theatre works in and around high quality fresh food. In the spirit of community, mateship, and fostering artistic growth smaakt naar muziek creates performance platforms for musicians and emerging composers enriching the lives of all involved through food and music.