Jim Cotter
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Bio

I am an Australian composer based in Canberra, Australia.

My career has largely been in music for theatre, film, and radio. I began my career as Music Director and resident composer for the Canberra Repertory Theatre and collaborated extensively with Australian playwright Dorothy Hewett, most notably writing the music for the musical theater piece The Man From Mukinupin. I also wrote the music for Merlinda Bobis' radio play Rita's Lullaby, which won the Prix Italia in 1998.

I began my musical career playing trumpet in trad-jazz bands in Melbourne as a teenager. I moved to Canberra in the late 1960s with my family and continued performing in this tradition but gradually drifted towards more modern forms of jazz and rock and roll. I performed with the Canberra bands, The Bitter Lemons, The Firing Squad, Family Portrait as well as in more experimental collectives with musicians Colin Hoorweg, Dave Kain, Mitch Burns, Christian Wojtowicz and John Tucker.

In the early 1970s, my increasing interest in contemporary music led me to studies with Larry Sitsky and Don Banks at the Canberra School of Music. An Australia Council Young Composers Fellowship enabled me to discontinue my formal studies and take up the position of Music Director at Canberra Repertory Society, pursuing a more practical approach to compositional activities with the full support of my mentors. For the next twenty years, I worked as a freelance composer in theatre, film and radio.

In 1992, at the request of Larry Sitsky, I returned to the School of Music, by then part of the Australian National University. Until September 2012, I have been a faculty staff member of the ANU School of Music and, since 2005, Head of Compositon.

While I love teaching and have had the opportunity to mentor many outstanding young musicians and composers, the opportunity to return to my own creative projects is irresistible.