Jim Cotter
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Career Snapshot

• Over 40 years professional experience as a composer for theatre, film and radio, working with major theatre companies such as Nimrod Theatre Company Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, State Theatre of South Australia, National Theatre of Perth, National Institute of Dramatic Art, Dance Company of NSW, independent producers, regional companies in Queensland, NSW and Victoria and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

o Long-term collaborations with playwright Dorothy Hewett, and directors Rex Cramphorn and Ross McGregor
o Over 60 scores composed for professional theatre and radio productions across Australia
o Composer-in-residence with major Australian theatre companies, including Nimrod Theatre Company, State Theatre Company of South Australia, and the Australian National Playwrights Conference
o Received the international award, Prix Italia, for my score for the ABC radio drama, Rita’s Lullaby (1998)
A Goldberg Variation, for bassoon and didgeridoo, performed for Nelson Mandela, Australian National University (2000)

• Experience as a performer in jazz ensembles and ‘cross-over’ jazz-rock ensembles
• 17 years experience teaching Composition, Music History and Pre-Tertiary studies at the tertiary level
• Extensive experience in theatre for young people, including being a founding partner of Darling Downs Youth Theatre
• International tours to Indonesia and Hong Kong with Jigsaw Theatre Company and Canberra Youth Theatre Company respectively
• Tertiary studies with Professor Larry Sitsky and Don Banks, School of Music, Canberra
• Masterclasses with composer Ilhan Mimoroglu, computer sculptor James Seawright, and Mimi Garrard Dance Company
• Mentoring of young performers, composers and other artists, including Mr Fibby, composers Kate Moore and Tim Hansen, and composer and arts administrator Michael Sollis.


1998 Prix Italia for Radio Fiction for Rita’s Lullaby, text by Merlinda Bobis, music by Jim Cotter, production by ABC Radio Drama

1997 Inaugural Creative Arts (Performing Arts) Fellowship awarded by the ACT Government

1980 Composer’s Fellowship, Music Board, Australia Council

1976 Composer’s Fellowship (Electronic Music), Music Board, Australia Council

1974 Best Experimental Film for My University, Sydney Film Festival

1974 Composer’s Fellowship, Music Board, Australia Council

Academic Appointments - Australian National University

2005 - 2012 Head of Area and Senior Lecturer, Composition
School of Music

January 2001 – 2004 Full-time Lecturer in Composition and Musicology, School of Music – teaching in the Composition, Pre-Tertiary and Musicology Programs

February 1995 –  November 2000 Sessional academic, School of Music - teaching in the Composition, Pre-Tertiary and Musicology Programs


1993–96, 1998–99
 Australian National Playwrights Conference

1986 Nimrod Theatre Company & University of New England

1983 State Theatre Company of South Australia

1977–78 Darling Downs Youth Theatre, Queensland
Director & Co-founder

1973–74 Canberra Repertory Society


2012 Grant from ACT Government’s ArtsACT for Music/Art Therapy project for sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease – in partnership with John Pratt, School of Art, ANU

2007 Creative development grant from the ACT Government’s ArtsACT for new music theatre work, The Island is Full of Noise

1993–94 Grant from the ACT Government’s Art’s Bureau for the production Pentagram – Pantomime or Parable?, which opened The Street Theatre

1975–76 Study Tour of United States
Masterclasses with Ilhan Mimoroglu, James Seawright, computer sculptor, and Mimi Garrard Dance Company

1969–72 Scholarships to the Canberra School of Music to study with Don Banks and Larry Sitsky

Board Appointments

2000–2003 Member, Music Peer Review Committee, ACT Cultural Council

1999–2004 Member, Performing Arts Advisory Committee, Cultural Facilities Corporation

2000 Member, Advisory Panel, Canberra Institute of Technology Music Program

Consultancies/Honorary Consultancies

2009-2012 Musica Viva Honorary Advisor and Assessor

2004–2005 Adjudicator, National Folk Festival

1997–1998 Acoustic advisor, redevelopment of Playhouse Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre

1994––present Honorary consultancies on musical direction in a theatrical context for Canberra Repertory Society, The National Choreographic Centre, the National Multicultural Festival, the Street Theatre, Canberra Youth Theatre Company.