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Artist Biography

Christopher Latham

christopher latham

Christopher Latham has had a multi-faceted musical career. He has worked as a violinist, editor and publisher, concert programr and festival director. As a violinist he has premiered over 30 new Australian works by Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin, Brett Dean, Nigel Westlake, Graeme Koehne and others, and has played over 40 Australian premieres of works by Arvo Part, James MacMillan, Alfred Schnittke, Morton Feldman, John Tavener, Toru Takemitsu, Michael Torke, Somei Satoh, George Antheil, Paul Schonfeld, Pavel Haas, Nikolai Medtner, and many others.

As a child he went to school on a singing scholarship and was the treble soloist at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane for many years. After his voice broke he concentrated on his violin studies, living in the US for ten years where he was active as a chamber musician, gaining his Masters of Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatorium of Music, winning a student “Grammy” as well as academic awards for excellence. In 1992 he returned home to join the Australian Chamber Orchestra and toured Australia and the world full time for seven years. During that time he played in all of the major concert halls, including half a dozen concerts in both Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall. He was a finalist in the 1996 ABC Young Performers Competition and subsequently formed the eclectic collective, who were ensemble in residence at the Sydney Town Hall in 1996 and 1997 and for the Sydney Opera House Studio in 1998, in order to champion neglected composers and repertoire.

In late 1998, he took over the publishing operations at Boosey and Hawkes Australia, where he was responsible for all their Australian composers as well as being the local representative for about 70% of the world's published composers.

During this time he worked extensively as a music editor for his Australian composers, and also programd concert series for the 2001 Vale of Glamorgan Festival (UK) and the Adelaide Festival chamber music series (2002).

He is the Artistic Director of the Four Winds (Bermagui), the Australian Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Townsville) and the music director for the 90th Anniversary of Gallipoli commemorations (2005). He has written two volumes of poetry, a 'Survival Guide for Freelance Artists' and is deeply engaged with a life long project examining the correlations between colour and sound.

He believes that music can act as a healing force in the world and that artists will soon work hand in hand with the medical establishment and diplomats.

Christopher Latham – personal note

“As a child I almost died in an operating theatre, and that and other potent experiences have left me quite clear that this world is not all that there is to existence. Through my mother, I inherited her great sensitivity of perception as well as synaesthesia, and through my father, who was a gifted doctor, a talent for healing. That these qualities would multiply in one of their children was a shock to us all, and it left me wishing to remain private and silent on these matters so as not to be rejected for being different.

“However as a 40 year old I have begun to shed my inhibitions and hint at the reasons for why I do what I do, with the hope that people will forgive me for any hint of grandiosity. It is just that I simply cannot bear to watch suffering, and the current state of the world and our society fills me with such sadness, that I must numb myself at times or I would become unable to function.

“I don't truly know if I can create widespread, long term benefits through artistic action, but the seed impulse for these projects is to do good and hopeful no harm. While this world is imperfect and will always remain so, history shows that our species is also constantly evolving to a higher level. Music is a potent force for facilitating that kind of change because it changes people while they listen in the most seductive and pleasing way. Music's abstract nature does not create conflict with people's psychology or opinions, and thereby can harmoniously create a temporary window to deep states of rest and tranquility, and allow the body's metabolism to replicate those states internally.

“If these two days can bring some lasting sense of peace and pleasure to those who attend the festival, then I will have done what I set out to do, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been able to do so.”

see the list of Artistic Directors of Four Winds Festivals

see a list of artists that have performed at previous Four Winds