: Works

Iron in the Blood:
A Musical Adaptation of Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore


Recorded by Jeremy Rose and the Earshift Orchestra

funded by the Australia Council for the Arts

479 6387 Iron in the Blood - iTunes copy 3

for jazz orchestra and two narrators, 70 minutes

Published by the Australian Music Centre


Read a blog post about the recording of Iron in the Blood here.

Read reviews for Iron in the Blood here.

Purchase CD copies of Iron in the Blood here.

Purchase on itunes here

‘Iron in the Blood: A Musical Adaptation of Robert Hughes’ The Fatal Shore’ is an extended suite for jazz orchestra and two narrators. The work traces Australia’s founding through Britain’s colonial experiment against a backdrop of incomprehensible hardship. The music follows a narrative of the convicts journey from slavery to freedom, along with the displacement and near destruction of its indigenous population. Rose was motivated along similar lines to Hughes’ own desire to investigate the origin of Australia’s cultural characteristic and how these experiences have helped shape modern Australia. “His account of Australia’s convict system, The Fatal Shore, is probably the best read Australian history. It exposed in Bob’s compelling prose the sadistic brutality bound up in our nation’s founding-a system that not only dispossessed and all but destroyed the native people but then flogged and tortured the prisoners it had brought to the other end of the world” (Malcolm Turnbull, 2012). The music utilises many influences, from Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Igor Stravisnky, Peter Sculthorpe and Olivier Messiaen, coupled with Rose’s background in contemporary classical music, jazz, afrobeat and Indian classical music. This project was assisted by The Australia Council for the Arts, and was released by Jeremy Rose and the Earshift Orchestra on ABC Jazz, June 2016.




for chamber orchestra, 12 minutes.

Published by the Australian Music Centre


Commissioned by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music 2016.


Premiered by the Modern Music Ensemble, conducted by Daryl Pratt September 2, 2016, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

The title refers to a space of transition whereby one is undergoing a metamorphosis, searching for both a certain future, and an end to a journey that may be accompanied with discomfort, anxiety and displacement.

It is often used in fiction as a rite of passage of a character, as they undergo signification transformation of identity through sacrifice or tragedy.

Liminality uses this narrative as inspiration through the juxtaposition of several musical ideas to portray a musical story that is fractured, and left unanswered. A choral-like, slow rubato section is contrasted with chaotic, densely rhythmically layered orchestral sections. The work features several solos, including the oboe, trumpet, violin, cello, piano, as well as many duos throughout the ensemble.

The title of the work also represents a response to the tragic events to emerge from Australia’s off-shore detention centers, including the self-immolation of two people on Nauru. Although I am aware that one piece of music cannot change the world, I was deeply moved by the event and was motivated with a desire to express a lamentation for both the 23 year-old Iranian Omid Mosoumali and 21 year-old Somalian Hodan Yasin. The irony of Australia’s eagerness to join a war against many of the refugee’s countries in the name of liberating them from their leaders, whilst reluctantly providing safety and care for the people fleeing the war torn countries is tragic. Just as these political and humanitarian issues that serve the work as inspiration are unresolved, the work ends without a ‘happy ending’, an apt way to respond to this ongoing saga.


Between Worlds


for string quartet and saxophone, three movements, 13 minutes.

Published by the Australian Music Centre


commissioned by Nick Russoniello

Between Worlds was written for string quartet and saxophone and draws impetus from the experience of second generation immigrants – commonly described as ‘being caught between two worlds’ – as they face challenges of an ever shifting sense of self whilst facing pressure to conserve their country of origin’s culture. The work was also inspired by the composer’s recent overseas touring and studying through Greece, Germany, Norway, Cuba and Dominican Republic. Rose’s background as a jazz saxophonist and familiarity with the instrument has combined with his compositional skill sets to create a work for the saxophone that is virtuosic and improvisatory-like.

The work expands the composers exploration of the potential interactions between art music and world music paradigms. Rose’s recent studies of Balkan Brass music at a week long workshop in northern Greece in 2013 helped shape cross-cultural/genre issues in the music such as improvisation, rhythmic vitality and folk melodic invention. The cross-cultural significance of the work stems from melodic material adapted from a Greek folk melody ‘Mirkov Cocek’, however is shifted and expanded to encompass a new context of contemporary harmony and melodic dexterity. This work is the first Rose has composed for String Quartet, drawing influences from Debussy, Ravel, and Peter Sculthorpe.

Premiered by Sydney Camerata Quartet and Nick Russoniello, 11 April 2013, Newcastle Conservatorium of Music, Australia.

Recorded by Nick Russoniello and Acacia String Quartet and released on the album Between Worlds – available here

Border Control


for piccolo/flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, and vibraphone. In three movements, 13 minutes.

commissioned by Ensemble Offspring

premiered 30 October 2014 by Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
performed by Lamorna Nightingale, Jason Noble, Callum G’Froerer, Claire Edwardes

Border Control is an extension of Rose’s investigations into cross-cultural music paradigms. The work utilises material from a recent field trip to Bali, Indonesia, where Rose studied at the Cudamani Gamelan school in Ubud, and from a workshop with traditional Korean musicians and Sydney drumming icon Simon Barker at the Australian Art Orchestra’s Creative Music Intensive in Cairns. The impetus for the piece draws from two sources – the dissemination of musical stylistic borders and the ongoing movement of people over national borders. The work is in three movements – fast, slow fast.

In particular, the work acts as a response to the Australian government’s asylum seeker policy. Unfortunately this time will be looked upon in years to come as a dark period of Australia’s history in which many of its policies towards its refugees are unnecessarily hard-hearted. It will be morally condemned alongside Australia’s ‘White Australia’ policy and the stolen generations of Indigenous children. Asylum seekers who risk their lives to travel to Australia by boat are moved to off-shore processing centres where they wait with indefinite detention and no certainty of their fate for themselves or their families. The inhumane treatment of them in these facilities also include stories of rape, malaria and a sense of desperation that has led some refugees to sow their lips together in hunger strike.




for trumpet with vibraphone and microtonal pitched percussion.

commissioned by Ensemble Offspring

premiered 30 October 2014 by Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
performed by Callum G’Froerer and Claire Edwardes

The parts in Rites exhibit a series of deformations of rhythm, pitch and timbre, and the dialogue between the trumpet and percussion is explored in a number of ways that unite and juxtapose against one another. The piece carries a meditative quality that is often trance-like, and introspective. The utilisation of micro-tuning is an attempt to explore a world beyond equal temperament, diffusing our expectations of pitch.

The creation of the work undertook a reverse engineering approach. The trumpet part was written using material from a series of recorded improvisations by the composer. These utilised chromatic and quarter-tone improvisations based on a shifting limited range. The vibraphone and percussion part was then written to accompany this material. The work was then deconstructed and restructured to develop and juxtapose a number of melodic and rhythmic ideas.