William Gardiner

To undertake a Masters of Music (Composition) with American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang

Practice Area:
Yale School of Music, Connecticut, USA
Project Dates:
August 2011 - May 2012
William Gardiner

About the artist

William holds a Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney and a Bachelor of Arts (Music) from University of Sydney. His specialty is art music composition.

The opportunity

To undertake a Masters of Music (Composition) with American composer and Pulitzer Prize winner David LangIn 2012 William was given the unique opportunity to be taught by American composer David Lang for a full year. Normally students change every semester, however William’s main motivation in attending Yale was to benefit from the Pulitzer Prize winner’s teachings. During his time at Yale, William learned a great deal about the craft of composition, but also about the practicalities of being a professional composer. He completed a major piece for large ensemble and three smaller scale pieces, all of which have now have been performed.


During his time at Yale, William completed music coursework, and grew familiar with a new musical repertoire and advanced his knowledge and capabilities in electronic music. William describes being part of a vibrant community of the world’s finest young musicians as “transformative” and he made lasting musical connections and strong friendships.

William reported that he lacked confidence when he began the course but then went from strength to strength during his tutelage with Lang. Having never had composition lessons before, Lang encouraged William to challenge himself and develop new skills. William also created strong networks with his musical peers, fellow students and other professionals.

Next steps

William’s next step was to complete his Masters at Yale. We awarded a second IPCT grant of $7,000 in August 2012, to support him in this. David Lang recommended that he study with Martin Bresnick, Lang’s teacher when he went to Yale in the 1980s (he describes him as the best teacher he ever had) who is now Chair of the composition department. William has been awarded the John D Jackson Scholarship (for best composition for strings written during the first year) and is considering doctoral study.

Despite the exciting career developments in the United States, William seems eager to ultimately return to Australia upon the completion of his studies. He sees huge potential for growth in his field in Australia and hopes to play a role in that growth and perhaps to teach.

During his time at Yale he met several other Australian students, including fellow IPCT grantees Holly Piccoli, Ashley Smith and Aura Go.

Author: Claire Rimmer



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