M y generation of Australian composers was different to the preceding one, they didn’t wear suits and ties, didn’t work on the staff of the ABC, got jobs at universities, composed for newly formed ad hoc ensembles, and most of all had writers like Roger Covell or Maria Prerauer to champion them in public.
As it turned out, I wasn’t like any of them either. For a start, after 11 years as a loyal, self-effacing second bassoonist, I got myself thrown out of the ABC’s Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, by the self-same aforementioned suit and tie composers. But then, if I hadn’t been thrown out of the orchestra, I would never have composed my landmark Australische Meisterwerke– quite something for someone born in Wuppertal, Germany. There’s the Theme from Rush, the 1970s ABC-television series, which everybody from those days can whistle or sing, and the one and only successful black-and-white Australian fusion piece, my Sextet for Didjeridu and Wind Instrumentsfrom 1971.
George Dreyfus. Photo © Dave Abbott
I never did behave properly, in any circumstance, except in the film and television industry, perhaps because the...