Dr David Kerry Chisholm

PhD University of Melbourne, BMus Hons. Monash University, BCA University of Wollongong


David Chisholm is internationally recognized as a composer defined by diverse and hybrid collaboration and a curator and producer of vision and courage. He is the composer of roughly 50 original compositions including ten long-form works, ranging orchestral, chamber, choral electronics, film, theatre, dance and installation and web projects. David has won an APRA|AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Experimental Music, six Green Room Awards, a French Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Award, a Highly Commended Paul Lowin Prize, a Mention at 36th Bourges International competition of electroacoustic music and electronic art, a Special mention in the X Media Forum, 31st International Film Festival, Moscow, the Medibank Private State and National Arts Awards and The Channel Ten National Young Achiever of the Year. David’s work has appeared at Venice Biennale, Villa Medici Roma, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Edinburgh Festivals, Moscow Museum of Art, ISCM World New Music Days, MONA FOMA, Danscenen Copenhagen, Nelson Composers Forum, Black Box Okhla New Delhi, Monaco Dance Forum, Australian Centre for Photography and he has been performed and recorded by Ensemble Vortex, defunensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Argonaut Ensemble, Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Adelaide, Tasmanian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Golden Fur, Aria Co, Latitude 37, Silo String Quartet, Argonaut String Quartet and The Australian Ballet/Sonic Art Ensemble and Ensemble Taller in Chile. David is founder and director of the highly acclaimed Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music and its roster ensemble Argonaut.


David has presented seminars on his music in Melbourne, Wellington, La Rochelle, Marseilles, Santiago, Belfast and Maccagno. As the composer in residence for four years with Phillip Adams’ BalletLab, David was part of the inaugural company in residence programme at the Experimental Media Performing Arts Center in New York and he is the only Australian composer to have been accepted in the Camargo Foundation residency programme, Cassis, and the only composer twice in residence at Centre Intermondes, La Rochelle. His collaboration with Russian poet Anzhelina Polonskaya, KURSK: An Oratorio Requiem was hailed as the triumph of the 2011 Melbourne Festival.  In 2014 he was an Artistic Associate for Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. He composed and produced the polarizing work The Experiment as part of Sydney Festival 2015, a work which has a dedicated chapter in the Leeds University Press|Routledge the 21st Century Performance Reader. In 2017 David was an Australia Council for the Arts Composer in Residence at HIAP in Helsinki, Finland and in 2018 he was an inaugural recipient of the Victorian Government’s Creator Grants. David holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne.  In 2018 he was the first Australian composer to be a featured guest of the Encuentro Internacional de Compositoresin Santiago, Chile. His Fado opera collaboration Daughters with librettist Tammy Brennan had its concert premiere at Angel Place, Sydney in 2019 then its theatrical realisation in New Delhi in early 2020. David recently completed a major new work commissioned by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, delayed due to COVID-19 until their fall 2021 season. He recently received a new commission from Paris ensemble Le Balcon for an organ concerto to premiere in the French capital in 2022. After many years teaching composition and cultural studies at Monash University and Victorian College of the Arts, David was appointed as Senior Lecturer and Composition Convenor at the School of Music, the University of Auckland in 2019, becoming Deputy Head of School in February 2020. 

Research | Current

Active creative research:

Commission from Lizzy Welsh "New work" for Baroque Violin solo (Recording in late 2020) (12 Minutes)

Commission from Creative Victoria "Into Darkness" for defunensemble Helsinki. (2022) (25 minutes)

Commission "Organ Concerto" for Sarah Kim and Le Balcon, Paris mid- 2022 (35-40 minutes)



Recently completed

Commission from Alex Raineri "Lombard" for Piano (World Premiere Brisbane October 2019)

Commission from San Francisco Contemporary Music Players "From the power of ten" for bass flute, bass/contrabass clarinet, contrabassoon, piano, cello, double bass, and 4-part low-fi electronics (March 2020 premiere delayed until October 2021, due to COVID-19 San Francisco)


Current written research:

Biography as autofiction and the Dorian Gray effect

Locating the composer's body 

Queer composition in a post-AIDS culture



Teaching | Current

In 2020 I will teach into

MUS310 Composition 5

MUS311 Composition 6

MUS714 Advanced Orchestration

MUS710 Composition Research Portfolio

MUS711 Composition Research Project


Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising Masters students Gustavo Beaklini, a Brazilian harpist looking at the role of the performer as co-composer through the lens of transcription and composer David Mason, a composer working across acoustic and electronic creativities and interested in Game Theory. David is also supervising Grace McKenzie an Honours level Violinist who is researching Mihalyi Chikzenmilhalyi’s“flow”  theory as a pedagogical tool in string training, and co-supervising Rosa Elliott and Michaela Cornelius two honours level composers. 


David is available for Postgraduate supervision in composition, musical aesthetics, transdisciplinary and collaborative practice, and musical hermeneutics. 


Deputy Head of School from February 2020

Composition Convenor from January 2019 - February 2020

Areas of expertise

Music Composition

Cultural Studies

Committees/Professional groups/Services

School of Music Research Committee since February  2019

School of Music Equity Committee since March 2020

School of Music External Relations Committee 2019

Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra Inspire Board Member, since late 2019

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Chisholm, D. (2020). The Memory of Remembering: Exomologesis and Exagoreusis in the Experiment. In T. Brayshaw, A. Fenemore, N. Witts (Eds.) The Twenty-First Century Performance Reader (pp. 113-120). Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/49043

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 8, Room 810
New Zealand

Web links