Richard Charlton

Richard is widely recognised as Australia's leading guitarist/composer. Born in the UK in 1955 he has lived in Australia since his parents emigrated in 1963. Largely self-taught he initially started writing music to expand his own repertoire, but now his works have been performed and recorded by many leading Australian and international players and feature on more than 30 CDs including labels such as ABC Classics, Naxos, Tall Poppies and Move Records. Many of the performers who have commissioned works from Mr Charlton are among Australia's leading guitarists such as Timothy Kain, Karin Schaupp and Slava Grigoryan.

His music combines a love of melody with a keen sense of harmonic and formal structure - music "to entice the ear as well as the intellect" (Fred Blanks - Northern Herald).

In 2004 Mr Charlton was awarded Instrumental Work of the Year at the APRA/AMC Classical Music Awards for his guitar quartet Stoneworks. In 2005 the UK magazine Classical Guitar, described him as, "producing some of the most inspired and accessible guitar works of the present era."

Richard has had works premiered at many major festivals worldwide, including the Adelaide Festival, the Radio France International Guitar Week in Paris, the Sonorities Festival in Belfast, the Hamburg International Guitar Festival, the BDZ Euro Festival of Zupfmusik and at Australia House and Bolivar Hall in London.

Mr Charlton uses the guitar in many musical combinations, collaborating with a diverse range of artists. This has recently included a work for guitar and string quartet for Matt Withers and the Acacia Quartet (2018), pieces for Guitar Trek, works for cello and guitar (Bach in the Dark), as well as music for the ABC Meditation program Classic Flow which featured William Barton, didgeridoo and Riley Lee, shakuhachi with guitarist Steve Allen (2019).

Richard's most recent guitar compositions have been a large-scale solo work for Tim Kain, The Sonata of Forgotten Dreams, (released on Naxos), a dramatized solo work for Karin Schaupp and a new quartet for Guitar Trek. His work as an arranger has seen him contribute to three Katie Noonan/Karin Schaupp duo CDs, one of which won an ARIA Award. He has also twice arranged music for choir and orchestra with guitar for the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols in Brisbane. (2014 & 2017)

Mr Charlton has been invited to lecture on composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide and at Griffith University in Brisbane.  He has also taught in masterclasses at the Royal College of Music in London and has given chamber music classes for the students of Prof. Maria Isabel Siewers at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg.

Many of Richard's pieces for students are currently in the Australian Music Examination Board Syllabus. He has also contributed pieces to the series Modern Times published by Chanterelle and to the Ben Verdery Guitar Series published by Frederick Harris Music in Canada.

As former Director of Music Performance at Ascham School (Sydney) for many years, Richard has been involved with the creation of many new works for orchestras and vocal ensembles. As a conductor and educator, he has worked with all kinds of groups from primary school to mature ages and has conducted a wide variety of orchestras ranging from 80-piece student guitar ensembles to school choirs and symphony orchestras such as the St. Istvan Music School Orchestra (Budapest) and the SBS Youth Orchestra (Sydney).

Highly sought after as teacher, composer and pedagogue, Mr Charlton has worked with performers all over the world, conducting workshops at schools as diverse as Perth Modern (WA), Northlands High School (Buenos Aires) The Centre for Youth Music (Darwin NT), St. Paul's Girls School (London), the Associazione Musicale di Varese (Italy) the Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and at festivals at Enkhuizen in the Netherlands and Hamburg in Germany.

He is presently the Coordinator of Guitar Studies and Composer in Residence at Ascham School.

Mr Charlton is represented worldwide by the Australian Music Centre: