Acclaimed musician of great versatility, Roland Peelman was born in Flanders, Belgium and has been active in Australia over 25 years as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and musicians alike.
Peelman has received numerous accolades for his commitment to the creative arts in Australia and specifically for his 20-year directorship of The Song Company, during which the ensemble has grown into one of Australia’s most outstanding and innovative ensembles.
Peelman is widely recognised as one of Australia’s most renowned musicians receiving the NSW Award for “the most outstanding contribution to Australian Music by an individual” and named “musician of the year” by the Sydney Morning Herald’s music critic in 2006. The following year, he was again featured as one of Sydney’s top twenty musicians and most recently, he was listed in “The 100 Most Influential People in Sydney” -published by The Sydney Magazine at the end of 2009.
In 2009 Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Peter McCallum named Peelman “The Innovator”, praising him as the mastermind behind two of Sydney’s “best moments” in music, referring to the Tenebrae III dance collaboration to music by Gesualdo, and the Festival Licht, featuring music by the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Peelman has also been widely recognised for his creativity in commissioning new artistic projects, including Kalkadunga Yurdu with didgeridoo artist and composer William Barton.
His overview and understanding of the music canon is unique. With a repertoire that includes the major classical works from Bach to Gershwin as well as a vast oeuvre of early music, be it Lassus, Monteverdi, Schütz or Purcell, Peelman is Australia’s most innovative and versatile musical director. His passion for new music has been crucial to an ever-growing repertoire of concert music as well as music theatre. Over the years Peelman has directed numerous recordings and premiere seasons of new operas such as Black River, Fahrenheit 451, The Burrow, The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, Gauguin to name just a few.
He has worked with most orchestras in Australia and has conducted an abundance of new work with specialist ensembles such as Sydney Alpha, Libra and Ictus (Belgium-Germany) and most regularly with Australia’s leading new music group Ensemble Offspring.
He remains a regular guest at festivals in Australia and abroad and with the Song Company, continues to develop new projects that intend to change and re-invigorate the nature of concert, both in form and content.