Dr Bowman is an experienced performer and educator in organ and piano, as well as a prolific composer specialising in the form of artsong
Calvin Bowman is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, and was the first Australian to graduate with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale University, with the assistance of a Fulbright scholarship. He has studied organ with John O’Donnell, harpsichord with Davitt Moroney, and piano accompaniment with Donald Thornton. He is a former Senior Lecturer in Composition and University Organist at The Australian National University.
An especial love of the music of J.S. Bach has led to his performances of the complete Bach organ works twice in public, once in 1995 and then again in 2009 for the Melbourne International Festival where he performed them in a single seventeen-hour sitting. For the latter feat he was nominated for a Helpmann Award.
In 2001, he was granted the privilege of re-opening the Melbourne Town Hall organ, following its multi-million dollar restoration, by presenting the world première performance of Voices by Philip Glass in the composer’s presence. As keyboardist he has also premièred works by Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Richard Mills, Graeme Koehne, Andrew Schultz and others, and appeared as soloist with many of the major Australian orchestras.
Dr Bowman is also a prolific composer, specialising in the form of artsong. These songs have been lauded by luminaries such as Barbara Bonney (‘very beautiful and well written’) and Sir Neville Marriner (‘gems of twenty first century imagination’.) His song Now Touch the Air Softly, recorded by Emma Matthews with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, was nominated for Best New Composition in the 2009 Limelight Awards, and was recently listed in the ‘ABC Classic FM – Classic 100: Love’ countdown.
As an accompanist he has worked with singers such as Sumi Jo, Greta Bradman, Sara Macliver and Paul McMahon. He has an especial interest in coaching and performing lieder and artsong.
Dr Bowman’s major awards include an Australia Council Fellowship. Commissions for 2017-18 include works for the Flinders Quartet, Tinalley Quartet, Stefanie Farrands, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and a major song cycle for the 2017 Adelaide Festival. His opera based on Norman Lindsay’s ‘The Magic Pudding’ will see a return season with Victorian Opera in 2018.