Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Charles Bodman  Rae

Charles Bodman Rae

Charles Bodman  Rae

Charles Bodman Rae is a composer, pianist, conductor and author. He is currently the seventh Elder Professor of Music at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, where he has also served as Director and Dean. This appointment to Australia's senior professorship in music (est.1884) was made in 2001.

He was born in England in 1955 to a family of Scottish and German origins. After private piano studies with Dame Fanny Waterman, founder of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, he read Music at Cambridge (Sidney Sussex College).  Concurrent with his undergraduate studies at Cambridge he studied composition in Oxford with the composer, pianist and Messiaen scholar, Dr. Robert Sherlaw Johnson, with whom he also studied piano works of Messiaen. After conducting studies with Sir Edward Downes at Hilversum in Holland, and after completing postgraduate composition studies at Cambridge, with Professor Robin Holloway, he was appointed in 1979 to a permanent lecturership in Academic Studies at the then City of Leeds College of Music.

After two years he resigned his Leeds appointment in order to accept a postgraduate composition scholarship from the Polish Government, enabling him to live and work in Warsaw from 1981 to 1983 attached, as a visiting composer, to the Chopin Academy of Music.  During this time he developed a close professional association - and personal friendship - with one of the great composers of the twentieth century, Witold Lutoslawski, which lasted until the composer's death in 1994. This association led to his doctoral thesis on Lutoslawski's compositional technique (University of Leeds, 1992) and his monograph The Music of Lutoslawski (London: Faber and Faber, 1994) currently in its third edition (London: Omnibus Press, 1999).

Returning to Leeds in 1983 he was appointed to a permanent lecturership in Composition and Analysis, and then in 1992 to the senior management position of Head of School of Composition and Creative Studies. In 1997 he moved from Leeds to Manchester to join the senior management of the Royal Northern College of Music as Director of Studies (ie Dean) with a subsidiary role as Head of School of Academic Studies. In his four years at the RNCM he was responsible for restructuring both the undergraduate and postgraduate curricula and awards, putting in place the innovative feature of 'Supporting Professional Studies' that later secured for the RNCM a coveted HEFCE-funded Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  Whilst at the RNCM he contributed to the Sutherland and Tooley reports on the funding of UK music conservatoires, and was an elected member of the national executive committee of the National Association for Music in Higher Education.  He also played an active role in the affairs of the then Federation of British Conservatoires (now ConservatoiresUK).

In parallel with his work for leading UK music academies he was for much of the 1990s a regular broadcaster (writer and presenter) for BBC Radio 3. He made several radio documentaries on Lutoslawski and Penderecki, but his biggest project for the BBC was a ground-breaking 9-hour series of programmes (first broadcast in January/February 1990) on connections between Music and Bells.  This project represented a long-standing interest that had already been explored in several compositions beginning with Jede Irdische Venus, which had been premiered in Warsaw at the Chopin Academy of Music.

In 2001 he was recruited from the RNCM to direct and merge two music schools in Adelaide, the Elder Conservatorium of Music and the School of Music of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE. The merger was effected in 2001 and 2002 was the first year of the new dual-sector music academy (initially known as the Elder School of Music). From 2002 to 2005 he led a major multi-million dollar capital development of the school, jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments. The new facilities were formally opened by the Premier of South Australia in May 2005.

In 2004, concurrent with his leadership of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, he was elected to a three-year term as Chair of the Academic Board (Academic Senate) of the University of Adelaide. In this capacity he also served, ex officio, as a Member of the University Council, a member of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee (the senior executive group of the university), and many other university committees.

In Australia he has served as a non-executive Director on the Boards of the following organisations: the Helpmann Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts; the Australian Music Examinations Board; and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 he had joined the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in the UK as an Institutional Auditor, and in 2006 he was also invited to join the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) as an Institutional Auditor.

His professional debut took place in 1974, with the premiere of his first orchestral work, Primum Mobile. The piece was selected for the finals of the UK Composers' Competition held in Aberdeen as part of the International Festival of Youth Orchestras.  There it was played by the Young Musicians' Symphony Orchestra of London, conducted by James Blair. The performance received a Radio 3 network radio broadcast by BBC Scotland.

His Australian debut, as both pianist and composer, was given during the 2002 Adelaide Festival of Arts.


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