COMPOSER / PIANIST
Hi, my name is Dan Thorpe, I graduated from the University of Adelaide with an Honours in Music (Sonic Arts) in 2013. I’m a composer and pianist writing to you, having just returned back to Adelaide from New York.
My practice is mostly concerned with the body, especially queer bodies, and there’s a real focus on the way music moves people: both in the way people play their instruments and the way we can be emotionally and physically moved by sound. What feels important to me is being compassionate to audiences and performers and sharing something with them that allows them to think about or feel their bodies in a different way.
I’ve made performance works (some contemporary dance works, some almost chamber operas), works for soloists (like Gabriella Smart, Conrad Tao, and Sören Hermansson), ensembles (like Decibel, Ensemble Offspring, the Australian String Quartet), and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Whenever I travel, fellow artists are often shocked at the number of things I’ve accomplished “alone” as a soloist and a composer — releasing albums; playing in the US, Brasil, Italy, Portugal, the UK; writing for WASO and the MSO; winning the odd prize or two along the way.
However, the truth — about which I regularly evangelise — is that I couldn’t be further from alone on my journey as an artist. I’ve been incredibly blessed by the amount of support I’ve received while I’m home and away, and the Helpmann Academy has been an invaluable partner in my success.
I think what’s also important to note is that Helpmann has truly been incredible partners in my failures, too. The team have given me incredible feedback, advice, and support throughout the years, and — if I’m honest with myself — held my hand through more applications than I’m willing to admit. I’m immensely proud to be a Helpmann alumnus, and immensely more prepared for a lifetime in the arts as a result.
To conclude, Helpmann helped me mount my first collaborative work (with dancers from TAFE SA Arts), attend my first industry conference in Portugal, attend the Women in the Creative Arts conference at ANU and return to Portugal to attend a Contemporary Music and Electronics residency.
This is an absolutely unthinkable amount of support. As a broke, working class twenty-something from Elizabeth investing their casual hospitality wage into their practice, it felt like millions and was transformative for my career and life-changing on a personal level.
Even the smallest amount of support makes the world of difference for South Australian artists, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what has been an incredible start to my professional practice.
Composer / Pianist