Sarah de Jong


Sarah de Jong was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1952 and moved to Australia in 1961. She trained at the Melbourne State College studying music and drama, then at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music with Brian Howard and Barry Conyngham.
In 1986 she participated in the Australia/New Zealand Professional Choreographers and Composers Dance Course. Since 1978 Sarah has played an important role in Australia crossing artistic boundaries while creating music for theatre, dance, radio and film. She has worked in many musical forms and takes great pleasure in exploring disjointed dancing rhythms and unexpected harmonies underneath lovely melodies.
Her music is particularly noted for its ability to intensify emotions created in texts and in performances and she finds collaborating with artists in different fields very rewarding. Several theatre pieces she has scored have toured Australia, Europe, England, Japan, Venezuela and New Zealand and she has twice worked in Hanoi, Vietnam composing dance theatre pieces.
A major work she composed in Vietnam for the Vietnam Opera Ballet Theatre Company was titled “Through the Eyes of the Phoenix” (1997) and scored for an orchestra which also included Vietnamese instruments. She particularly enjoys composing for a huge variety of instruments. Notable scores include the music theatre work “Portrait of an Invisible Man” (1993) for koto, voice, marimba, tuned and untuned percussion, the films “Flirting” (1989) and “Sparks” (1989) both winners of Australian Film Institute awards for Best Film and the radio plays “Summer Of The Aliens” (1989) and “The Lights of Jericho” (1993), both of which won the Prix Italia.
Her opera “The Cockatoos” was commissioned and performed by the Victorian State Opera in 2010. In 2003/2005 her song cycle for baritone and piano titled “Mountain Songs” was premiered in Melbourne and in New Zealand. Her works for radio include “The Song Room” written by Louis Nowra; “Swim Swim Swan Song”; “Murder Suite”; “The Anatomy Lesson”; “The Divine Hammer” a 6 part radio series; “A Foretaste of Heaven” and “Above the Snowline”.
Sarah was the featured composer in the 2005 Monash University Australian Composers series. Almost always working as a freelance composer there have been many commissions for plays and dance. Some of them include: “Black Medea” (2000) for string trio, “Salt” (2001) for violin and viola; “The Empty Lunch Tin” (1999) for string trio, “The Happy Prince” (1992 - Helpmann Award) for electronic instruments, as well as in an orchestral version with narration; “Fantastic Toys” (1986) for tape, sampler and electronic instruments; “Drowning In A Sea of Dreams” (1994) for viola solo, piano and electronic instruments: “The Diary of Anne Frank” (2001) for solo cello. She has been Composer in Residence for Death Defying Theatre, University of Wollongong, South Australian Theatre Company and South Australia Department of Education.
Below is 'Under the Water, Under the Sea' composed by her.