William Gardiner is an Australian composer of acoustic and electronic music. Characterized by a fierce attention to sonic detail, his musical approach has been shaped as much by growing up in a harpsichord-containing household in rural Australia as by a later obsession with recorded music; inspiration ranges from the sensitivity of the clavecinistes of the French baroque to the saturated electronics of Oneohtrix Point Never. His musical voice has been described as “emotional without emotions, and utterly spellbinding” (New Classic LA), “maintaining a tight expressive focus...dry-eyed but fearless sentimentality” (San Francisco Chronicle), and “different and uncommon — mature and amplified like the content of myths” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
His diverse output ranges from a cello concerto, commissioned in 2017 by John Adams, one of the world’s most celebrated living composers, to pieces for chamber ensembles, amplified instruments, and purely electronic work. In 2019, his projects included electronically re-composing elements of the German romantic opera Der Freischütz for a radical amplified reinterpretation by Heartbeat Opera, reviewed by the New York Times as a ‘Critic’s Pick’. Upcoming work includes a commission from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as part of their 50 Fanfares initiative.
In composition studies at the Yale School of Music, Gardiner was mentored primarily by David Lang, also working individually with Martin Bresnick and Aaron Jay Kernis. Gardiner began his studies at the University of Sydney, completing arts and law degrees. In addition to formal studies, he has worked in electronic music composition with Ben Frost at Bedroom Community/Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik, Iceland, with the support of the Australia Council for the Arts, and he was a fellow in composition at the 2014 Bang on a Can Summer Festival at Mass MoCA. Recognition of his work has included awards from the Presser Foundation, Yale School of Music, the American Composers Forum National Composition Contest, the Albany Symphony ‘Composer to Center Stage’ program, the Australia Council for the Arts, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, American-Australian Association Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, and Ars Musica Australis. In 2019 he was awarded the Prelude residency at Beaumont House in South Australia, a joint initiative of the Bundanon Trust, the National Trust, and the Helpmann Academy. In 2020, he was selected by the Orchestra of St Luke's (NYC) to be commissioned as part of their DeGaetano Composition Institute, under the mentorship of Anna Clyne.