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William Barton


William Barton is one of Australia’s most notable didgeridoo players, as well as a pioneer in the wider perception of his cultural traditions. Born in Mount Isa in 1981, he was taught the didgeridoo by his uncle, an elder from the Waanyi tribe of NW Queensland. At the age of eleven he became the leading didgeridoo player at traditional funerals and other ceremonies, and as a direct descendant from the Kalkadunga tribe, he became involved in dance and began to instruct others in aspects of his traditional culture. In July 2001 he appeared at the Townsville International Festival of Chamber Music, performing in Peter Sculthorpe’s From Ubirr: String Quartet No. 12 with the Goldner String Quartet. That appearance launched an extraordinary association between the young man and Australia’s most revered senior composer. Sculthorpe has now included didgeridoo parts in several of his notable orchestral pieces. These were first presented by the Queensland Orchestra and their chief conductor Michael Christie in Brisbane in August 2002 and a month later in Tokyo, and in 2003, William Barton was designated as the orchestra’s artist-in-residence. He has appeared at most festivals in Australia, and has amassed an impressive roster of international appearances, from Edmonton to Honolulu, from Los Angeles to Vienna, from Spain to Japan, presenting the works of a number of Australian composers as well as his own original work for the didgeridoo.





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