Curriculum Vitae


Scottish born with Australian citizenship (granted 1975).

Formal Qualifications

MM in Conducting and Pianoforte performance (University of Michigan) 1976;  G.T.C.L., L.T.C.L. (London) 1952.

Completed two years’ course work for Ph.D - Music Education major (University of Michigan);  awarded certificate of candidature, 1977.  Admitted to American National Music Honors Society in “recognition of superior musicianship and scholarship.”  Having made a decision to concentrate on compositions I did not proceed with the thesis.

Performance and Composition

Continuously active as a conductor,  pianist, bass player, composer and arranger in both classical and jazz styles (mainly classical) since 1954.

∙ Conductor of Wokingham Choral and Orchestral Society (1954-1964).

∙ Freelance bass player in London and regional orchestras (1954-1964).

∙ Founder and conductor of professional chamber orchestra ( 1962-1964).

∙ Bass player for County of Berkshire  Chamber Orchestra (1954-1964).

∙ Bass player in Abingdon revivals of Handel's operas some of which were recorded by the BBC.

∙ Pianist in professional ensemble and solo performances (1954-1990).

∙ Founder and conductor of Port Moresby Choral and Orchestral Society. (1965-1970). This Society staged the first performances of oratorio and light opera in Papua and New Guinea.  It was acclaimed by the then Administrator, Sir Donald Cleland, as the ‘genesis of (art) musical culture in the Territory.’

∙ Two concert tours of Papua New Guinea as associate artist with Ronald Woodcock.  My Four Pieces for Violin and Piano was performed. This work was premiered at  the Australian National Music camp in Geelong (Leon La Gruta and Vernon Davies). The performance was followed by generous praise and an invitation to join an Australian composers association. At this time (1967?) I was still resident in Papua New Guinea and this very kind response to my work was a key event in deciding upon a future in Australia. 

∙ Founder and director of the Port Moresby Junior Music School. 

∙ The PNG experiences required a  considerable amount of time to be given to arranging music; in the beginning even the music manuscript paper had to be hand drawn. 

∙ Founder and conductor of the Lismore Choral and Orchestral Society. This Society, which linked the city and the CAE, provided valuable musical experience for young musicians from the Northern Rivers region and from Brisbane. Young soloists (Greg Massingham, for example) and student orchestral musicians ( among them Tor Fromhyr) were hired by the Society. Major works like the Mozart C minor Mass and the Aratunyan Trumpet Concerto (soloist, Gordon Webb) were performed allowing local access to music otherwise inaccessible. The success of the Society together with the success of my colleague, Brian Stacey, in staging musicals, was foundational to the emphasis subsequently enjoyed by music in the ongoing curriculum of the College/University. (1971-1989).

∙ In October 1972, the first of a number of two-piano recitals were given in Lismore my by myself and Brian Stacey. Brian performed my Sketches  for solo piano at this concert.

∙ Broadcaster for regional Northern Rivers ABC in weekly programmes previewing and illustrating repertoire selected for regional ABC orchestral tours.

∙ Performances as a pianist with the Richmond Trio  with Mark and Marcia Underwood included a performance for the ABC and concert tours. (1979-1981).

  • Conductor on staff at the American National Music Camp,  Interlochen, 1976.

∙ Performance as a pianist, conductor and arranger in professional performances of chamber music organised by David Cubbin. Among other performers were Gordon Webb, Gordon Yemm, Wilfred Jones and Richard Mills. These concerts, many of them broadcast, were part of the series, ‘Arts in Action’.

∙ Conductor for the Victorian State Music Camp, (197?)

∙ Director of and regular performer in public concerts for the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University. (1990-1992) A crowning achievement during this period was the presentation of a Strauss Ball in which a 50-piece professional orchestra, professional opera singers and an amateur ballet company took part. I was the conductor and the orchestra was led by John Willison with whom I gave a number of concerts as associate artist.

First artistic director of the Canberra Youth Orchestra.

∙ Involved as pianist and arranger for four cabaret productions at the School of the Arts Cafe,  Queanbeyan. The cafe is noted as a venue for top national and international entertainers. (1993-94).

Presently engaged full-time in composing and publishing. 

Professional Experience in Field of Music Education 

Director of Music.  The Forest Grammar School. Reading, UK. 1954 - 1964

Establishment of a high school music curriculum; music school; and choral/orchestral society

in Papua New Guinea, 1964-1970. During this time became a founding member of ASME.

[A renewed interest in the 1970’s CMP (Contemporary Music Project) movement provided the motivation for a contribution to the ASME journal. My article on CMP appeared in edition number 22, April 1978.]

Lecturer in performance(pianoforte), music theory, music history and music (computer-managed) technology at the universities of Southern Cross (formerly Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education), New South Wales and at Griffith University, Queensland.

Artistic Director, Canberra Youth Orchestra Society:  October 1993-November 1994.

Board director and examiner for the Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts examination board, 1997-2009

Recent Publications and Ongoing Work

Numerous compositions for piano, chamber ensemble and orchestra. (1995-  )

A major orchestral work,  Festival 2001, was completed in 2001.  

Improvisation in Concept and Practice. (Melbourne: ANZCA, 2000) The following  is an extract from a review by Dr Peter Tregear of Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, U.K.

 “I have not come across anything near as good or as comprehensive as Urquhart-Jones’ book........The author and ANZCA are to be commended for an exemplary addition to the music teaching literature.”

In October, 2001 the following comment was offered in relation to my piano music:

“I teach a large variety of jazz piano music, and I have finally found a collection that is truly bubbling with life and vitality, from the very first piece to the last. My students instantly take to David Urquhart-Jones’ compositions. The scores are accessible, the melodies beguiling, quirky and catchy. What a welcome burst of fresh air!”

Abe Cytronowski B.Ed, B.A,. A.Mus.A. (author, "From Blues to Bop & Beyond")

Among recent publications are Moovin’ ‘n Groovin ,  Groovin’ OnStill Groovin'KiddySongs and Six Mini Concertos.  These albums serve a useful didactic purpose though their  principal purpose is to provide pieces that pianists will enjoy performing.  The first provides experiences with different jazz-based styles providing fully scored and lead sheet notation;  the last contains short pieces of medium technical difficulty in classical styles which can be played with full orchestral accompaniment.  KiddySongs is written for group keyboard performance and is aimed at an elementary level of performance technique. This book seeks to to keep alive traditional songs by presenting them in interesting arrangments.  A CD comes with each book in which ‘backing’ tracks are provided for each piece.

David is currently working on a clarinet quintet.  As with many other of his ensemble pieces it is aimed at performers whose principal interest is in those styles represented by the common practice classical repertoire

A number of David’s pieces were performed at the Coffs Harbour National Flute Convention held in 2005.  They included a work in three movements for flute and piano in ‘classical’ style.  Another piece, for tenor saxophone, piano and bass was performed on an electronic wind instrument.

Website address:

David Urquhart-Jones

April 4, 2016