Discipline: Music Composition

Wally Gunn

Discipline: Music Composition
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2019

Wally Gunn is a composer whose work makes use of patterns and processes, and sometimes utilizes physical gesture and speech to heighten the theatricality of musical performance, creating music that is expressive and emotionally direct. His work often incorporates the extramusical themes of science and the natural world, as well as explorations of queer identity and experience. Hailing from rural Australia, Wally first played in rock bands, then attended Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, before moving to New York to study with Julia Wolfe at Manhattan School of Music, and then pursue a Ph.D. at Princeton University. Wally writes concert music and collaborates with theater makers and visual artists. He was a fellow at the MacDowell from February to April 2019, where he completed a 90-minute oratorio for six voices, four percussion, and viola, with a libretto by longtime collaborator, poet Maria Zajkowski (Melbourne, Australia), based on the true crime queer love story of the 19th-century Australian outlaw Captain Moonlite. Wally currently divides his time between New York, NY, USA and Castlemaine, VIC, Australia.



Wally Gunn worked in the MacDowell studio.

Built in 1912, Pine Studio was renamed MacDowell Studio in 1943 in recognition of support from a group of Edward MacDowell’s music students. It was built as a composers’ studio and the stuccoed walls were intended to be soundproof. Like many of the studios on property, MacDowell was winterized in the 1950s when the program began welcoming…

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