"I consider myself to be a grass roots composer because my inspiration is derived from nature."
- Rosalind Carlson
Rosalind Carlson, Dip. Mus. Ed., A. Mus. A. (Theory), L.T.C.L. (P), A. Mus. T.C.L., A.T.C.L (P), Dip. Mus. (hc), D.S.M.E., F.F.C.S.M.E., T. Cert., M.I.M.T., M.M.T.A., F.I.B.A., F.A.B.I., was born at Wahroonga in Sydney N.S.W. on 13th March, 1937. In 1955 she was awarded a Department of Education four year scholarship to study music at the N.S.W. Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Teachers' College. Here her pedagogy studies included piano, vocal training, music composition, musicology and education.
During this period of time Rosalind studied piano with Professor Edwin Robinson, Winifred Burston and Nancy Salas: singing with Ruth Ladd and Lyndon Jones: and composition with Raymond Hanson and Dr. Noel Nickson. Rosalind graduated in 1958.
In post graduate studies Rosalind studied vocal production with Florence Taylor and composition with Dr. William Lovelock. As part of Rosalind's post graduate private studies with Trinity College London, she gained diplomas in composition, musicology and singing performance.
In 1980 Rosalind was awarded the Israel State Medal in recognition of the Carlson Chorale's international concert tour in 1979 - 1980.
In 1988 she won the Gold Coast Annual Composers' Competition Open Award with Waterfall in Spring for flute and piano.
In 1998 Waterfall in Spring was selected from the Australian entries by the Asian Composers' League Festival Selection Committee for performance in their music festival held in Taipei, Taiwan.
In 2003 on Australia Day (January 26) Rosalind was given the Australia Day Merit Award for her "Services to the Community through her deep desire to stimulate a love of music in its composition, performance and appreciation".
Rosalind says - "My aim in musical composition is to describe in sound an interpretation of aspects of my natural environment". In this, I consider myself to be a "grass roots" composer. I am fortunate to live in a rural area that stimulates this aim. So my musical inspiration is derived from Australia itself. It is my observations of this wonderful country with its vast contrasts that awakens and stimulates my creative drive.
"In my role as a music educationalist, I have researched many musical scores of the different genres, from early music to 20th Century. Here my detailed analytical studies and compilations of major works and their comparative stylistic features have given me an excellent insight into the musical compositional trends over the centuries. This included special details of modern 20th Century musicological styles, as those of Bartok, Britten, Stravinsky, Kodaly, Debussy, Phillip Glass and Ross Edwards - in choral, orchestral, and instrumental works. These also have helped to influence and shape my compositional thinking."
Five works representative of Rosalind's style are:
1. Waterfall in Spring - for flute and piano ensemble 1997
2. Psalms of Joy - SSAA choral a cappella 1997
3. Whales, Waves & the Ocean - for cello and piano ensemble 2008
4. Ozzie Bush Birds op29 - for flute and piano ensemble 2014
5. Australian Daybreak op32 - for solo or oboe, or cor anglais or saxophone 2017
The main reason Rosalind Carlson published her Flex-Fiingers Piano Technique books was to assist piano teachers in this area of pedagogy.
To this aim, Rosalind has been engaged many times as a guest presenter at various music workshops and piano pedagogy courses. These were organised for teachers at different venues held in Sydney organised by Dr. Rita Crews.
Rosalind also travelled to a variety of country towns in NSW to assist isolated music treachers in their teaching programmes. Here she gave music workshops and individual assistance where needed.
Over many years Rosalind has been an assessor for the teacher professional development courses. These were held at the Australian International Conservatorium of Music (Harris Park) Sydney.