Alister Spence

Lecturer

Alister Spence is an internationally-recognised pianist, composer, and performer of jazz and improvised music.
He holds a PhD in Creative Practice (Music Composition) from the University of New South Wales, and a Diploma in Teaching from the University of Technology Sydney. His original compositions and performances are documented on more than fifty albums. Alister Spence has played with and composed music for a number of important ensembles in Australian jazz and improvised music from the 1980s until the present, including: Clarion Fracture Zone, Wanderlust, the Bernie McGann Trio, the Australian Art Orchestra, and the Alister Spence Trio. He is currently leader of the Alister Spence Trio, and co-leader of Kira Kira (with Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Japan), Sensaround (with Sia XRay, and Raymond MacDonald, from Australia and Scotland), and the Spence/MacDonald duo.

Awards for Alister Spence’s composition and performance work include the 2014 APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award for Everything Here is Possible, a duet with US pianist Myra Melford. He received an Australian Record Industry Award (ARIA) in 1990 for Blue Shift (Best Australian Jazz Album) as co-leader/composer/performer with Clarion Fracture Zone, and in 1993 for Wanderlust as composer/performer with the ensemble of the same name. In 2004 and 2007, the Alister Spence Trio was nominated for Best Australian Jazz Album (ARIA Awards) for the audio recordings Flux, and Mercury which feature original works by Spence and co-compositions with the two other trio members, Lloyd Swanton, and Toby Hall. In 2018 the Alister Spence Trio was nominated for an Art Music Award for their CD Not Everything But Enough.

Alister Spence’s compositions have been performed by the Australian Art Orchestra, Sruthi Laya Ensemble (Chennai, India), The Alister Spence Trio, Clarion Fracture Zone, Wanderlust, Bernie McGann, Sandy Evans, Julien Wilson, The Martenitsa Choir, Sensaround, Satoko Fujii Orchestras (Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe), and the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra. These include several major compositional works. Soak, a suite in five movements was composed for the Australian Art Orchestra and premiered at the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 2009. In 2017 another extended original work, Imagine Meeting You Here, was premiered by Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo at the Sengawa Jazz Art Festival in Japan, and by the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra at GIOFestIX in Glasgow.

Alister Spence has also composed extensively for film. He was awarded ‘Best Score’ for Journey  at the Edge of the World Film Festival (Hobart) in 1998, and his score for the feature film Beneath Clouds was nominated for Best Score at the 2002 Australian Film Industry Awards, and the Film Critics Awards in the same year (co-composed with director, Ivan Sen). Additionally he has worked in mixed media performance with film and video artist Louise Curham. This collaboration has been documented on the CD and DVD fit (Rufus Records, 2009).

Alister Spence has been the recipient of numerous grants from the Australia Council for the Arts, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Australia Japan Foundation, for the composition, recording, touring and performance of new work in Australia, Europe, Canada, US, Japan, Taiwan, China, and India. He maintains ongoing musical collaborative relationships with colleagues in Australia, Japan, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, and the US. These relationships have resulted in a number of highly regarded original music CDs.

At UNSW Alister Spence teaches in the areas of jazz composition and improvisation.

Subject areas
lensMusic

Publications

Conference Presentations
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Spence AM, 2016, '‘Let’s Get Lost’ jazz and experimentalism: a contemporary possibility for engaging with the unknown.', presented at Rhythm Changes 2016: Jazz Utopia, Birmingham, UK, 14 April 2016 - 17 April 2016, http://www.rhythmchanges.net/rhythm-changes-2016-draft-programme/
2016
Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance)
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Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Hevia F, 2018, The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, Publication: Kira Kira 'Bright Force' Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Adelaide, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.coma.net.au/gighistory
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; O'Connor C, 2018, The Backbeat Bar, Auckland, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Auckland, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.creativejazzclub.co.nz/events/2018/11/21/kira-kira
2018
Spence A; Swanton L; Hall T; Kuepper E, 2018, Venue 505, Sydney, Publication: Alister Spence Trio with special guest Ed Kuepper, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.facebook.com/events/2063039317245982/
2018
Spence A; Tamura N; Fujii S; Derricott P, 2018, The Grand Hotel Underground, Newcastle, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Newcastle, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.nima.org.au/
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; McLean J, 2018, Jazzlab, Melbourne, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Melbourne, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://jazzlab.club/760-kira-kira-japan-australia
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Rae J, 2018, The Pyramid Club, Wellington, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Wellington (NZ), Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://wellingtonjazzcooperative.co.nz/2018/11/22/kira-kira-japan-australia-new-zealand/
2018
Spence A; Swanton L; Hall T, 2018, Venue 505, Sydney, Publication: Alister Spence Trio, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.facebook.com/events/venue-505/tangents-alister-spence-trio/363015774436630/
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Swanton L; Hall T, 2018, Foundry 616, Sydney, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Sydney International Women's Jazz Festival 2018, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://siwjf.org/portfolio/kira-kira-bright-force-japan-australia/
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Kim C, 2018, The Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, Publication: Kira Kira ‘Bright Force’ Australia/New Zealand Tour 2018: Canberra, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.facebook.com/events/satoko-fujii-natsuki-tamura-alister-spence-c-kim-emsc-trio/340810496494299/
2018
Spence A; Swanton L; Hall T, 2018, Foundry 616, Sydney, Publication: Alister Spence Trio, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.facebook.com/events/134657994052963/
2018
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Buck A, 2017, Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2017, The Jazzlab, Brunswick, Melbourne, Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2017, Publication: Kira Kira (premier), Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://melbournejazz.com/blog/5-minuteswith-alister-spence
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Izumi K; Hayasaka S; Matsumoto K; Kimura M; Fukumoto Y; Watanabe T; Shirotani Y; Takahashi Y; Koike T; Nagamatsu H; Nagata T; Horikoshi A, 2017, Jazz Art Sengawa Festival 2017, Sengawa, greater Tokyo, Jazz Art Sengawa Festival 2017, Publication: 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo at Jazz Art Sengawa Festival 2017, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://jazzartsengawa.com/
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Barker S, 2017, Fujii/Tamura (Japan), Spence/Barker at Venue 505, Venue 505 Sydney, Fujii/Tamura (Japan), Spence/Barker at Venue 505, Publication: Alister Spence, Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Simon Barker concert, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), https://www.facebook.com/events/449863628700062
2017
Spence AM; Tamura N; Okabe Y, 2017, amura/Spence/Okabe at Knuttelhouse, Knuttelhouse, Tokyo, amura/Spence/Okabe at Knuttelhouse, Publication: Tamura/Spence/Okabe at Knuttelhouse, Tokyo, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.geocities.jp/knuttelhousekappabashi/frame.html
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S, 2017, Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Koendori Classics, Koendori Classics, Tokyo, Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Koendori Classics, Publication: Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Koendori Classics, Tokyo, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://koendoriclassics.com/events/400/
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S, 2017, Fujii/Spence duo concert at Intelsat, Intelsat, Kiracho, Nishio, Fujii/Spence duo concert at Intelsat, Publication: Fujii/Spence duo concert at Intelsat, Kiracho, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.jazz-intelsat.com/
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S, 2017, Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Umeda Always, Umeda Always, Osaka, Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Umeda Always, Publication: Fujii/Spence piano duet Concert at Umeda Always, Osaka, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.always-live.info/index.html
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Ittetsu T, 2017, Kira Kira concert at Knuttelhouse, Knuttelhouse, Tokyo, Kira Kira concert at Knuttelhouse, Publication: Kira Kira concert at Knuttelhouse, Tokyo, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.maroon.dti.ne.jp/knuttelhouse/
2017
Spence AM; Yoshimaru A; Takeda S; Hirao Y; Kobayashi D; Matsumoto T; Watanabe T; Ishiwata M; Tsujita T; Tamura N; Fujii S; Yasuhiro U; Toda H; Kondo H, 2017, 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya at KD Japon, KD Japon, 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya at KD Japon, Publication: 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya at KD Japon, Nagoya, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://nagoya/
2017
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Iwata K; Mizutani Y; Arasaki E; Takei T; Nobori K; Barrett J; Yokoo S; Arimoto R; Imanishi Y; Kaneko Y; Seino T; Funato H; Isaki Y, 2017, 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, Big Apple, Kobe, 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, Publication: 'Imagine Meeting You Here': Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, at Big Apple, Kobe, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.geocities.jp/kbigapple/
2017
Spence AM; Cassidy C; MacDonald R; Roche E; MacGlone U; Kerr F; Henderson R; South A; Slaven K; Brown S; MacKenzie S; Mackay C; Burt G; Searle-Mbullu K; Wilson G; Rossi G; Linson A; Bamford R; Beagles S; Mwamba C; Nicols M; Muramatsu A, 2016, GioFest, Glasgow, Scotland, UK, GioFest, Publication: GioFest IX day 2: Imagine Meeting You Here (Alister Spence, Australia) with GIO, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.cca-glasgow.com/programme/giofest-ix-day-two, http://www.cca-glasgow.com/programme/giofest-ix-day-two
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S, 2016, 'Sensaround' Live at Valentine Drive, Valentine Drive, Nagoya, 'Sensaround' Live at Valentine Drive, Publication: 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) Japan tour concert, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.valentinedrive.com/%20(2016%20dates%20no%20longer%20on%20website)
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S, 2016, 'Sensaround' Live at Urbanguild, Urbanguild, Kyoto, 'Sensaround' Live at Urbanguild, Publication: 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) Japan tour concert, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.urbanguild.com/%20(early%202016%20events%20no%20longer%20listed)
2016
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Iwata K; Mizutani Y; Arasaki E; Takei T; Nobori K; Barrett J; Seto K; Arimoto R; Mihara T; Imanishi Y; Seino T; Funato H; Isaki Y; MacDonald R; Kaneko Y, 2016, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, live at Big Apple, Big Apple, Kobe, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, live at Big Apple, Publication: Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.geocities.jp./kbigapple/
2016
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Hayasaka S; Izumi K; Matsumoto K; Kimura M; Yoshida R; Fukumoto Y; Watanabe T; Shirotani Y; Nagamatsu H; Takahashi Y; Koike T; Nagata T; Horikoshi A; MacDonald R, 2016, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo, live at Pitt Inn, Pitt Inn, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo, live at Pitt Inn, Publication: Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.pit-inn.com/%20(February%202016%20events%20no%20longer%20on%20website)
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S; Yagi M, 2016, 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) concert with special guest Michiyo Yagi (koto), Pitt Inn, Tokyo, 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) concert with special guest Michiyo Yagi (koto), Publication: 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) concert with special guest Michiyo Yagi (koto), Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.pit-inn.com/%20(event%20no%20longer%20listed%20on%20website)
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S, 2016, 'Sensaround' Live at Yellow Vision, Yellow Vision, Tokyo, 'Sensaround' Live at Yellow Vision, Publication: 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) Japan tour concert, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.yellowvision.jp/1602.html, http://www.yellowvision.jp/1602.html
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S; Fujii S; Tamura N, 2016, Sensaround live at Guggenheim House with Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Guggenheim House, Kobe, Sensaround live at Guggenheim House with Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Publication: 'Sensaround' (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) Japan tour concert, with special guests Satoko Fujii (piano) and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.nedogu.com/blog/archives/date/2016/02?ec3_listing=disable, http://www.nedogu.com/blog/archives/date/2016/02?ec3_listing=disable
2016
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S; Kaneko Y, 2016, Sensaround live at Pepperland with special guest Yasuko Kaneko, Pepperland, Okayama, Sensaround live at Pepperland with special guest Yasuko Kaneko, Publication: Sensaround (Spence/MacDonald/Ahmad) Japan tour concert with special guest Yasuko Kaneko (trombone), Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.pepperland.net/pllive.html?y=2016&m=2, http://www.pepperland.net/pllive.html?y=2016&m=2
2016
Spence AM; Fujii S; Tamura N; Yoshimaru A; Takeda S; Hirao Y; Kobayashi D; Matsumoto T; Watanabe T; Ishiwatari M; Tsujita T; Nitta M; Terukina T; Takahashi K; Usui Y; Tokuda S; Kondo H; MacDonald R, 2016, Satoko Fuji orchestra nagoya, live at Tokuzo, Tokuzo, Nagoya, Satoko Fuji orchestra nagoya, live at Tokuzo, Publication: Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance), http://www.tokuzo.com/schedule/2016/02/17/, http://www.tokuzo.com/schedule/2016/02/17/
2016
Spence A; Swanton L; Hall T, Factory Theatre, Sydney, Publication: Alister Spence Trio, Performances (Music, Theatre, Dance)
Recorded / Rendered Creative Works
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Spence A, 2019, Imagine Meeting You Here, Alister Spence Music, Sydney, Australia, Editor(s): Fujii S; Tamura N; Iwata K; Mizutani Y; Arasaki E; Takei T; Nobori K; Barrett J; Yokoo S; Arimoto R; Imanishi Y; Kaneko Y; Seino T; Funato H; Isaki Y; Spence A, CD recording, and digital audio for downloads and streaming, Published: 18 January 2019, Duration: 00:49:12, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/alisterspence4
2019
Spence A; Fujii S, 2018, 'intelsat', Alister Spence Music, Sydney, Australia, Editor(s): Spence A; Fujii S, CD and digital audio for download and streaming, Published: 28 September 2018, Duration: 01:02:20, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, http://www.alisterspence.com/discography.php
2018
Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Takemura I, 2018, 'Bright Force', Libra Records, Tokyo, Japan, Editor(s): Spence A; Fujii S; Tamura N; Takemura I, CD recording and digital audio for downloads and streaming, Published: 27 April 2018, Duration: 00:58:30, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, http://www.librarecords.com/sne/cd91e.html
2018
Spence A; MacDonald R, 2018, 'Sound Hotel', Alister Spence Music, Sydney, Australia, Editor(s): Spence A; MacDonald R, CD recording and digital download, Published: 26 March 2018, Duration: 01:02:00, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, http://www.alisterspence.com/discography.php
2018
Spence AM; Hall T; Swanton LS, 2017, Not Everything but Enough, Alister Spence Music, Sydney, Australia, Editor(s): Whitten T, CD, Published: 05 August 2017, Duration: 02:05:04, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, http://www.alisterspence.com/discography_zoom.php?id=14
2017
Spence AM; MacDonald R; Ahmad S, 2016, Travelogue, hellosQuare recordings, Canberra, Australia, Editor(s): Ahmad S, Compact Disc (CD), and digital download (as mp3 and FLAC), Published: 01 June 2016, Duration: 00:53:32, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, https://hellosquare.bandcamp.com/album/travelogue
2016
Spence A; Melford M, 2014, Everything Here is Possible, Alister Spence Music (CD publication, licensed from ABC Music), Sydney, Australia, Editor(s): Spence A; Melford M, CD and digital audio, Published: 20 June 2014, Duration: 00:53:36, Recorded / Rendered Creative Works, http://www.alisterspence.com/discography.php
2014