Calvin Bowman has been described variously as “a uniquely talented musician” (Philip Glass), “one of the finest musical minds this country has produced” (Graham Abbott), and “truly gifted” (Ezra Laderman).
His principal teachers have included John O’Donnell and Thomas Murray, organ; Donald Thornton, piano; Davitt Moroney, harpsichord; and Graeme Koehne and Ezra Laderman, composition. He has also attended masterclasses in Europe and the United States with Marie-Claire Alain, Michael Radulescu, Jean-Claude Zehnder, Gillian Weir and Thomas Trotter.
Dr Bowman has presented the complete Bach organ works twice in public, once in 1995 and then again in 2009 for the Melbourne International Festival when he performed them in a single seventeen hour sitting. For the latter feat he was nominated for a Helpmann Award in the “Best Individual Classical Music Performance” category.
He has premièred major keyboard works by Philip Glass, Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Graeme Koehne, Richard Mills and Andrew Schultz, and appeared as keyboard soloist with many Australian orchestras including Orchestra Victoria, and the Melbourne, Adelaide, West Australian and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
His organ recordings have met with widespread critical acclaim and been featured in publications such as the Gramophone Good CD Guide.
As a composer, Dr Bowman has been awarded an Australia Council Fellowship and been commissioned by Ars Musica Australis, Symphony Australia, and by many individuals and ensembles. His artsongs have been lauded by Barbara Bonney as “very beautiful and well written,” and he has been described as “the finest exponent of artsong composition we have in Australia” (Richard Mills).
His works have been conducted and performed by musicians such as Sir Neville Marriner, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Brad Cohen, Emma Matthews, Jacqueline Porter, Greta Bradman and Sara Macliver, recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and ABC Classics, and played by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, and the Tasmanian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
Other commissions include works for the Flinders Quartet, The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and Victorian Opera, the latter being an opera which is based on Norman Lindsay’s “The Magic Pudding”.
Dr Bowman is a graduate of The University of Melbourne, and was the first Australian to graduate with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Yale University with the assistance of a Fulbright scholarship.