"amongst the top composers of his generation”
(Dr. Huw Belling)
"relaxed confidence ... performed with authority and determination"
"accomplished pianistic technique and penetrating musical insight"
(Dr. Edward Neeman)
It is not easy to pigeonhole Ronan Apcar. His passion for music across many styles - jazz to the avant-garde, classical to house music - translates into his work as a musician. As a composer, his music may either aim to elicit an emotional response, paint a picture, or outright amuse the listener. As a pianist, he is known as a versatile musician who champions 20th and 21st century music.
Photo by William Hall
Ronan began his musical adventure teaching himself piano at age eight. His first formal lessons in piano at age ten and later took an interest in composition, again self-taught. After receiving composition tutelage from Stella Talati, Ronan was accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School where he studied a double major in composition under Dr. Huw Belling and piano under Elizabeth Powell, plus a minor in trumpet under Bruce Hellmers.
As a Pianist
Since honing his skills at the Conservatorium High School, Ronan has continued his “sensitive approach to all styles of music” (Elizabeth Powell), going on to perform in a diverse range of genres and ensembles, including jazz big bands, chamber ensembles, and as an orchestral soloist. Highlights include performances at the 13th International Music Festival in Moscow, the Manly Jazz Festival with the Manly Jazz All Stars, and the 2021 Canberra International Music Festival, where he was the Young Artist. Ronan has appeared as guest soloist with the Penrith Symphony Orchestra, ANU Orchestra, and later this year with the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra. He has also featured in many modern music concerts during his time at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, most notably in a piano duo with Australian-Slovenian pianist Katarina Grobler.
Ronan is also an acclaimed accompanist - winning the Margaret Smiles Accompaniment Prize (2019) - and chamber musician - winning the Friends Ensemble Prize (2021). He has a wealth of experience working with international touring professionals (such as Peter Pichler in 2019 and James Crabb in 2021) and is in-demand as a collaborative pianist.
Ronan has developed a passion for Australian music and is committed to promoting music by contemporary or recent composers. In June 2021, he made his recording debut with Dulcie Holland Crescent, comprised of unpublished and unheard music by Australian composer Dulcie Holland. He also is interested in gigs and concerts featuring electrifying and engaging music by modern composers that break free from the traditional recital format.
As a Composer
Ronan's compositional output demonstrates a developing unique voice that covers many genres and ensembles, thanks to diverse influences from 20th-century greats like Shostakovich to the Australian contemporary scene. Though his compositions are generally 'serious' works rich with pathos, he has recently started writing in a humorous, sarcastic style that makes commentary on politics and society. His music has been performed by the Conservatorium High School Orchestra under his own baton, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and many venues across Sydney and Canberra. His pieces have also won acclamation, including the Willgoss Choral Composition Prize (2019) and a spot in the Sydney Chamber Opera Masterclass (2017).
Ronan also has experience as an arranger and orchestrator, having been commissioned several times in previous years. He has also collaborated in cross-discipline artworks.
Ronan currently studies a Bachelor of Music at the ANU School of Music, under Susanne Powell for piano and Frank Millward for composition.