Ronan Apcar (b. 2000) is a rising young Australian composer and pianist. Described as “amongst the top composers of his generation” (Dr. Huw Belling), Apcar is emerging as apromising Australian musician with an “accomplished pianistic technique and penetrating musical insight” (Dr. Edward Neeman).
Photo by Panagiotis Karamanos
Apcar began his first formal lessons in piano at age ten, later also taking an interest in composition. He was then accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School to complete his final two years of secondary studies. Here, he studied a double major in composition under Dr. Huw Belling and piano under Elizabeth Powell, and a minor in trumpet with Bruce Hellmers.
At the Conservatorium High School, Apcar was the recipient of various awards and was noted for his “sensitive approach to all styles of music” (Elizabeth Powell). He has become particularly known for his interpretation of 20th- and 21st-century repertoire, especially of Australian and lesser-known composers. During his time there, he joined Australian-Slovenian pianist Katarina Grobler to perform piano duo repertoire in their well-received debut concert Organised Noise.
As a composer, his works are concerned the potential for emotional expression in music, and looking at ways to achieve this particularly through harmony. Works by him are often described as cinematic or storylike. Although heavily inspired by the works of 20th-century greats like Shostakovich, his influence from the Australian contemporary scene and even other genres like jazz and house music make his output varied and unique.
As a composer, his achievements and awards include the nationwide Artology Fanfare competition and the Sydney Chamber Opera Masterclass in 2017, the James Easton Memorial Composition Award in 2018, and more recently the 2019 Willgoss Choral Composition Prize, where his work Preludes will be premiered by the Burgundian Consort. In piano, he has performed at many significant engagements, including at Government House, Sydney, and was the 2018 Conservatorium High School Concerto Competition winner, which followed with an appearance as guest soloist with the Penrith Symphony Orchestra.
Apcar is increasingly involved in more and more performances, ranging from an international performance in the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory's Thirteenth International Music Festival, to local gigs around Canberra and Sydney. His work as a composer and performance has been recognised through several awards and prizes in recent times.
Apcar currently studies a Bachelor of Music at the ANU School of Music, under Wendy Lorenz for piano and Jodie Blackshaw for composition.