ABOUT
BIO + AWARDS

it is not easy to pigeonhole 

RONAN APCAR - one of australia's emerging young pianists who is quickly garnering a reputation of versatility, edge, and tenacity

 

his passion for all kinds of music - jazz to the avant-garde, classical to house music - translates into his exciting work as a musician, not just as a performer and a composer but also as a collaborator and an artist 

BEGINNINGS

It all began with a humble Nintendo DS console where Ronan found a little piano game. Wanting to play the 'real deal,' he began teaching himself how to play piano at age eight. After formal lessons and many bad habits unlearnt, Ronan attended the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School to dive into the big wide world of music.

TODAY

Ronan completed a Bachelor of Music (Performance/Composition) at the ANU School of Music, Canberra, where he was top of the graduating cohort in 2021. In 2022, he has been busy building a reputation across many different circles in the local music industry as a performer, collaborator, and organiser in regional New South Wales, Sydney, and Canberra. He has been quietly refining his solo performance practice to break down the barriers of traditional piano concerts and bring new music to new audiences. He is also challenging traditional concert attire and formalities by experimenting with venue, dress, speech, and allowing the audience to eat, drink, and chat throughout. There are plans to start experimenting with keyboards, laptops, samples, drum machines, and loop pedals...when there's a spare moment!

AS A PIANIST

Ronan has gone on to perform in a diverse range of genres, ensembles, venues, and settings. Whether upstairs at a food hall in Canberra or at the Rachmaninoff Hall in Moscow, he always has an "authority and determination," a "relaxed confidence" (Canberra CityNews) and "a talent beyond his age" (Limelight Magazine) about his playing.

Festival appearances include the 13th International Music Festival in Moscow, the Manly Jazz Festival with the Manly Jazz All Stars, and the 2022 and 2021 Canberra International Music Festival, where he was the Young Artist. Ronan has appeared as guest soloist with the Penrith Symphony Orchestra, the ANU Orchestra, and the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra. Ronan has also presented many modern and contemporary music concerts, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with other musicians. Selections include with pianist Katarina Grobler, bass Jack Stephens, and flautist Emma Warburton.

Ronan is also an acclaimed associate and chamber musician, winning prizes in both these areas. Having a wealth of experience working with musicians across the spectrum from hobbyist to internationally-touring professionals and such a versatility, it is easy to understand why Ronan is so in-demand as a collaborative musician. He is currently an approved associate artist with the ANU School of Music, and has worked with the National Opera and Moorambilla Voices.

Ronan is committed to promoting and elevating the presence of Australian music, especially of contemporary or recent composers. In June 2021, he made his recording debut with Dulcie Holland Crescent - an album of largely unpublished and unheard music by Australian composer Dulcie Holland. Since its release, it has been regularly played on 2MBS Fine Music and ABC Classic, where it was made a feature album. 

AS A COMPOSER

With a wide range of influences and the experience of being a performer himself, Ronan's original music demonstrates a unique voice. His willingness to experiment with genre and medium has seen him described as "amongst the top composers of his generation." (Dr. Huw Belling)

Ronan's works can be described as one of two very opposite styles: 'serious' and rich-with-pathos works, or outrageously sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek. While composition feels second to performance for Ronan, his music has been performed by the Conservatorium High School Orchestra, the Australian Youth Orchestra, and in many smaller ensembles across Sydney and Canberra venues. He has also received recognition for his music from Sydney Chamber Opera, the ANU School of Music, and UNSW Music Performance Unit through prizes and performances of his works.

 

Ronan also has experience as an arranger and orchestrator, having been commissioned several times in previous years. He has also collaborated in creating cross-discipline artworks with dancers, playwrights, and authors, and is interested in exploring ways music can exist as more than an aural dimension. Ronan is also interested in reshaping the composer-performer model and is interested in experimenting with ways to blend the two into a hybrid-practice, rather than two separate disciplines.

AWARDS + ACHIEVEMENTS

2022

  • Canberra Critics' Circle Award for Music Canberra

  • National Young Virtuoso Award - Second Prize 3MBS Melbourne 103.5FM, Melbourne

  • ACT Young Virtuoso Award - Winner ArtSound FM, Canberra

2021

  • Bachelor in Music (Performance/Composition) ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Peter & Lena Karmel Anniversary Prize in Music ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Harold Wesley Allen Memorial Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Imad Nassir Prize for Piano Performance ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Whitworth Roach Classical Music Competition - Third Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Friends Ensemble Prize - First Prize and People's Choice ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Shirley Paton Memorial Scholarship Music Teachers' Association of New South Wales

  • Young Artist Canberra International Music Festival 2021

2020

  • Licentiate in Music, Australia (Distinction) Australian Music Examinations Board

  • Harold Wesley Allen Memorial Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Imad Nassir Prize for Piano Performance ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Erika Haas Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Winifred Burston Memorial Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Certificate of Distinction Neapolitan Masters Competition, Naples

  • Merit Award 2nd WPTA Finland International Piano Competition, Helsinki

  • Friends of the School of Music Performance Scholarship ANU School of Music, Canberra

2019

  • Erika Haas Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Winifred Burston Memorial Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Margaret Smiles Accompaniment Prize ANU School of Music, Canberra

  • Willgoss Choral Composition Prize UNSW Music Performance Unit, Sydney

  • Dennis Griffin Undergraduate Scholarship ANU School of Music, Canberra

2018

  • James Easton Memorial Composition Award Conservatorium High School, Sydney

  • Conservatorium High School Concerto Competition - First Prize Conservatorium High School, Sydney

2017

  • Sydney Chamber Opera Masterclass Carriageworks, Sydney

  • Artology Fanfare Competition Artology, Sydney