I’m so delighted and humbled to contribute to the Debussy Centenary celebrations organised by the Australian National Academy of Music with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. From the website of the ANAM:

Debussy 100 is a 12-month project to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy. Led by a collection of national and international pianists, hear the complete piano and chamber music of Claude Debussy, including 100 titled movements for the keyboard.

As part of this project ANAM has commisioned three new works by composer Lyle Chan to realise a project that Debussy was working on before his untimely death. Debussy was completing six sonatas for various instruments, however only finished the Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata and Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. Lyle Chan will be composing his own version of the last three sonatas adopting Debussy’s intended instrumentation.”

“This project has literally waited 100 years. Nick Deutsch and I agreed that the fitting way to commemorate Debussy’s centenary was to complete his final project, the very project cut short by his premature death at age 56. He was a master of sonority. The instruments he specified for his unwritten sonatas are unprecedented combinations of sounds. Rather than imitate the inimitable master, I am composing in a compatible style of my own but dealing with the same issues as Debussy was in 1918 during World War I, only these are versions of those issues 100 years later, like what is our relationship with the past, with nationality, with war and peace.”

ABC Classic FM is broadcasting all concerts and ABC Classics will make a studio recording for commercial release of all Six Sonates, mine and Debussy’s.



by lylechan on January 26, 2018


This unusual new work for speaking voice and portatif organ – called Wandteppiche – was commissioned by the Art Gallery of NSW Foundation and Music Curator Jason Catlett as part of Music in this Stillness, a new-music program to greet the six-panel French medieval tapestry suite La dame à la licorne as it begins its Sydney sojourn.

All the works make use of the portatif, inspired by the organ vividly depicted in the panel ‘Hearing’. In Wandteppiche (Wall Hangings), I’ve chosen words from Rilke’s novel Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge but it’s always spoken in the language of the audience. The words are from chapter 38, the protagonist Malte’s mesmeric description of the tapestries written for his absent aunt Abelone, with whom Malte is in love.

I’m grateful to Mssr. Philippe Platel, the French Cultural Attaché to Australia and organist Grace Chan who are premiering the work at private performances for the Foundation’s members in February 2018. Mssr Platel will also give the public premiere at the Gallery’s Art After Hours program in April and May 2018.


(“Andante Moderato”)

October 23, 2017

My dear friends the Acacia Quartet will give 4 performances of this new work over Oct and Nov 2017 in Sydney and Melbourne. You can see details here or in the Calendar. Like nearly all my pieces that Acacia has premiered, it is an excerpt from my ongoing String Quartet and was sketched many years […]

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Serenade for Tenor, Saxophone and Orchestra (“My Dear Benjamin”)

September 12, 2016

______________ Update August 2017: Serenade won the Orchestral Work of the Year category of the 2017 Art Music Awards. As a first-time nominee of these awards, words cannot describe my gratitude to the judging panel and to APRA and the Australian Music Centre. Update July 2017: Serenade is one of 4 Finalists, together with works […]

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String Quintet (The Holidays)

May 1, 2016

A 50th birthday present for dear Stefan Duwe, violist of the incomparable Acacia Quartet, here joined by Stefan’s old teacher from Germany, Emile Cantor. String Quintet “The Holidays” is in three sections: • A Swing Band New Year – • Birthday Serenade (incorporating Hoffstetter’s Andante Cantabile) – • Tipitina (incorporating “O Holy Night” arranged and copyright […]

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Love is always born (Michael Leunig)

October 24, 2015

[Update December 2015: the above recording was made by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at the City Recital Hall concert in November. My thanks to producer Don Bate and engineer Matthew Dewey.] The wonderful Song Company and its artistic director Roland Peelman will premiere a new vocal piece of mine, Love is always born, in its […]

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Wind Farm Music, Dedicated to Tony Abbott

August 11, 2015

[update Sept 2016: a video of Estivo Trio playing this work in Sydney] __________ Last month Julian Burnside and I were chatting at the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and I realised he was sizing me up for an unusual commission. Julian said, “Normally when I commission a piece, I give the composer a completely free […]

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Double Double Bass

May 3, 2015

My lovely friends Kees Boersma and Kirsty McCahon, a sublime husband-and-wife duo who are respectively Principal Double Bass of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, will perform a short piece of mine called Double Double Bass at their concert Bass Extravaganza. See this Calendar Entry for concert details. The unusual concert features a reading of […]

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Untitled (Thomas Brand gewidmet) for String Quartet

May 2, 2015

Update, June 2015: The following recording was made at Australia Hall on May 28, which was piece’s second performance. My gratitude to Fine Music 102.5 FM for permission to share the recording and of course Acacia Quartet for the heartfelt performance. On 23 and 28 May, my dear friends the Acacia Quartet will give the […]

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Untitled (Dec 2014) for Orchestra

May 2, 2015

Update, July 2015: The following tracks are from the live recording made at the world premiere concert. Following this performance, the middle section “Sea of Flowers” became the most-requested moment, so I have excerpted it to be played and heard on its own. You can hear its original context by listening to the entire “Untitled […]

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