Born: Established: 19 Jan 1945 Sydney ;
Judith Clingan is a multi-facetted artist equally intrigued with sounds, words and things visual. She received no formal musical education during her childhood, but an early interest in medieval music led to passion that has remained ever since. By 1966 Clingan was pursuing a career as a freelance teacher - both for recorder and with language - while furthering her own musical studies in voice, bassoon and composition. In 1967 she founded the Canberra Children's Choir and, discovering an alarming lack of interesting works for children's choir, set about writing pieces herself. After spending a number of years in Hobart (Tasmania), Clingan travelled to Hungary on a Hungarian government scholarship and studied for a Diploma of Music Education at the Kodaly Institute. On her return to Canberra in 1983 she founded Gaudeamus, a tuition and performing organization for children, youth and adults. She has been a composer in residence in Alice Springs (1987), Perth (1988) and Canberra (1990).
Clingan was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1986 for her services to music. In 1989 she was the Creative Arts Fellow at the Australian National University and in 1991 held an Australia Council Composer Fellowship. An ACT Chief Minister's Creative Artist's Fellowship (2001) enabled her to undertake three projects, one of these being the opportunity to complete The Grandfather Clock a large-scale music theatre piece begun in 1990. Judith Clingan writes mostly for voice, and is equally at home writing for a primary school classroom, for experienced teenagers and for professionals. Her love of multi-art has led her to write predominantly music theatre works. Her creative talent is not only confined to music and libretti composition as she often designs her own sets and costumes, in addition to having a large input into aspects of direction and choreography. Most of her works deal with topics dear to her heart: Nganbra, for example, tells of events before and after white settlement in the Canberra region; Francis is an opera about blindness and forgiveness; while Terra Beata - Terra Infirma sees environmental disaster through God's eyes; and Kakadu looks at our loss of respect for the land.