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[In Memoriam]

Tristram Cary (1925–2008)

More information on Tristram Cary can be found on the Australian Music Centre website.

Tristram impressed and influenced me greatly mainly because he was deeply interested in art and life in an honest and open way. He didn’t put boundaries on his thinking and he was always attracted to new ideas, new sparks of creativity. For him there where no differences between old and new music, electronic and notated music or theory and practice. He wrote computer music, electronic music and orchestral music. You could talk with Tristram about Beethoven, the Beatles, Steve Reich or Bjork for that matter. If it was truly good music he was interested.

His open-mindedness was accompanied by a strong technical knowledge which he could always relate at higher conceptual levels. Although Tristram’s knowledge and experience spaned most of the development of electronic music, technical information was not really important. Knowing about the knobs, dials and circuits was only useful if it might help in making better music.

For me Tristram was a mentor. He was supportive, generous and helpful and I am very lucky to have spent some time with him. Contact with his life long perspective on the evolution of electonic music, the space for thinking and ideas that he was able to open up, gave me great confidence in pursuing my own ideas and approaches to music. Tristram is known for his musical achievements and knowledge but what I and many others will miss, is his strength and spirit.

— Peter Mcilwain (President of ACMA)


He was my most important mentor, who guided my first steps into electronic music. A man of broadly varied interests and achievements. Interestingly, I have just been writing about those early days at the RCM, as liner notes for a forthcoming CD of some of the music I made in the late 60s and early 70s — revisiting exciting days — now the memories are intensified.

— Lawrence Casserley (Royal College of Music, London UK)


Tristram was incredibly generous, warm and supportive in my very earliest days. As a student, I remember hearing bombs dropping, electronic music and spoken-song in his living room. His generosity is something that has (and will) stay will me for a very long time.

And now reflecting, this kindness is very humbling.

— Michael Yuen (Adelaide Australia)


Yes, and here, here! Michael’s assessment of Tristram’s gentleness, generosity, and contagious curiosity is right on the mark. He was a wonderful gentleman, and all of us who knew him, and were privileged to work with him will miss him dearly.

— Warren Burt (Wollongong Australia)

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