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Gary France (Director)


Click here for Gary France 30 Year Retrospective Article (pdf)

Significant former positions:
  • Associate Professor of Percussion and Head of School: Australian National University (17 years)
  • Senior Lecturer in Drums and Percussion / Head of Music WAAPA, Edith Cowan University (8 years)
  • Board of Directors PAS International (Percussive Arts Society 7500 members world wide) (4 years)
  • Board of Directors Speak Percussion (4 years)
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow / Director of 6 O'clock and 9 O'clock Jazz Labands University of North Texas
  • Australian National Academy (ANAM 2015)
  • Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp Percussion Tutor (2003, 2005)
  • West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Canberra Symphony Orchestra (principal percussion, principal timpanist), 
Gary received his Bachelor of Music degree, Music Education / Performance, in 1979, from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, and his Master of Music degree, Orchestral Performance / Jazz, in 1988 at the University of North Texas. While at UNT Gary became was not only awarded several competitive teaching fellowships in classical percussion but was also selected as the first and only drummer/percussionist, in the fifty-year history of the program, to direct the prestigious Jazz Lab Bands (6 O’Clock and 9 O’Clock bands).
Gary France has done much, through his dedicated teaching performing and entrepreneurial leadership, to significantly raise the profile of percussion playing in Australia.
What do people say?
Describing Gary’s 1986 initial appointment in  Australia “The Musical Tornado - Gary France had an almost immediate impact on percussion nationally”  Eminent Australian musician Richard Gill in his 2012 book “Give Me Excess of It”
“Gary taught me the importance of focusing on the pocket and efficiency at a very young age. His lessons where really fun and inspirational and just what I needed at the crucial point as a young student!” “I still remember him showing up for our first lesson, I was probably 11 and the first thing he did was remove my second mounted rack tom so he could get the ride cymbal closer and so I would focus on a four piece kit. As a kid I was mortified because I wanted “more” of everything but to be honest it was one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned and I’ve never put that other tom back up after all these years!”  Jason Sutter – Drummer Marilyn Manson, Smash Mouth, New York Dolls, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), and Foreigner
“I feel very lucky to have had Gary as a teacher, and often remind myself of the many things he taught me about the beauty and importance of music, the essential assets of preparedness and professionalism, and that wherever and whenever you see an amazing percussion instrument you should buy it for your collection!” Bree van Reyk - Synergy Percussion,  Paul Kelly,  Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
“It always amazes me how in hindsight you realise how important certain individuals were to your musical growth, for me Gary France was definitely one of those people, true story”Evan Jenkins - Drummer Neil Cowley Trio, voted one of the 7 best jazz drummers in the world By Rhythm magazine, 2014
“Gary France was one of those pivotal, influential teachers you never forget. His input into my career as a percussionist and fellow educator was enormous and I will be forever thankful for his guidance and professionalism during my time at the WA Academy of Performing Arts”. Iain Robbie Tetrafied Percussion, Instrumental Music School Service W.A. Education Department
“The heart of Gary’s teaching is commitment, it’s about being 100% committed- always!” Ric Eastman Lecturer in Drum kit WAAPA, Australian Session Drummer Hank Marvin, Dave Hole, John Meyer, Lucky Oceans and more
I never knew a more enthusiastic, dedicated, or proactive musician than Gary France- the very embodiment of percussive passion and the ultimate mover and shaker in every sense Adam Jeffrey Principal Timpanist, Estonian National Opera

For full bio and web site

   Sandra France

For full bio and website Sandra France 

Sandra France composes, performs, teaches and records music in a variety of genres. Specialising in classical contemporary music, France also composes in the Jazz genre, performs in Celtic folk groups and composes music for young people.  She lives in Canberra, Australia, where she engages actively with the local musical community.

In 2008 France was awarded the ACT Creative Arts Fellowship, the most highly sought after grant for the arts in Canberra.  This award facilitated the development of her opera, From a Black Sky, which was selected in 2010 by Melbourne Opera as part of their inaugural program, NOVA (New Opera Ventures Australia). From a Black Sky received its fully staged and orchestrated world premiere in September, 2013, at the Street Theatre, Canberra, as part of the Canberra 100, Centenary Celebrations. 

France has been commissioned by several of Australia’s leading classical musicians and her compositions are regularly performed in concerts and for broadcasts on ABCfm.   France’s commission by Symphony Australia, entitled Heritage Overture, for full orchestra, was recorded in January 2002 by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and received its world premiere in June that year. Her piano trio Three Miniatures for Piano Trio received its world premiere as part of the National Festival of Women’s Music in September 2001. What Goes Around, Comes Around:  Six Vignettes for Clarinet Quartet was commissioned in 2006 by the clarinet quartet, Clarity, and is included on their recent CD, “Second Door on the Left”; Move Records (MCD 340).  Additionally, several of her compositions are included on CDs from around the world, including her wind symphony Kroger March on “Air Mosaic”, featuring the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, U.S.A; Mark Custom Recording Service, Inc. (5341-MCD). Her composition Monism, a duet featuring Hungarian violinist Pal Eder and U.S born percussionist Gary France, can be found on Gary France's classical percussion CD,  "Works for Percussion"; Sunset Records, (SMACD08). In 2003 Sandra France released a CD on the Tall Poppies label, entitled "Fluctuating States of Calm”, which is a collection of her major instrumental works. (TP177). 

Sandra France currently teaches music at Erindale College, ACT Education Department, for whom she composed two youth musicals, Almost Hell, 2005 and Cinderella, 2006. In 2013 she was musical director for Treasures off the Page, a self-devised multi-arts production featuring music, dance, drama, visual arts and media. 

Sandra France is published by Alfred’s Publishing, Australia.