The Australian pianist, conductor and composer, David Stanhope, played french horn for several years, mostly as a free-lance. He was a member of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra before working in London and has been based in Sydney since 1979. In 1984 he changed instrument to bass trombone, freelancing with the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
As a pianist, David Stanhope has made recordings with EMI, and in 1980 undertook a concerto tour for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Tall Poppies records have released 2 CDs - "Virtuoso Transcriptions" in 1996 and "David Stanhope plays" in 1999.
David Stanhope has written numerous compositions for all kinds of instrumental and vocal ensembles, but is especially known as a writer for wind band and brass. He won the ensemble section of the International Horn Society composition contest in 1979 with a horn octet. Wind band and brass band works of his have been competition test pieces both in Britain and Australia. His most recent compositions include several items commissioned for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a symphony for wind band, the suite for string orchestra, String Songs, and E.G.B.D.S for wind band. Publishers of his works include Novello & Co., Tezak, The Hornists' Nest, Action Music and H.L. Music. Tall Poppies records have released a CD of his wind band music, entitled Little Ripper!, in 1997.
After joining the music staff of The Australian Opera in 1986, David Stanhope conducted seasons of Albert Herring, Turn Of The Screw, and Les Pêcheurs De Perles. He is now developing a career as a free-lance conductor. Recent engagements with the Australian Opera and the State Opera of South Australia have included the Australian stage première season of Alban Berg's Lulu, the Sydney and Melbourne premières of Janacek's The Makropulos Secret, as well as seasons of Peter Grimes, Hansel and Gretel, Salome, Ariadne Auf Naxos, Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, Jenufa and Fidelio. He is a guest conductor and recording artist for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Symphony Australia, including CD's, concerts and engagements with the Sydney, Melbourne, West Australian, Queensland, Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest conductor with Australia's leading contemporary group, Sydney Alpha Ensemble, and The Australian Ballet.
David Stanhope is particularly interested in the use of music in film, and has conducted the soundtracks of Babe, Children Of The Revolution, Paradise Road and Passion. For the last-named film he also recorded all the solo piano repertoire for the film and is the hand "double" for Richard Roxburgh.