Maria Grenfell (b. 1969) was born in Malaysia, and completed composition studies in Christchurch, New Zealand. She obtained a Masters degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and a Doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she was also a lecturer. Her teachers have included Stephen Hartke, Erica Muhl, James Hopkins and Morten Lauridsen, Joseph Schwantner and Samuel Adler. Maria Grenfell’s work takes much of its influence from poetic, literary and visual sources, and from non-Western music and literature.
Her orchestral music has been commissioned, performed or recorded by all the major symphony orchestras in Australia and New Zealand. Her chamber music has been performed by musicians such as members of eighth blackbird, the Australia Ensemble, the Vienna Piano Trio, New Zealand Trio, ACO Collective, and numerous other ensembles. Her work is broadcast regularly in Australia and New Zealand, is released on ABC Classics, Kiwi-Pacific, and Trust CDs, and is available from the Australian Music Centre, SouNZ New Zealand Music Centre and Reed Music. In 2013 Maria won ‘Instrumental Work of the Year’ for Tasmania at the Australian Art Music Awards for her septet Ten Suns Ablaze, commissioned by the Australia Ensemble, and in 2017 her double concerto Spirals won the Tasmanian award for ‘Orchestral Work of the Year.’ Her music was commissioned for the documentary film Quoll Farm, aired in 2021.
Maria is an Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music and co-ordinates the composition stream. She was Head of the Conservatorium from 2018-2019. She is regularly involved in mentoring young composers through various composer development programs throughout Australia. She served on the Board of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 2009-2018. She has given guest lectures at the University of Houston (USA), Auckland University (New Zealand), Yong Siew Toh Conservatory (Singapore), and the University of Melbourne (Australia). In Spring 2013 Maria was Visiting Professor of Composition at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In Fall 2019 Maria was Kerr Composer in Residence at the Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio. She lives in Hobart with her husband, guitarist David Malone, and they have two children.