Australian composer Matthew Hindson has emerged in recent years as one of the leading composers for the ballet stage, creating both narrative and non-narrative works at both larger and smaller scales – his collaborators have included The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, San Francisco Ballet, and choreographers Sir David Bintley, Graeme Murphy, Cathy Marston, Bernd Schindowski and Lucas Jervies.

His most recent stage work was My Brilliant Career, commissioned by Queensland Ballet and choreographed by Cathy Marston, which premiered in Brisbane in 2023 – his first collaboration with the choreographer. The stand-alone piece appeared as the final part of Trilogy, with Hindson’s 50-minute score performed by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Nigel Gaynor. See the dancers of the Queensland Ballet rehearsing My Brilliant Career here.

The work is Hindson’s second narrative ballet. The 1901 story by Miles Franklin, one of Australia’s major early-twentieth-century writers, adapted by Marston for the stage, follows Sybylla Melvyn as she strives to break free from her stifling rural upbringing. Her chance comes when she travels to her grandmother’s estate in Caddagat, where she experiences a cultural and romantic awakening.

Hindson’s score draws on a variety of styles: a fictitious soundtrack to a 1930s movie, a French Baroque overture, a genteel string quartet providing background music, and a vigorous bush dance. Prior to My Brilliant Career, November 2022 saw the premiere of Imposter (after Mozart), a 10-minute deconstruction of movement three of Mozart’s A major Violin Concerto, commissioned by The Australian Ballet and choreographed by Lucas Jervies.

It follows his acclaimed A Comedy of Errors (2022), created for Sir David Bintley and the Sarasota Ballet. His first evening-length dance score, it cast is in two parts and runs to 95 minutes. The ballet again showcased Hindson’s eclectic musical imagination, drawing on various popular as well as classical idioms. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune praised “…a foot-tapping score than ranges from pounding techno beats to a fiery Latin rhythms to a lyrical adagio”, as well as pointing to “an achingly beautiful piano solo pas de deux…that nearly breaks your heart.” Marina Harss in Fjord touched on Hindson’s playful approach to the music, “deftly playing upon a variety of musical styles, from jazz to techno to a spoof of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty (and Ravel’s Boléro).”

Hindson’s first collaboration with Sir David Bintley saw the latter create his first non-narrative ballet in over 20 years. E=mc2, a 30-minute work inspired by Albert Einstein choreographing Hindson’s second symphony, was widely acclaimed and scooped the highly prestigious South Bank Show Award for Dance for commissioners, Birmingham Royal Ballet. It toured extensively, receiving performances across the UK and Japan.

This was followed by Faster (2011), also premiered by Birmingham Royal Ballet: a 35-minute celebration of athleticism, inspired by the Olympic motto 'Citius, Altrius, Fortius' ('Faster, Higher, Stronger'), and saw 21 dancers take the stage to Hindson's specially-commissioned orchestral score to unanimous critical acclaimIt was subsequently performed to sell-out audiences in Australia & Japan.