Nigel Westlake: String Quartet No.3, Sacred Sky

String Quartet No.3, SACRED SKY

I. Sacred Sky
II. Where the Spirit Dances by the Edge of the Sea
III. The Turning Tide
IV. The Journey Begins


Commissioned by the Australian String Quartet with generous support from Carl Wood and Don & Veronica Aldridge.

First prize: Albert H Maggs Composition Award (2020)

Performed by the Australian String Quartet
Dale Barltrop – Violin I
Francesca Hiew – Violin II
Stephen King – Viola
Sharon Grigoryan – Cello

Composed by Nigel Westlake
Published by Rimshot Music
Produced by Stephen Snelleman & Nigel Westlake
Engineered and Mastered by Russell Thompson
Recorded at ABC Studio Adelaide, December 2019
Angelina Zucco – ASQ Chief Executive
Sophie Emery – ASQ Operations Manager
Artwork – Jim Tsinganos Illustration
Art Direction – Cul-de-Sac Creative

Special thanks to Nigel Westlake for his valued support of this release


Sacred Sky is dedicated to the memory of my sister Kate, who lost her battle with cancer early in 2018.

An actor, singer, visual artist, & extraordinary event producer, Kate was a beautiful & totally unique individual on many levels. As siblings we shared a very close bond and were great mates right to the end.

I have endeavoured to invoke Kate’s spirit, in the hope of imbuing the music with themes of beauty, energy, soulfulness, & transcendence. Inevitably the fingerprints of grief and sadness permeate the musical narrative at times.

The titles of each movement are taken from four of Kate’s seascape paintings, a collection of visual meditations based on unnamed locations, somewhere on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

The pictures are studies in the reflection, scattering and radiance of light and shadow, and they inhabit a rich and evocative emotional terrain.

I am very grateful to Dale, Sharon, Francesca and Stephen for so willingly agreeing to be a part of this journey and also to Carl Wood and Don and Veronica Aldridge for their very generous sponsorship of the work.

Nigel Westlake


Nigel Westlake’s career, spanning 4 decades, began as a clarinettist. He started composing from 1980 for radio, theatre, circus, TV and film.

Westlake has received many awards including 2 Arias, 15 APRA awards, [screen & classical categories] the Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize, & Gold Medal for “Best Original Music” at the New York International Radio Festival.

He holds an honorary Doctorate in Music, awarded by the University of New South Wales in 2012 & has conducted all the major symphony orchestras in Australia.

In 2016 Westlake made his US conducting debut at the Lincoln Centre with the New York Philharmonic.

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