Photo by Eleanor Wilks
Photo by Eleanor Wilks

Currently accepting commissions for original compositions and arrangements.
Please click on ‘Composer’ above for information about sheet music which is available for purchase. Please ‘Contact me’ for further detail in regard to commissions.

Cathy Applegate was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1959, but grew up in Melbourne, Australia. Her family fostered a great love of the arts and she was given the opportunity to study piano and the theory of music to an advanced level with private teachers. Cathy opted to study medicine at a tertiary level, but has never stopped pursuing a lifelong passion for music and literature, particularly composition.

In 1982, the warmth of the tropics, and an interest in indigenous health, led to a move to Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, and here she has had many opportunities to develop her skills in composition and performance. Darwin has a lively and supportive music community and since the 1990s Cathy has played with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra(she took up cello in order to take part). She has had support from the School of Music at Charles Darwin University (CDU – formally NTU) and other groups throughout the community.  Cathy has taken part in several International Guitar Festivals hosted at CDU in the past where she was able to take advantage of teaching and advice from many high profile composers including the late Peter Sculthorpe.

As a pianist, Cathy has performed with the Darwin Chorale, Arafura Ensemble and Ad Hoc Ensemble, and as a repetiteur for productions by the Centre for Youth Music, the DSO and local schools. She has worked as an accompanist for students undertaking exams and competition.

Recently she has started teaching music and is increasingly taking a role in convening concerts.

In her role as a composer, Cathy has representation with the Australian Music Centre where her work is held in a library available for purchase and hire.  Cathy’s major works include The Wetlands Suite – written for the Darwin Youth Orchestra. This work received an Honourable Mention in the 1998 CACS National Awards for ‘An Outstanding Contribution to Australian Culture’. The DSO and DYO have recorded this work and performed it many times over the years.

Felicity and the Bunyip and A Gecko’s Tale are family musicals that were performed in 2000 and 2004 respectively by CDU.

Cathy has had other commissions for full symphony orchestra in recent years – WindRose, Pipeline,  Fourteen Lines (Shakespeare’s Sonnets), and most recently Piano Concertantrum – a piano concerto written for virtuoso pianist Michael Kieran Harvey and premiered in Darwin in March 2015.

She has composed numerous other works for smaller ensembles and choral groups. Flamenco for Strings, a string quintet, was premiered by the Arafura Ensemble in 2013.

Her ballet, The Brolga and the Star was commissioned by the Palmerston Association of Dancing and performed November 2016.

Adam Thurlow as the Brolga. Photo by Eleanor Wilks
Adam Thurlow as the Brolga. Photo by Eleanor Wilks

Cathy has had novels and picture books published both in Australia and in America.

Her novel Red Sand, Blue Sky has been re-printed many times and her picture book, Rain Dance, was short listed in the Children’s Book Council Awards: Picture Book of the Year in 2001.