Nigel Westlake’s career in music has spanned more than 4 decades.

He studied the clarinet with his father, Donald Westlake (principal clarinettist, Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1961-1979) and subsequently left school early to pursue a performance career in music.

From the age of 17 he was touring Australia and the world, performing as a freelance clarinetist, bass clarinetist and saxophonist with ballet companies, a circus troupe, chamber music ensembles, fusion bands and orchestras.

In 1983 he studied bass clarinet and composition in the Netherlands and was appointed composer in residence for ABC Radio National the following year.

From 1987 to 1992 he was resident clarinettist with Australia’s leading chamber group The Australia Ensemble, and went on to join guitarist John Williams’ group Attacca as a composer & performer.

As a composer for the screen, his film credits include the feature films Ali’s Wedding, Paper Planes, Miss Potter, Babe, Babe: Pig in the City, Children of the Revolution, and The Nugget, plus the Imax films Antarctica, The Edge, Imagine, Solarmax and numerous others.

His television credits include documentaries, telemovies, news themes and station idents.

His compositions have earned numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal at the New York International Radio Festival and 15 APRA awards (Australasian Performing Right assoc.) in the screen & art music categories.

The feature film Babe won the Golden Globe Award in 1996 for Best Feature Musical/Comedy, and his romantic score for Miss Potter won Feature Film Score of the Year & Best Soundtrack Album at the 2007 APRA / AGSC Screen Music Awards.

His secular mass Missa Solis – Requiem for Eli was winner of the prestigious 2013 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize, won the 2011 Limelight Award for Best New Composition, was named Orchestral Work of the Year at the 2012 APRA Art Music Awards, and was released to critical acclaim on the ABC Classics label by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the composer.

Compassion – a song cycle for solo voice & orchestra won the 2014 ARIA AWARD for Best Classical Album and Ali’s Wedding won the 2017 ARIA AWARD for Best Original Soundtrack.

He won The Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize (one of Australia’s richest music prizes) a second time in 2019 for his oboe concerto Spirit of the Wild, written for Diana Doherty and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

In 2004 he was awarded the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University & holds an honorary Doctorate in Music, awarded by the University of New South Wales in 2012.

Nigel Westlake made his conducting debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and has since conducted performances & recordings of his own works with all the major symphony orchestras in Australia.

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

In 2008 he founded the Smugglers of Light Foundation in memory of his son Eli, to promote cultural awareness and empowerment through education via the mediums of music and film in youth and indigenous communities.

He is represented by Maggie Rodford (Air Edel, London).