Mary Finsterer is recognised as one of Australia’s finest composers. Having received international recognition for her music in Europe, Britain, USA and Canada, Mary has received many awards both nationally and abroad including representing Australia in five International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals, the prestigious Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize and numerous Australian Art Music Awards throughout her career. In 2015 she was the featured composer in the ABC Classic FM Pedestal Programme and has been the celebrated artist for several portrait concerts including ANAM Australian Voices at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2016 and Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Opera House in 2012, the latter having subsequently toured her music throughout Australia and China.
Also composing for feature film, Mary worked with Marco Beltrami on the screen music for Hollywood blockbuster Die Hard 4 and in 2011 her score for Shirley Barrett’s feature South Solitary was recognised in the Film Critics Circle Australia Awards. South Solitary has since been released on ABC Classics | Universal. Mary has also been the recipient of many prestigious residencies and fellowships including the Churchill Fellowship in 2006, Australia Council Composer Fellowship, Royal Netherlands Government Award and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence.
Mary's first opera Biographica, was premiered by Sydney Chamber Opera and Ensemble Offspring at the Sydney Festival in January 2017 with exceptional success. Having enjoyed a sold-out season, it was enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike and described as 'an outstanding new opera that deserves a permanent place in the repertory’. Since 2018 Mary has been the composer-in-residence at the Canberra International Music Festival and has received two Australian Apra|Amcos Art Music Awards: Art Music Award 2018 – Vocal Work of the Year for Biographica and Art Music Award 2019 – Instrumental Work of the Year for the duet, Ignis.
Mary holds several positions at the University of Tasmania including CALE Creative Fellow at the College of Arts, Law and Education, University Associate at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and is an Adjunct Professor at the Conservatorium of Music, Tasmanian College of the Arts.