♦ Australian composer, pianist and teacher
He was born of Russian parents in Tientsin, northern China, where he made his piano debut at the age of eleven. He emigrated to Australia in 1951 and attended the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music until 1955, studying composition with Raymond Hanson, and later studied at Oxford and at the San Francisco Conservatorium, California, under Egon Petri. Returning to Australia, he held various teaching positions before becoming head of composition in 1978. He is a prolific writer in many genres, and his vocal compositions include Fall of the House of Usher (1965), Fiery Tales (1975), Lenz (1970) and The Golem (1979), all to libretti by Gwen Harwood. Orchestral and instrumental works include Concerto for Wind Quintet and Orchestra (1971), Concerto for Violin, Orchestra and Female Voices (1971) and Twenty-two Paths of the Tarot: concerto for piano and orchestra (1991). His second violin concerto (1978), subtitled Gurdjieff, is in seven movements with a cadenza to the fourth movement utilizing Georgei Gurdjieff's "Law of Four and Three". Later compositions include Sphinx: concerto for cello and orchestra (1993), and two major works for solo piano, The Way of the Seeker (2004) and Dimensions of Night (2008). As a scholar, and specialist in the music of Ferruccio Busoni, Sitsky has published Busoni and the Piano (1986), Music of the Repressed Russian Avant-Garde (1993) and Australian Piano Music of the Twentieth Century (2005). In 2000 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.