Christopher Latham

Museums, Galleries & Heritage

The Diggers’ Requiem

A nationally significant concert called The Diggers’ Requiem, which creates repertoire about iconic events of WW1 and will be an enduring symbol for the close diplomatic relationship between France, Germany and Australia.

Days Left

The project is a nationally significant concert called The Diggers’ Requiem, a piece commissioned by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), produced and directed by Chris Latham, Artist-in-Residence at the AWM, and performed on Saturday 6th October 2018 at Llewellyn Hall, Canberra.

The concert includes commissioned works by five leading contemporary Australian composers (Elena Kats-Chernin, Richard Mills, Nigel Westlake, Graeme Koehne and Ross Edwards), alongside recently discovered music composed in the battlefields of France during WW1. It also features the final work of Australian composer Frederick Septimus Kelly, who was killed in the Somme.

The performing artists include 30 of Canberra’s best orchestral musicians, with players from the Royal Military College Band, Duntroon, 28 Young Artists selected from across Australia and a handbell choir representing ‘62,000 bells’, one for each Australian life lost.. Four prominent interstate and overseas soloists will also perform.

The Diggers’ Requiem has been commissioned to create repertoire about these iconic events for national use, and to create a symbol that represents the close diplomatic ties between France, Germany and Australia.The reason the project is so significant is that this is the first time a work of this scope has been attempted, with the aim of contextualising, memorialising and honouring the fallen of The Great War.

The Diggers’ Requiem is the second of a series of 5 proposed Peace Symphonies Chris Latham has created as AWM Artist-in-Residence, in partnership with the DVA. The project contains multiple levels of collaboration representing Canberra connections, national cultural institutions and diplomacy. Its legacy will remain in perpetuity as formal recordings held by the AWM and the ABC, as well through international cultural links and strengthening diplomatic ties.

In keeping with its immense and enduring cultural significance, this is an extremely costly project that will only be made possible through a combination of government grants, commissioning funds, box office revenue and substantial private donations. I am hoping to raise $75,000 in private donations, to cover my expenses and production costs including artist and composer fees, marketing and publicity, ticketing, artist travel and venue hire.

Part of the social impact I am seeking to have with this project is to encourage interested donors to reach out to me and share stories of their connection with the Great War. To this end I would warmly welcome any enquiries about the project from donors across Australia, not just in Canberra.

Live Projects


Christopher Latham has worked as festival director for over a decade, after having worked extensively as an editor for such composers as Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and Elena Kats-Chernin.

He trained as a violinist and spent 7 years touring full time with the Australian Chamber Orchestra prior to that. He has recently been appointed as the first musician to be artist in residence at the Australia War Memorial (2017-2021) following on from his extensive work on music and war, directing the Flowers of War project for the Anzac Centenary Cultural Fund and Mission Centenaire in France and the Gallipoli Symphony (2005-2015) for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

In addition to concert tours in Australia, France and the UK marking the significant WW1 centenaries, The Flowers of War also created the first recordings for ABC Classics of Australian composer FS Kelly, killed in 1916 in the Somme, and a CD of the cultural creations by composers killed in that battle in 2016.

Christopher Latham was awarded the French order of Arts and Letters and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Canberra in recognition of this work.


Monica Cathcart


Caroline Cockburn


Colin Milner


Janet Perry


Johanna McBride


Ian Macfarlane


Andrew Phelan


Michael Richards


Julie Carmody


Liz Conway


Marjorie Lindenmayer


Trevor Lee



Artists Website