The Flowers of War Project

The Great War (1914-1918) took the lives of more artists than any other conflict, and changed forever the course of the arts in the early 20th century. Curiously many of those artists, during their war service, created works notable for their serenity and beauty, as they sought to transcend the horrors of the trenches.

The Flowers of War project has recorded and documented many of these lost war-time works from the battlefields, exploring the catalogues of those composers who were killed, in order to bring their music to modern audiences, as an act of measuring and demonstrating the cultural cost of war.

James Scott Nissen hut, Mont St Quentin

James Scott Nissen hut, Mont St Quentin

Your help is important - The Flowers of the Great War Collection: a Gift to the Nation

Our primary focus was the recovery of the music written by composer Frederick Septimus Kelly, Australia’s greatest cultural loss of WW1. The Flowers of the Great War collection, along with the Tasmanian Symphony’s recently recorded discs of Kelly’s orchestral works, will make up the first complete FS Kelly recorded edition, and will contain explanatory texts drawn from his diaries which document his life before and during the war and well as typeset editions of the music.

The final recording project, ‘The Three Treasures’ program has just been completed and includes songs and piano works by Claude Duboscq (France), songs by Botho Sigwart zu Eulenberg (Germany) and songs, piano works and piano and violin works by Peter Latham (UK), who was the great uncle of the director of the Flowers of War.

Once completed, ‘The Flowers of the Great War’ collection will be launched. The full recordings, sheet music and background notes from all of the ‘Flowers of War’ concerts and programs will be included in the collection (approximately 20 hours of music) which will document, illustrate and catalogue the culturally significant compositions from WW1.

Donors are being sought to underwrite the cost of publishing and finishing the final recordings. All donations are gratefully appreciated, and differing amounts of money or specific requests can be discussed in confidence. To donate, either click on the button at the top of the page or write to us at

The collection will be launched in:
Canberra - pre-launch public event on 6 Nov
Canberra - Official launch on 11 November
Sydney on 13 November
Melbourne on 15 November

All donors will receive invitations to these events at which hard copies of ‘The Flowers of the Great War’ Collection will be given as gifts to the major Australian cultural institutions.

The Diggers Requiem - 2018

The Diggers’ Requiem is Australia’s Requiem for the Great War, and was co-commissioned by the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This work, jointly written by Nigel Westlake, Elena Kats-Chernin, Richard Mills, Andrew Schultz, Graeme Koehne and Ross Edwards premiered on 6 October 2018 to a packed house at the Llewellyn Hall in Canberra in front of the Governor General and the Ambassadors for France and Germany. The recording will be released as a free download on Nov 11, 2019, and as part of The Flowers of the Great War publication.

Audio recording of The Diggers’ Requiem from April 2018, Amiens, France.