Known for such award-winning classical compositions as Ariel's Music (a concerto), Winter Songs (a vocal and wind quartet work), and Moments of Bliss (an orchestral piece), this Australian composer headed Melbourne's Australian National Academy of Music and also played viola in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
As a child, he studied violin and viola at the Queensland Conservatorium. He went on to win a 1981 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performers Award.
Several of his compositions, including Water Music, Devotions, and Vexations, address such contemporary themes as environmental awareness and the effects of information technology upon society.
He was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. His younger brother, Paul Dean, had a career as a clarinetist.
He composed an opera, Bliss, based on Peter Carey's novel of the same title.