It’s a huge honour to be selected for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s 2022-23 Australian Composer’s School. I’ll be writing several works for the orchestra over a two year period under the guidance of leading Australian composers. Congratulations to the other participants Tom Misson, Sam Wu, and Georgia Scott.
These are two of the best young composer opportunities Australia has to offer and it’s a privilege to be selected. Over the course of the coming year I’ll be composing new pieces for Omega Ensemble and the MSO, which will be performed and recorded.
In March I was fortunate to have two pieces recorded in Hobart.
My orchestral piece Rapids and Ripples – which was runner up in last year’s Willoughby Symphony Young Composer Award – was workshopped by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Ten years on since winning TSO’s Student Composition Competition, it was a joy to hear the orchestra play my work again.
I was also very lucky to record my piano suite Light and Transfiguration with the inimitable Michael Kieran Harvey. This piece is the culmination of my Masters research into music modelled on natural processes and one of my most ambitious pieces to-date. We filmed the piece in the beautiful salon at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, and I’m looking forward to sharing this soon.
I was extremely excited to learn this month that I’d placed in both a national and international orchestral composition prize. The Laws of Motion has been selected as one of four finalists in the international Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition. Rapids and Ripples has won runner up in a national composition competition. Details of this haven’t been formally announced, but I look forward to sharing more.
In other news, Warhol in The Tenderloin – which I wrote last year for Ensemble Offspring – has received a performance from the Sydney Conservatorium Modern Music Ensemble. It was great to see this piece getting another outing at a mask-wearing concert in October and to get this great recording.
Also in October, I was fortunate to have Embers workshopped by the Hobart Wind Symphony and the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony. With so many restrictions on performances (especially by large ensembles [and particularly large ensembles with wind instruments!]) it was unexpected to have one workshop let alone two. I’ve made a tiny snippet of the rough workshop recording available until a proper performance can happen.
And, it was with satisfaction (and not a little relief) that I finished my piano suite Light and Transfiguration this month. This piece took seven months from go to whoa and, conceptually, it’s one of the most ambitious works I’ve written. Plans are afoot to record this with a really top-notch pianist early in 2021.
All in all, 2020 has been…well, you know how it’s been. It’s not been the single best year to be an early career composer. But then it’s not been the best year to be in any field apart from, presumably, video conferencing software development. And, in the scheme of a global pandemic that is wreaking havoc on the lives of so many, there are far worse things than not being able to get your very niche music played. I’m extremely grateful to have had even a couple of performances and workshops this year, and really appreciate those that have facilitated it. My best wishes to all who read this. Happy holidays and may 2021 treat you well.
Today I put the finishing touches on my new orchestral piece, a three movement suite called The Laws of Motion. First described by scientist Isaac Newton in the 1600s, the laws of motion are the physical principles governing how objects move. Each movement of the suite is inspired by a different law of motion which was a fun and interesting challenge for me as a starting point for the piece. I’m looking forward to working on this with the Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic in the not-too-distant future!
Hello to everyone from composer corner where I’m currently spending an even higher proportion of my time than usual. Like everyone, I’ve had some performances cancelled due to COVID-19 (including one in the US which was to have occurred on Tuesday) but overall I’m feeling fortunate. I’ve been able to continue my Masters remotely and have been busily composing. I’ve completed a ten minute work for wind symphony, featuring extended solos for several members of the ensemble. And I’m now working on a chunky multi-movement piano suite inspired by the transformation of energy through ecosystems. Next up, I’ll be writing a short work for orchestra, having been selected for the Ku-ring-Gai Philharmonic’s biannual composer program. It’s hard to known when these pieces will see the light of day. But, I’m having a rather fun vocal piece from 2018 recorded (long-distance) and look forward to sharing that soon!