Four World Premieres?!

I am absolutely thrilled to have four premieres scheduled in the month of December 2021! With live performance quickly returning after Sydney's extended lockdown this year, a number of pieces that have been patiently awaiting their first performance will finally be brought to life before the new year. It's an honour to be working with so many incredible musicians; it's bringing some much needed hope and creative healing.

Stepping Out (2021)

Lynda Latu

Private ANAM Recital | 9 December 2021

This work for violin and piano was commissioned for The ANAM Set and composed especially for ANAM violinist Lynda Latu to be premiered in her 2021 recital. In fairness to the ANAM musicians after a difficult year of lockdowns in Melbourne, their 2021 recitals are not open to the public. However, The ANAM Set Festival has been announced for May 2022, publicly premiering all 67 new works commissioned as part of this incredible project. So stay tuned!

About Stepping Out:

Stepping Out is about finding independence, being bold, and taking the risk of responsibility. I’ve recently been recognising my decision to move away from the safety of my family and home in Port Macquarie to pursue a compositional career in Sydney; it’s a scary and wonderfully exciting journey to step into the unknown and find your own path. This piece, composed for The ANAM Set (2021), is my first substantial commission without the support of a mentor guiding me throughout the process, and it’s a similarly challenging experience to lose the safety net of supervision and take on the responsibility of answering questions like: Is this good? Is this my voice? Will my peers approve? Should I care if they don’t? I’ve expressed these ideas by capturing a relentless, raw and untamed youthful energy throughout the work. While the rhythmic drive is often surging forward, the unpredictable nature of the harmonic and melodic direction creates a sense of uncertainty. This chaotic unfolding illustrates the lack of guidance at this stage in life, followed by a moment of deep reflection, and ultimately an acceptance of the journey ahead.

Lynda Latu and myself

One Song (2020)

Hastings Choristers

Christmas with the Choristers | 12 December 2021 | St Agnes Church, Port Macquarie


This one's special. This song of celebration was commissioned by my lifelong music teacher and friend, Robyn Ryan, to celebrate the Hastings Choristers' 30th birthday. Growing up in Port Macquarie, Robyn nurtured my passion for music from the age of 6 through piano and voice, and I have spent many Christmases singing Handel's Messiah alongside the Hastings Choristers. Christmas with the Choristers will be Robyn's final concert as Artistic Director of the choir after 30 years of community singing. I am touched that One Song will be premiered at this concert.

About One Song:

One Song sets the text of long-term choir member Gillian Bennett, celebrating communal singing in Australia.

Robyn Ryan with members of the Hastings Choristers

Eat Your Damn Vegetables (2021)

Ensemble Offspring

Hatched Summer School Concert | 17 December 2021 | Sydney Conservatorium of Music


I'm so grateful to have been accepted into Ensemble Offspring's Hatched Summer School 2021, a selective composition development program for emerging composers. Ensemble Offspring unites six of Australia's leading instrumentalists, led by internationally acclaimed percussion powerhouse Claire Edwardes. They're also my work family! I'm currently the marketing administrator for this incredible chamber group, who champion living Australian music with every fibre of their being. After a week of intensive workshops, this vibrant work will be premiered alongside five other world premieres by emerging Australian composers.

About Eat Your Damn Vegetables:

This piece reflects on the internal process and mental battle of convincing yourself to follow through with difficult or undesirable actions which ultimately improve your mental heath. Viewing this struggle through both light-hearted and sincere lenses, contrasting musical extremes (high and low; busy and sparse; loud and soft; wide and narrow) are juxtaposed to express the disunity between our internal emotions and external appearance. Jittering and swelling musical representations of panic conflict against the projection of calm and steadiness. Eventually, the relentless intensity breaks down into a heaving mess, exhausting itself of energy.

Ensemble Offspring

Propulsive Instability (2018)

Ensemble Apex

THE WILD | 22 December 2021 | Lower Town Hall, Sydney


Finally, I'm super proud to be working with the endlessly passionate and genuine young musicians of Ensemble Apex to premiere my 2018 work Propulsive Instability. I composed this work especially for Apex and their Artistic Director Sam Weller in the second year of my music degree, and it went on to win their inaugural call-for-scores competition. After many postponements due to the global pandemic, I'm so excited to finally bring this work to the world. It represents a significant turn in my compositional style, and you can hear the youthful energy as I experimented with strange new musical concepts at the time. Performed alongside Nigel Westlake's oboe concerto Spirit of the Wild (with soloist Callum Hogan) and Stauss's An Alpine Symphony, this is a concert not to miss! Apex is literally changing the classical culture in Australia, and I'm extremely thankful for the incredible work they do.

About Propulsive Instability:

Propulsive Instability aims to capture a feeling of unhinged desperation. The persistent and agitated rhythmic drive evokes a wild, animalistic fixation; stalking, hunting, chasing. The bookend sections of the piece exploit a heavy (almost Stravinskian) use of syncopation and irregular metres to create a surging, unpredictable rhythmic energy. Imagine you are running faster than your body can bear, and existing in a panicked state of perpetual forward motion – hence the title, Propulsive Instability. The central sound-world uses triplets in unusual groupings to create a curiously wonky groove. It subverts our musical expectations and leads to exciting rhythmic surprises. Underneath, the ominous bass-line presses on.

Sam Weller and Ensemble Apex

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