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8 November 2007


Katy Abbott, composer-in-residence with Orchestras Australia Image: Katy Abbott, composer-in-residence with Orchestras Australia  
© Stuart Greenbaum

Music making can be a powerful tool for engaging, empowering, and enriching the lives of individuals in our community. Many community-based music organisations exist throughout Australia to provide opportunities for music-lovers of all ages and abilities to participate in the creation, performance and reception of music.

In an effort to better connect community-based orchestras and ensembles with living composers, the Music Board of the Australia Council initiated the Composers_Connecting_Community project in 2005. The initiative saw Dandenong Ranges Music Council, Orchestras Australia, and Youth Orchestras Australia each host a composer residency throughout 2006-7, giving opportunities for youth and community-based musicians to work alongside composers and enhance their understanding of the creative process.

Orchestras Australia commissioned composer Katy Abbott to write two orchestral works, A Fast Ride in a Suave Machine and Mirage, for participating orchestras in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Composer Matthew Hindson was also commissioned to write two works for this project: an orchestral work, An Infernal Machine, which was premiered by the Tamworth Youth Orchestra; and a string orchestral piece, Song and Dance, which was premiered at the Queensland Conservatorium. These community orchestras worked with Katy and Matthew during the compositional process, and, for many of the players and conductors, this was the first time they had met and worked with a living composer.

Over 400 school children came together during the 9th Hillsongs Festival to perform a suite of songs composed by Calvin Bowman, composer-in-residence with the Dandenong Ranges Music Council. The Suite consists of seven songs with text drawn from C.J. Dennis’s A Book for Kids. During his residency, Calvin also collaborated with the Ranges Youth Strings, vocal ensemble Singularity and Upwey High School Concert Band, as well as meeting with local emerging composers and the Dandenong Ranges Orchestra.

Iain Grandage continues a composer residency with Youth Orchestras Australia, which will see further collaborations with youth ensembles around Australia and performances of his work next year. So far Iain has written four works, which comprise a larger work, Quadrants, with each composition relating to a point on a compass.

The Australian Music Centre has recently published documentation of the C_C_C project on their website (www.amcoz.com.au/projects/C_C_C/C_C_C.htm) including project summaries, composer diaries, biographies and score samples.

Further Links

The Australian Music Centre is a national service organisation dedicated to increasing the profile and sustainability of Australian composers and other creative artists. The AMC facilitates the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these artists through composer and other creative artist representation; resonate – its online magazine; library and retail services; sheet music publishing; and the management, administration and publication of project-based initiatives. Its library collection holds over 30,000 items by more than 500 artists.


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