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Ngarra-Burria: First Peoples Composers


What is Ngarra-Burria?

Ngarra-Burria are Dharug words meaning to hear, to sing.

Ngarra-Burria is a program that builds bridges for First Peoples musicians to step forward, further develop their composing skills, and connect with the art music* sector. The program was initiated by Aboriginal composer Chris Sainsbury, and is delivered by a partnership between Moogahlin Performing Arts, the Australian Music Centre, ANU School of Music, Ensemble Offspring and the Royal Australian Navy Band, with funding support from APRA AMCOS, and in-kind support from EORA College of TAFE.

* Art music is defined by, but not limited to, the spectrum of contemporary classical/new music; contemporary original jazz and improvisatory practice; the broad spectrum of experimental practice, embracing sound art and installation, computer music, and more.

Ngarra-Burria 2019

In 2019, Ngarra-Burria participating artists are Marcus Corowa, James Henry, Nardi Simpson, Sonya Holowell and Eric Avery. Please return to this page for more information about them and the program's progress. Composer mentors in the 2019 program are Deborah Cheetham, Kim Cunio and Chris Sainsbury.

Program leader and mentor Chris Sainsbury with
program participants Marcus Corowa, James Henry,
Nardi Simpson, Sonya Holowell and Eric Avery.
© Eric Avery

In 2019 the program provides for its participants:

  • The opportunity to write work/s for recording and performance by Ensemble Offspring, one of Australia‚Äôs leading new music ensembles, with the potential for other leading groups to also be involved.
  • Periodic face-to-face mentoring sessions with program facilitators, developing the work/s
  • 2 workshops with the performers during the year, developing and refining the work/s
  • Involvement in ANU School of Music sessions around mid-year
  • Attending rehearsals, recording, and a performance recital in Canberra, followed by a performance in Sydney
  • A modest honorarium is provided, along with travel costs to attend workshops/recording session.


If you have further questions about this program, please with the message subject Ngarra-Burria or call the AMC on 02 9935 7805 or toll free: 1300 651 834.

Program partners

Ngarra-Burria First Peoples Composers is a partnership between Moogahlin Performing Arts, ANU School of Music, the Australian Music Centre through the AMPlify artist development framework, Ensemble Offspring, the Royal Australian Navy Band, and Eora College, with financial support from an APRA AMCOS music grant.