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22 August 2007

Mentoring Young Composers

Julian Langdon and Anne Cawrse - participants in the 2006/07 program Image: Julian Langdon and Anne Cawrse - participants in the 2006/07 program  

Although there have been some slight changes in the format and naming of the program, the aim of the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program’s remains the same – to discover and nurture the most original and innovative young compositional voices in Australia. It is an annual program of continued development for young composers, designed to encourage works that challenge the norm, that push boundaries and offer new directions for orchestral and mixed ensemble composition. The national program is an integral part of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s (MSO) young artist development initiative.

The 21st Century Australian Composers Program gives young Australian composers the opportunity to write for large mixed ensemble of the type pioneered by groups such as Germany's Ensemble Modern, the London Sinfonietta and the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris.

We want to reinforce the level of interaction between orchestral instrumentalist and composer, and also between acoustic and electronic sound sources. The selected composers will be writing for an ensemble that is large enough to pack an aural punch, yet small and flexible enough to offer composers a staggering palette of sounds and possibilities, thereby showing a possible path for the future of live art music. (Brett Dean, Curator of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 21st Century Australian Composers Program 2003-2004, Metropolis curator 2007, Metropolis conductor 2006 and 2008)

Participants in the 2007-08 program have just been announced. Nicole Murphy (Qld), Robert Dahm (Vic), James Rushford (Vic) and Paul Castles (NSW) will spend the next four to five months working with an established Australian composer in a mentoring environment, as they compose a new work to be premiered by the MSO in February 2008. Up to two of these works will then be presented as part of the MSO’s contemporary music series, Metropolis, and the opportunity for a work to be commissioned for an MSO school concert also exists.

Not only do program participants have the chance to work with fellow Australian composers, but for the first time in the program’s history the composers will attend a workshop with key MSO musicians, further exploring writing techniques and instrumental capabilities, as well as part preparation and presentation.

Initiated by Brett Dean (whilst Artist-in-Residence with the MSO) and MSO staff, and now in its fifth year, the Program has offered more than 14 young composers the chance to have their works performed in Metropolis. Mentors of past participants have included Brett Dean, Richard Meale, Georges Lentz, Ross Edwards, David Harris and Brenton Broadstock.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is proud to be involved in this process, helping to nurture and develop Australian compositional talent.

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Cybec 21 st Century Australian Composers Program is generously supported by the Cybec Foundation.

Emma Cochran is the Manager of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Community Outreach program. Through a wide range of concerts, workshops and activities, the program reaches over 22,000 Victorians each year.


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