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Ella Macens : Associate Artist

Random Audio Sample: The Space Between Stars : orchestra by Ella Macens, from the CD Women of Note

Photo of Ella Macens

Photo: Darwin Gomez

Artist website: https://www.ellamacens.com/

Sydney based Ella Macens is a fast-emerging composer with a passion for choral, orchestral and chamber music writing. Capturing qualities from both popular and classical music styles as well as that of her Latvian herritage, Ella's music is becoming well-known in Australia and beyond.

Ensembles and organisations that have commissioned, premiered or performed her work include the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Youth Orchestra, the Flinders Quartet, The Goldner String Quartet, the Strelitzia String Quartet, The Song Company, Gondwana National Choirs, Sydney Children's Choir, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Chamber Choir, State Choir Latvija, Latvian choirs Pernigele and Anima, the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music Chamber Choir, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, West Australian Young Voices, Young Adelaide Voices, the Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Claire Edwardes, Genevieve Lacey, Neal Peres Da Costa, Danny Yeadon, the Judgment of Paris Recorder Quartet, Cranbrook School, Trinity Grammar School, the Canberra International Music Festival, the National Carillon Association of Australia, the Sydney Latvian Society, Sydney Festival 2018, and the XV Latvian Canadian Song and Dance Festival.

Ella has completed a Bachelor of Music (Composition) with first class honours at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, The University of Sydney, and is currently studying a Master of Music (Composition) under the guidance of Professor Matthew Hindson AM. As one of four composers selected to participate in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's inaugural National Women Composers' Development Program (2016-17), Ella has been fostering connections with some of Australia's most esteemed ensembles and soloists through the creation of a series of solo, chamber, choral and orchestral works.

Her compositions have won awards, including inclusion in ENCORE (2009), the Frank Hutchens Scholarship for Composition in 2012 and the Fine Music FM Young Composer Award (2017) for her first orchestral piece titled FLIGHT.

In 2015 Ella held the position of composer in residence with Trinity Grammar School and Sydney Youth Orchestra. In 2018-19 she was composer in residence with Sydney Children's Choir as well as one of four composers selected to participate in the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra's Australian Composers' School. Ella is currently composer in residence at Presbyterian Ladies' College Sydney where she guides students from year 9-12 in composition.

The composer's musical voice is heavily influenced by her Latvian heritage. Growing up in a rich and colourful Latvian community has led her to be continuously surrounded by instrumental folk music, baltic choral music and traditional dance. These elements have unsurprisingly woven their way in to Ella's compositional style. In 2017 she received a prestigious award from the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA) to honour her dedication to her cultural heritage, specifically through the incorporation of Latvian elements in her professional line of work. Ella further celebrates her cultural background by arranging traditional Latvian folk songs into contemporary music styles with her good friend Ivars Stubis, which they perform together at Latvian festivals and events in Australia.

Ella currently teaches composition, music theory and aural skills at the University of Sydney and Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She is composer in residence at PLC Sydney and teaches composition privately.

Ella Macens — current to July 2020

Teacher/Influence on

Robert McIntyre (2022)

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2023 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Large Ensemble Finalist RELEASE

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Falling Embers : for vibraphone and crotales (2020) Composed for Claire Edwardes under commission by the 2020 Bowral Autumn Music Festival.
The Innocence of Life : oboe solo (2020) Written as part of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra's 2020 Australian Miniseries.
Digital sheet music sample RELEASE : full orchestra (2020) This work was made possible through the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 50 Fanfares Project and was commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, supported by Christine Bishop.
Digital sheet music sample The Lake : for string orchestra (2018) Commissioned by Canberra Symphony Orchestra.
Digital sheet music sample Resting with Angels : for string quartet (2016) Composed for the Goldner String Quartet in conjunction with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's inaugural Composing Women Program (2016-17).