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Sydney International Piano Competition 2016

Australian repertoire suggestions

The Australian Music Centre, in collaboration with the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia, has compiled the following suggestions of suitable Australian compositions to be included in the competition programs. Seven noted Australian pianists have suggested works and, in most cases, also provided a few words about each composition. We've also encouraged composer-pianists to include works of their own in their selection.

These works are only a starting point, as Australian repertoire for solo piano is a wonderfully rich territory to explore. The AMC's library collection has hundreds of works for solo piano, and this huge collection can be perused by filtering your results based on level of difficulty, duration, year of composition etc. Check out our Repertoire navigator, and make your own lists by using the tools in the sidebar on the left.

Australian works commissioned by SIPCA over the years are listed in the sidebar on the right, with links to further information on AMC Online. SIPCA also has a dedicated page for Australian composition, with a list of composer names as a starting point to looking for repertoire.

Most of the works mentioned on this page are available directly from the AMC, and you can order them online or by telephoning us: 1300 651 834. Scores are published on demand, and sent by post. Make sure to study the various samples and products available on website pages linked to below - in many cases you can listen to a sample, look at a page of a pdf score, or purchase a commercial CD or an mp3 file.

AMC members can also access perusal scores as digital library loans to help select repertoire. However, after you've made your selection, you'll need to purchase the score that you intend to program.

For published scores with no pricing details announced on the website, please contact us for purchase information.

Jeanell Carrigan, pianist

Mark IsaacsMiniature and Variations
This is a set of four works – three quite short followed by a wonderful set of variations. The piano writing is quite virtuosic but extremely playable due to the fact that the composer is an excellent pianist. Very attractive work of 10’ duration.

Elena Kats-CherninVariations in a serious Black Dress or Purple Prelude
Both of these works are of a professional difficulty written by a composer who writes well for the piano. Kats-Chernin has a distinctive voice and any of her works of this standard would be a good choice.

Mark GrandisonNarratives and Detours
This is an exacting but interesting work, well constructed and based on two opposing musical figures.

Meta OvermanSonatina
Three short, interconnecting movements with contrasting characters.  Despite its non-tonal base, a really attractive work and pianistically written.

Roger SmalleyThree Studies in Black and White
To celebrate the work of this wonderful composer it would be a fitting tribute to incorporate one of his compositions.

Tamara Anna Cislowska, pianist

Roy Agnew: Sonata Ballade 
A substantial work requiring a wide range of skill and emotion.

Percy Grainger: Ramble on Der Rosenkavalier or Scotch Strathspey and Reel
The Ramble is one of Grainger's most complex and demanding pieces, also probably his best for piano. It requires very detailed voicing and shape as well as being quite virtuosic. Scotch Strathspey and Reel is a five-minute showpiece requiring dexterity and good characterisation.

Elena Kats-Chernin: The Schubert Blues or Variations in a Serious Black Dress 
Schubert Blues requires a range of technical and emotional power, as well as endurance. Variations in a Serious Black Dress has a lot of diversity of touch, tone and colour as well as being a work of substantial length.

Miriam Hyde: Firewheel
A work in an etude style, requiring a nimble and facile finger technique.

Mark Isaacs, composer & pianist

Andrew Ford: The Waltz Book
Captivating and charming miniatures from the versatile and always thoughtful Andrew Ford.

Raymond Hanson: Piano Sonata Op. 12
The sonata is meaty and romantic, pianistic and brilliant. Raymond Hanson is a truly great Australian composer, too often overlooked.

Raymond Hanson: Episodes on an English Folk Tune (Tarry Trowsers)
Wonderful musings from the great Raymond Hanson.

Mark Isaacs: Children’s Songs
This work (containing 18 pieces) won the Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition. I recorded it for the New York record label Soundbrush Records and Vladimir Ashkenazy wrote a glowing testimonial. Not music for children, but an adult’s reflection of childhood.

Mark Isaacs: Theme & Variations on 'The Snow it Melts the Soonest' (trad.)
On a beautiful folk melody I first heard in the BBC TV production of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, the variations pay homage to Chopin and Rachmaninov while adding in some crunchy modern jazz harmonies.

Stephanie McCallum, pianist

Roy Agnew: Toccata
A wonderful composer for the piano, Agnew produced many beautifully written piano pieces of which the Toccata is a compact and expressive virtuoso example, recalling a rather English version of Debussy in parts.

Moya Henderson: Cross Hatching
Sensitive and intuitive, this creatively lush piece invites warmth and cantabile playing while maintaining perpetual motion and forward drive.

Nigel Butterley: Uttering joyous leaves
Also written for the SIPCA (1981), this shows an original compositional voice and invites nuance and colour from the performer. The ending builds enormous momentum and completes a formally very satisfying shape. This is a work which maintains its interest over many playings. When I played the London premiere of this in Wigmore Hall, The Times reviewer said it made him want to seek out more of Butterley's music.

Elena Kats-Chernin: Variations in a Serious Black Dress
Substantial in length and exploratory in texture, this is a well-structured piece which manages to be witty and serious by turns. It uses the full range, both of the keyboard and dynamically.

Roger Smalley: Morceau de concours (or indeed, the Piano Concerto No1 if there is time or room).
Vale Roger. This little fairly recent piece was written for the SIPCA and is a brilliant example of a pianist writing well for his instrument. It's quirky, complex, and, when played well, has a lot of audience appeal.

Lisa Moore, pianist

Don Banks - Pezzo Dramatico
Attractive, pianistic sonorous expressive character piece with some jazz-inflected chords

Gerard Brophy - Angelicon
Virtuoso character piece requiring delicate piano techniques and dramatic sonorous effects.

Brett Dean - Equality and Prayer (played as a set)
Two contrasting ironic theatrical piano solo works requiring speaking and playing together. Words by Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig.

Elena Kats-Chernin - Tast-en
Delicate humorous work, demanding fast virtuoso skills and extended, subtle pedal effects.

Michael Smetanin - Stroke
Tour de force pianistic virtuoso work of high energy, intensity and endurance.

Ian Munro, composer and pianist

Arthur Benjamin: Etudes Composées

Mark Isaacs: Preludes for Piano, Book I; Preludes for Piano, Book II

Ian Munro: Blue Rags

Michael Smetanin - Stroke

Larry Sitsky, composer and pianist

Don Banks: Pezzo Dramatico
a serial style concert piece.

Raymond Hanson: Preludes op. 11
This is very effective short set of pieces - of longer pieces by Hanson, there is both the Sonatina and the Sonata.

Donald Hollier: any one of the Sonnets
Large-scale dramatic pieces.

Larry Sitsky: Piano Sonata No.1; Piano Sonata No. 2
Virtuosic, shortish sonatas.