Composer feedback from Made In Australia 2022

We invited the 12 composers performed in the recent Made In Australia Concert on the 3rd September 2022 to give some feedback that we could publish. Please read them below.

FRAN GRIFFIN – “Aftermath” – world premiere

“Roland, thank you so much for all your hard work to put together the concert on Saturday. Please thank the band for their efforts also, and congratulations to the other composers, whose fascinating and imaginative works really impressed me and I which really enjoyed! It’s such a great initiative from GWS and so important to support local composers.” Fran lives in regional NSW.

NIC COURTO – “Widogast” – world premiere

“Working with GWS was a pleasure. The band were responsive and Roland gave excellent, specific feedback that made a real difference to the final formation of the work. I am grateful to Roland and the GWS for providing this opportunity to emerging composers.” Nic lives in Tasmania

NAOMI BROWN – “A Poet’s Home” – world premiere

“The main thing I wished to say is that initiatives such as Made in Australia by Grainger Wind Symphony are vital for Australian composers. The opportunity to work with a larger ensemble in order to hone our craft and produce works for wind bands is not that plentiful.

I know mine was a hard piece and apart from the odd wobble you managed to pull it off, especially the climax. So well done.

Given the delay that was covid, and the disruption to rehearsals etc., I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have it performed.

It was a lovely night. All the pieces were fabulous. My family thoroughly enjoyed it (more than they thought they would).” Naomi lives in Melbourne.

GEORGE BARSOUM – “Treachery is Afoot” – world premiere

“I was struck by the extreme discipline and professionalism of the Grainger Symphony. During rehearsals there was always an immense attention to detail that often surpassed my own, but in a way, that made me a better composer. The group read and learnt music at an impressive pace and were keen to keep me involved in making creative decisions wherever possible. The musicians were always eager to take on whatever challenges I gave them and they frequently overcame my preconceptions as to what was and wasn’t technically possible. Because of this, I found it rewarding to let the musicians add their own flare and sound to the performance wherever possible; I simply loved seeing all their untapped energy come out. The Grainger Symphony is an enormously caring and tight-knit community and I appreciate their constant efforts to give back to the Australian music community.” George lives in Melbourne

“A big thank you to you and your wonderful ensemble for making my night and premiere of Treachery is Afoot so special! Thank you for the present as well, it’s been sitting proudly on my desk ever since.” George lives in Melbourne

NICK SHIRREFS – “Gallipoli” – world premiere

“In a perfect world, (which doesn’t exist), the relationship between composer and performer should be symbiotic. The goal of a performer is to interpret a piece of music. Not necessarily exactly how the composer envisaged it, but at least as I believe, somewhere between the performer’s interpretation and the composer’s intentions.

Given we have about 500 years of music available to be played, understanding the composer’s specific intentions can be difficult, and often requires some serious research. The key, usually, is understanding the context.

My composition “Gallipoli” concerns a military operation that is particularly relevant to Australians, but these days no one has firsthand experience of the event and must therefore rely on research and context. My research was the Peter FitzSimons book “Gallipoli” which I found incredibly moving and thought provoking. So much so, I felt it necessary to compose a piece of music that acknowledges certain aspects of the campaign, not just from the point of view of the battlefront, but from those left at home in Australia.

When I was made aware that the Grainger Wind Symphony would be performing my piece in concert, I was incredibly humbled. I was also fortunate enough to have that symbiotic relationship with the musicians come to fruition via a Zoom meeting. Most musicians would say it’s a rare experience to have the composer explain directly to them the vision of the piece, its reason for existing and any particular nuances in the music he/she wants emphasised. I can say that it is a two-way street, as most composers would consider it a rare experience to work directly with the ensemble performing their music.

I had never worked with or seen the Grainger Wind Symphony perform. As a rurally based composer, I usually have to wait for ensembles to come to me, and visits to Melbourne to see and hear quality large scale performances are special events in my world. I knew from the outset when I turned up at the Box Hill Salvation Army Hall that my music was in good hands. The way the musicians presented themselves was as professional a standard as you would hope to see.

Handing your composition over to be performed is a bit like letting someone you don’t know look after your newborn baby. You can only really go on what you’ve heard and read about the person. When the Grainger Wind Symphony performed ‘Gallipoli’ it was as close to how I imagined it could sound when played by dedicated and enthusiastic musicians. Roland’s guidance, tempos and emotionally charged conducting was exemplary, and helped the musicians achieve the emotive goal of performing music based on a subject matter dear to all Australian’s hearts.

I genuinely thank Roland and all the extremely capable musicians of the Grainger Wind Symphony for their interpretation of my music. You are all clearly hard working, dedicated musicians who are proud of what you can do, and I would cherish any opportunity to create that symbiotic relationship again in the future.” Nick lives in Horsham, regional Victoria.

ADAM BROOK – Rapscallion’s Rhapsody – world premiere

I’m thankful for the honour and the pleasure of having the Grainger Winds perform my composition ‘Rapscallion’s Rhapsody’! This was two years in the making after global pandemic setbacks, so it was wonderful to see this finally come to fruition. Thank you to Roland Yeung and the Grainger Wind Symphony, and well done to the other composers!” Adam lives in Sydney.

SCOTT COPEMAN – Eclipse – world premiere

“I just wanted to reiterate how grateful I am that you selected, rehearsed and performed the work.  I’m still coming to terms with the merry dance that is seeking performances of works as a composer.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish, and was particularly impressed with the time and care you and the members of the GWS took to provide me with feedback on the score and parts.” Scott lives in Melbourne.

MITCHELL ALEXANDER – Dances for Winds – world premiere

Listening to the players of the Grainger Wind Symphony perform was outstanding. To hear their skilful and professional playing applied to new pieces of music was a real treat. Roland did an amazing job conducting the ensemble. Every piece was handled with such care an attention to detail. The works by the Australian composers in the program were fantastic to experience. Every one of the twelve pieces brought something interesting and memorable to the table. In short: do not miss an opportunity to see this ensemble live for yourself.” Mitchell lives in Canberra.

ADAM COOK – Renard mort de la nuit

I am very grateful to you and to every person who was a part of Grainger Wind Symphony, enabling this to happen. Please pass my personal thanks along to the Symphony when you are next able.

For more details about the 2022 Made In Australia compositions on this website click here.