Concert 4 2023: Made In Australia

These are the compositions and composers submitted for selection to be performed in this concert.

Below are biographies, photograph and program note for their composition.

The list is in program order.

1Overture to BrunchJem Shirwell
2Deslacs Dawn for wind orchestraHelen Wanders
3The Starry Night “De sterrennacht”Michael Young
4Hiroo Onora will never surrender for wind orchestraScott Sanders

  I n t e r v a l
5The Happy GrasshopperJitho Jayasinghe
6The Leaves DescendingMitchell Alexander
7Live Like A MonkBayden Adams
8Concerto for Concert Band 1st movementCatherine Clark-Jones


Overture to Brunch by Jem Sherwill world premiere

The composition: The musical material in this overture is drawn from the cabaret I wrote and produced at the beginning of 2022. Brunch Ballads saw the personification and musicalisation of seven iconic brunch foods including a disenfranchised coffee, an unlucky-in-love bagel, and an existential avocado. The project was a means of indulging my love for traditional Broadway-style song writing. Similarly, Overture to Brunch aims to pay homage to the traditional Broadway overture and is particularly influenced by the iconic overtures to Gypsy (composed Styne; arr. Ramin & Ginzler) and Merrily We Roll Along (composed Sondheim; arr. Tunick).

Brunch Ballads, and by extension Overture to Brunch are not works that take themselves overly seriously. They take pleasure in pastiche and are in essence about fun and joy. I hope that translates in this arrangement.

For more information about Brunch Ballads:


Deslacs Dawn for wind orchestra by Helen Wanders

Helen studied composition at the University of Tasmania’s Conservatorium of Hobart, graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Music with Honours.

Helen participated in the 2020 Flinders Quartet Composer Development Program; the Recorder Lift Off educational resource involving players from the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; composed for the “Le Piano Rue” concert for L’Ensemble de Musique Contemporaine of the Conservatoire de Musique de Rimouski, in Quebec, Canada, in January 2021 and 2023, with both pieces performed live-stream. In 2022 she received a commission to write a work for the 2022 Ossa Prize winners, who performed her composition throughout Tasmania.

Helen was a finalist in the 2021 Australian Women’s Wind Band Composition Award. She lives in Bellerive near Hobart with her husband and son and often finds inspiration for her compositions from the unique Tasmanian landscape.

Deslacs Dawn, by Helen Wanders, was first a composition for brass octet, performed by the Hobart Wind Symphony in 2021 (world premiere) and in 2022. It is seeing its world premiere as an arrangement for full wind orchestra performed tonight by the GWS. Helen’s inspiration for the piece came from observing the sunrise over Cape Deslacs located on Tasmania’s South Arm Peninsula, a short drive from nipaluna-Hobart. This coastline was navigated by French explorers in the early 1800s who gave it the name “Des Lacs” meaning ‘of the lakes’, believing it to be part of a large system of coastal lakes. Helen draws upon some compositional elements used by French Impressionist composers, creating the work’s rich harmonic texture, such as chords of addition and omission, 3rd-relationship cadences and parallel melodic doubling.

Here is a mp3 synthesized recording over the work from the composer.

The Starry Night “De sterrennacht” by Michael Young

Bio: Michael Young is a Hobart-based composer, conductor, and musician. Michael studied composition at the University of Tasmania, under the guidance of Dr. Maria Grenfell. He also studied conducting and ensemble skills under the guidance of Gary Wain (UTAS), Bill Baker (UTAS) and Fred J Allen (SFASU, Texas). Michael is actively involved in various community bands as a musician and a conductor. Michael is the Musical Director of Clarence City Band. He is also a life member of Clarence City Band. Michael is actively involved with the Tasmanian Bands League, as Vice President (South) and as the chair of the Music Advisory Board (MAB). Michael is also a qualified teacher, graduating with a Bachelor of Teaching from the University of Tasmania. He currently works at Eastside Lutheran College.

Composition Notes:
This piece has been written to create a musical representation of Vincent van Gogh’s iconic painting The Starry Night (De sterrenacht). In order to create this representation, I have endeavoured to utilise elements of pointillism to create a contoured template of the original artwork as a structural guide for the work. I have also researched the concept of synthesia, which provided some interesting insights in how to use dynamics and pitch to evoke darkness and light. Although there has been no specific colour chart for synthesia, experts generally agree that lower frequencies and softer volumes seem to evoke darker colours, whereas higher frequencies and louder volumes evoke lighter colours.

Hiroo Onora Will Never Surrender for wind orchestra by Scott Sanders

Bio: I studied computer music and composition at La Trobe University, before completing a Dip Ed and Master of Music (Composition) at the University of Melbourne. I currently live and work in Castlemaine, Victoria as an instrumental teacher in schools, an audio engineer and MC.

Composing music is my deepest, truest passion that I allow myself to indulge in during breaks from work. The last ten years has seen little time for this while I have focused on creating opportunities in my local community, and producing various performance projects, as a vocalist, guitarist, synth player and educator. Now that my income is primarily as a teacher in schools, I’m looking forward to having school holiday time to compose between terms!

Hiroo Onoda will never surrender was composed specifically for the Grainger Wind Symphony over the 2022/2023 summer holidays. I am currently working on a piece for local string quartet, the Castlemaine Chamber Players.

My aesthetic could be described as macrotonal – that is, changes in tonality on a macro scale – and quartal, with harmonies built from juxtaposed 4th and 5ths. I’m also very interested in mathematical patterns and the manipulation of the perception of time.

A full bio and recordings of compositions can be found at my self-publishing website,,

The composition: After the end of World War II, a number of Japanese soldiers stationed across south-east Asia and Pacific islands continued fighting the war, because they either were not aware or did not believe Japan had officially surrendered.  They continued fighting against local police, government forces and Allied troops assisting the new governments.

Between 1948 and 1974, these soldiers were either captured or convinced to surrender – all but Hiroo Onoda.  Onoda refused to surrender until his former commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, was flown to Lubang, Phillipines to formally relieve Onoda of his service to his country.

A movie inspired by his life, Onoda: 10000 Nights in the Jungle was released internationally in April 2022, and recently released on streaming service Binge (coincidentally a little later than this composition…!)

i n t e r v a l

The Happy Grasshopper by Jitho Jayasinghe – world premiere

I like music and languages! I’ve been improvising and composing for as long as I can remember. I started Piano lessons at five and just started learning the Cello. Often, I have ideas of songs going around in my head. I used to jot these down on paper but now I prefer using MuseScore. I am definitely a fan of impressionist classical music.

This is the first proper, organised piece I have written. It’s also the first time I have composed for a wind symphony. I learnt a lot about the different instruments I can use, as I usually write for flute and piano. I also gained more insight into how instruments mix.

The Happy Grasshopper is a light jolly tune, happy and a little bit quirky. It’s not really imbued with any metaphorical meaning, just a happy, bouncy song. Think of that happy grasshopper jumping along as you hear it. Listen out for how it returns home at the end.

I hope you like it 🙂

The Leaves Descending by Mitchell Alexander – world premiere

About the Composer
Mitchell was born in 1993 in Indiana, USA. His parents are Tonia Powderly and Aaron Alexander. Mitchell grew up heavily involved in his school’s band program in Indiana. There he learned to play the trombone and euphonium. During this time, he participated in various school ensembles, such as concert band, pit orchestra, and marching band. This was a great opportunity to be exposed to concert band classics such as Gustav Holst and Australia’s own Percy Grainger.
Mitchell currently lives in Canberra Australia where he works as a high school teacher at St. Francis Xavier College in Florey. There he teaches Music, as well as teaching Maths and Science.

Program Notes
My favourite season is Summer. Everything is warm, green, and full of life. Therefore I think that the colourful transition that is autumn is a bittersweet one. Warm summer progresses into cold winter, but it’s still an ordained part of the world, and there’s majesty in that.
The minor tetrachord (played by the euphonium soloist at the beginning of this piece) has always been an autumnal sound to me. When beginning to write this piece, that was what I latched onto.


Live Like A Monk by Bayden Adams – world premiere

Bayden grew up in Bunbury Western Australia where he started learning Piano at Age 5. Once he got to high school, he began learning trumpet and is now playing in bands such as the West Australian Wind Symphony and WA Brass. Bayden started composing in year 11 with his first composition (The Pirate from Egypt) being played at the 2019 Made in Australia Concert. After Graduating High school, Bayden completed an Associate Diploma in Piano and went on a 6 month tour across Western Australia playing Trumpet and Saxophone with Evan Ayres and the Swing Kings. Currently, he is studying composition at the University of Western Australia and is one of the Current Aboda WA Conducting Interns. Bayden has received mentorship from orchestrators of Alan Menkin and Hans Zimmer and he hopes to work in the behind the scenes of FIlm Scoring. You can have a look at more of Baydens Compositions through his Publisher Matt Klohs

About the work: “Live Like a Monk” is a piece inspired by the book “Think Like a Monk” by Jay Shetty. The book explores the lessons that Shetty learned as a practicing monk. The goal of “Live Like a Monk” is to evoke the feeling of waking up from a deep meditation – relaxed, free of negativity, and refreshed. To achieve this, the piece begins with spacious textures and limited movement, gradually introducing colourful harmonies as it develops. As you listen, you might imagine a monk sitting atop a tall mountain surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. The instrumentation eventually fades away, leaving a sense of relaxation and refreshment in its wake – as if you have just completed a six-minute meditation.

This is a link to his page for his 2019 Made In Australia performance of The Pirate from Egypt. click here

Concerto for Concert Band 1st movement by Catherine Clark-Jones

Catherine Clarke-Jones is composer, pianist, arranger and instrumental music teacher and is thrilled to be part of the 2023 Grainger Wind Symphony Made in Australia Concert.
Her compositions include numerous piano pieces, a Song Cycle on the poems of John Shaw Neilson, a Piano Trio, Conversations (published by Keys Press), Paragliding for Trombone and Euphonium AMEB Syllabus (Allan’s Publishing).
Her popular repertoire includes Honourable Mention for 3 songs entered in the Song of the Year Competition 2007, the UK International Song writing Competition 2006 in which 2 popular-style songs were finalists; another song finished as a semi-finalist. She was Launch Musical Arranger for the 1998 season (Alexandar Vass- Paul Upchurch of Legin Productions Ltd.) of Topol in Fiddler on the Roof. She has scored original music for short films including Horseradish and Blackwater, Billycart Troubles and Kumquat, and was Sound Designer/Composer for Suspiros, Flamenco Dance Theatre, for the 1999 Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Concerto for Concert Band was performed in July 2004 at the AUSTRALIAN ODYSSEY concert, and at the MSO Sidney Myer Free Concert Series, February 2005.
The 1st Movement of Concerto for Concert Band is a carnival piece, rather chaotic at times…energetic with a glimpse of various ‘acts’ all vying for an audience. Plenty of slapstick too, all the while the carnival ‘band’ plays on in the grand bandstand.

End of program