Concert 3 2024: Made In Australia program notes

This page has the composer’s photo, biography and program notes. They are in performance order.

To download a pdf of the printed program click here. It is 54MB in size so it may be a slow download!


William Hanna

William Hanna is a Melbourne based bassoonist, composer and music teacher. In 2021, he graduated from his Bachelor’s degree from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music with honours in Music Performance studying under Lyndon Watts.

Will likes to write music that is engaging and enjoyable both to listen to and to perform. He has recently had his prizewinning piece “Haunted House” performed by the Casey Philharmonic Orchestra and has had his chamber music performed by the Zephyrus Wind Quintet and Euterpe Bassoon Quartet.

In March of 2024, he will commence study at the Australian National Academy of Music.

Rhapsody for Wind Symphony was written in the summer of 2023-2024 for the Grainger Wind Symphony’s Made in Australia concert. It is a boisterous piece filled with energy and life, as well as some gentler moments. The piece does not contain any programmatic elements, but rather evokes a general sense of carefree fun throughout, only occasionally interrupted by fleeting darkness. Being a rhapsody, the piece is constructed by developing a handful of emotive melodic ideas, most of which are introduced in the first few minutes of music. Listen out for the return of the main themes, sometimes in ways you might not expect.

Matthew Pankhurst

Matthew Pankhurst is a composer, conductor, tuba player and music educator. In his early career Matthew performed with many of Australia’s professional symphony orchestras. Matthew completed tertiary and postgraduate qualifications at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and
toured internationally performing with many orchestras and ensembles and playing at international solo competitions in Europe and America on tuba.

In recent years, Matthew has held numerous curriculum area leadership positions in regional Victorian secondary schools. He has specialised in teaching and assessing composition. Matthew has composed a number of works for voice, chamber ensembles – particularly brass ensembles, solo works for brass and woodwind with Piano accompaniment and new wusic works featuring blends of acoustic and digital sounds.

Grace for Wind Orchestra is Matthew’s first work for Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

Grace aims to evoke the wide array of emotions that might be felt by those who are neurodiverse. Even in this more enlightened time, there is much work to do to ensure everyone in society is fully valued, much genius still goes untapped. I’m proud that musical ensembles and performing arts programs are often a haven for those who do not think and feel the same way as many.

At times I have seen amazing individuals feel great loneliness, frustration, sadness and anger.
I have seen parents, educators, carers, volunteers and even ensemble directors offer great support to
those who are not neuro-typical. They will likely agree with me, in supporting and advocating one needs kindness, compassion and dignity, in short, a sense of grace.

Grace for Wind Orchestra is dedicated to my son, Gabriel Pankhurst.

Todd Robinson

I’m a storyteller with sound. I currently study at the University of Melbourne in my third year of attaining a Bachelor of Music (Composition). I have grown up from a large pool of music from classical music mixed with art rock and jazz inspirations ranging from Liszt to the Beach Boys, Gustav Holst to Jorge Ben Jor, and Joe Hisaishi to Charles Ives.

I have a passion for literature which, alongside being a part of the queer community, has influenced my music with the aim of creating music that brings people together between woven bonds and evoke primal yet intricate psychological narratives. I hope my music can speak to you, regardless of your walk of life.

The Australian environment has also help evolve my music, like taking into aspect the unique birdsong of Western Victoria, particularly the magpies, willie wagtails, and galahs. Sounds of places like Toolern Creek are familiarly imbued into my music, like the sound of water rushing against pebbles and the brush of the gumtrees in the wind above me.

I have attained achievements like win Third Prize in the Composition Competition 2022 Recorder Orchestra for Orpheus Music, and am currently working with the Southern Voices Melbourne choir to perform a work at the Choral@Montsalvat 2024.

The piece is about the universal struggle, the tug – the push and pull – of our daily lives that we are constantly confronted with. From that, the piece is about how we find people or places or things that we try to nurture and comfort these wounds, and how sometimes they or we fall short. This piece, above all though, is a piece of reconciliation, about standing tall.

I chose to title this piece after the scientific name of the blowfly, extending this idea of struggle to the blowfly. A blowfly may struggle just as much as we do. A blowfly might be trying to find peace as much as we do, day-to-day. I have tried to perhaps capture some of the sounds of how a blowfly might sing its struggles, alongside impressions of the Australian landscape contrasted with the vibrancy of inner-city Melbourne.

David Goddard

David has been studying composition for 3 years – 2 years of study for his VCE (2021-2022) taking the subjects Music Styles and Composition and Music Investigation, and in the past year maintaining independent study in his free time while pursuing an undergraduate degree in Chemistry/Geographical Science at Monash University.

While David’s time composing has been short, he has been fortunate enough to have numerous opportunities to hear his works performed. He owes a debt of gratitude to the Blackburn High School clarinet ensemble for patiently working through in-progress pieces. His main work in his VCE portfolio was generously recorded by a big band headed by Toshi Clinch, and that performance was taken to Top Sound 2023.

David’s works have been predominantly composed for big band and small wind ensembles, as well as solo piano. This is the first performance of a piece he has written for wind band.

‘A Moonlight Stroll’ is pulled from the picture of iridescent moonbeams on a clear, quiet night. It features two contrasting themes – one slow, mellow, and lyrical and the other light, bubbly and energetic. These are stitched together with shorter melodic ideas that pass in solos through the Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and French Horn.

The piece begins simple and reflective, introducing and playfully building upon the two themes until interrupted by a premature explosion of brass. The following section is a soundscape of soft textures and rich harmonic colours built off the open sound of quartal and quintal harmony. Nostalgic melodies ease back to a triumphant restatement of the main themes before the thematic denouement, building to the highest point before falling back down to quiet introspection.

To guest conduct David’s work, we have invited Ivan Maffeis from Italy. Click here for more information about Ivan.

Jitho Jayasinghe

Hi! I like to explore emotions through music. I’m an impressionist classical music lover (especially Debussy!), devoted to the beautiful mode of Dorian. I find joy in composing pieces that evoke hopeful and fantastical themes. When I compose, I tend to use a method where I explore the textures of my piece bar-by-bar instead of writing a sketch and then “filling it in”. I hope you can enjoy this piece I share with you today.

Full Moon Festival over Kairaa’s Land aims to illustrate the narrative of the Kairaa, an intelligent and primitive humanoid species in a distant world. Every 174 days, when their moons are synchronously full, the Kairaa of the Grasslands and Mountains tribes join together in an auspicious valley they deem the “Centre of the World”. In this event, they celebrate the happenings of the lunar year and prepare for the next one to come.

This piece preludes with the determined March, a solemn procession with the Kairaa holding fire torches in their hands. It leads into the enigmatic Ceremony, where they chant prayers to the gods around a large fire. The atmosphere relaxes as the Kairaa begin the jovial Dance. The event is closed off with a resounding Finalé.

I encourage the audience to listen out for the time signatures and tempi I have chosen through the piece: the March is in a steady, confident 2/4, the ceremony shimmers between 3/2 and 6/4, and the dance is in a very vivacious 2/4.

I hope this piece evokes a spectrum of emotions from the ritualistic graveness in the Ceremony to the triumph and heroic mood of the Finalé. I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope you can enjoy listening to and feeling the music.

Finally, I want to thank Stuart Andrew for his guidance. And thank you, Grainger Wind Symphony, for this great opportunity.

George Barsoum

I am a young Australian composers based in Melbourne’s western suburbs with 9 years of experience writing for ensembles including orchestras, choirs, wind bands and various chamber groups. I am self-taught, although I have participated extensively in community and university ensembles to maintain my training. Many of these groups have irregular, unbalanced instrumentation with large variations in skill level. Catering to these ensembles strengths has been a challenge to my skills but has lead to my orchestration skills developing extremely quickly, as has my ability to work one-on-one with conductor, directors and soloists.

At this point in my career, I write at a semi-professional level, regularly having multiple premieres a year presented by community ensembles who – despite their status – regularly amaze me with their abilities. My foremost achievements include my two studio albums (“Tales from the Concert Hall” and “Dances of the “Apocalypse”), partial arrangements of which have been played live. I also hold in high regard my recent spot in the Casey Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2023 Halloween concert, having won first place in their preceding composition competition. Likewise, the Grainger Wind Symphony played my piece “Treachery is Afoot,” during their previous composer showcase. The challenge of writing for a wind band made this memory stand out for me and I hope to build on that success.

I aspire to work towards obtaining a residency position for a major ensemble in Melbourne. I consider my ability to tailor and orchestrate my music for a specific group one of my upmost strengths, and thus being bound to a specific ensemble for an extended period has a very real appeal to me. Many ensembles are concerned with remaining accessible to modern audiences and I know that my style of music can do just that. I do however believe there is an equal need to remain accessible to modern musicians, whose own enjoyment is often overlooked.

Another key part of my mission is to help build up local community ensembles, especially those in the often-underrepresented western suburbs. I believe that there is a disproportionate gap between the size and success of community ensembles and that of professional groups which stifles music education and participation. Working with ensembles with the Grainger Winds to keep local, current music alive is a small but crucial part of that.

In regards to participation requirements, I can confirm that I am an Australian citizen by birth. My piece remains unpublished and at this time has not been played by any other ensembles.

“Built on the Sand of Time” was inspired by George’s first-hand experience with Middle Eastern music and how it has grown into being a part of western classical music. Composers have always been fascinated with foreign sounds, but recent decades have seen an explosion of music that imitates other cultures. “Built on the Sands of Time” celebrates this new musical language and challenges musicians to recreate the sounds of another land.

The piece does not rely on traditional or “authentic” instruments but does imitate them; the oboe, English horn and percussion are especially good at this. Likewise, the piece’s many melodies contain certain hallmarks of Middle Eastern music but are not strictly “authentic.” Rather, a degree of deliberate stereotyping is allowed to create a sound which is bold, fun and evocative, whilst still being honest to its roots.

Hayden Taylor

Hayden Taylor is an emerging composer based in Melbourne. Currently undertaking a Bachelor of Music Composition and Diploma of Pure Mathematics at the University of Melbourne, he has studied composition with Calvin Bowman, Melody Eötvös, Elliott Gyger, and Christine McCombe.

As a composer, he has had performances with the Melbourne Conservatorium Saxophone Ensemble, MYRIAD (Melbourne Conservatorium Percussion Ensemble), and Melbourne Youth Orchestra. In 2024, he is completing a student composer residency at the Percy Grainger Museum (supported by IgniteLAB).

Hayden enjoys exploring how his interests in advanced mathematics, spirituality, and history can be applied to music to create new and unique soundscapes that reflect personal emotions. He enjoys working with players to create rewarding performance experiences for performer and listener alike.

A keen cellist, he studies cello with Richard Narroway and has performed his own music and with others, in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings. Hayden particularly enjoys historically informed performance and has performed continuo at the Melbourne Conservatorium showcase concert representing the Early Music Faculty.


The noon’s greygolden meshes make All night a veil,
The shorelamps in the sleeping lake Laburnum tendrils trail

The sly reeds whisper to the night A name her name
And all my soul is a delight,
A swoon of shame.

James Joyce (1916) Alone was inspired by poem of the same name by James Joyce.

The work centres around a single complex, dense, chord, heard and transposed many times. The chord captures the many emotions of being alone; loneliness, calm, lurking tension, mystery, indulgence, and unaccountability – walking at night. Emerging from this we are guided forward by an ethereal melody driving us forward as the music draws toward a decadent climax. From here the same melody sings us to a spiritual calm, accompanied by warmth. We have thus concluded our journey, considering some of the many emotions of being Alone.

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 community bands in Tasmania, playing clarinet with Hobart Wind Symphony and tenor saxophone with Southern Lights Big Band. Michael is currently Musical Director of Clarence City Band and is the conductor of their Concert Band, leader of their Jazz Ensemble, and is the small ensembles coordinator. He is also a life member of Clarence City Band. Michael is actively involved with the Tasmanian Bands League, where he serves 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.

For those who are not familiar with the phrase “Noot Noot”, it is the catchphrase of a Claymation penguin called Pingu. It has since gone on to become a viral meme. The penguin language of Pingu mainly consists of babbling and muttering, along with this honking “Noot Noot” sound, where Pingu’s beak would transform into megaphone/trumpet like shape.

This composition is intended to be a homage to the character of Pingu, who is often described as a typically playful and curious, yet also a little bit mischievous and prone to throwing the occasional tantrum – especially when overwhelmed by the situations at hand. The opening and closing “A” sections of the composition are playful, light and bouncy, while being contrasted by a more mysterious and curious in the “B” sections. At the centre of the composition, is a very funky and mischievous “C” section. As for the occasional tantrum, I’m pretty sure that will be in the form of conductor and player alike while trying to comprehend the 7/8 patterns . . .