Australia’s First Composition Conference Now Open To Secondary School Students

A music conference aimed entirely at the art of composition will be held in Armidale from 9 – 11 October in what is believed to be an Australian first. NECOM is excited to now open up registrations to students who are beginning to take music seriously as a future pursuit. NECOM CEO, Mr Russell Bauer explains, “It was our desire to present a unique Music Conference aimed entirely at the art of composition. Our original target audience was music educators, songwriters, amateur composers and musicians who simply wish to improve their overall musicianship. Of late, we’ve had significant interest from Senior Music students who are beginning to emerge as young artists in their own right, so we are inviting applications from students in Years 10, 11 and 12”.

Proudly supported by Destination NSW, the three-day conference will draw together six internationally-published composers, including Christopher Norton (the composer of the world-famous Microjazz series) and Bruce Rowland, the award-winning composer of soundtracks to The Man From Snowy River and Phar Lap.

“Of the four key areas of music education (Performance, Musicology, Composition and Aural Skills) it is composing that often presents the greatest challenges in terms of understanding”, Mr Bauer said. “As performers we begin to find our compositional “voice” simply by learning lots of repertoire and then by imitating what the great composers did, albeit on a smaller scale. But how does one teach the art of composition? That’s where CompCon comes in”, he said.

A wide range of styles and topics will be covered, with Norton giving workshops on jazz harmony and piano writing, while Rowland is on board as an expert in film composition and orchestration. Covering Electronic Music and the Music Industry will be Melbourne’s Amy Bastow, fresh from composing a soundtrack for acclaimed film director, James Cameron. Andy First, one of the world’s most revered jazz clarinettists, will discuss jazz theory and song-writing techniques, and will offer tips on composing for wind instruments and arranging for Big Band. From Queensland will come Sarah Hopkins, internationally recognised composer of Choral and String music, while Dr Ralph Hultgren (Australia’s preeminent composer of Concert Band music) will discuss how to develop motifs and “How To Get Your Ideas On Paper”.

Mr Bauer points out that this conference is not only for those currently involved in Music Education. “This is really for anybody who would like to pick the musical brains of six composers who have made a living doing something they are passionate about. The conference could almost have the subtitle of ‘From Where Do We Draw Inspiration’ as the presenters will talk about their backgrounds and how they learned to stand out in a field that can be very unforgiving. We would love to see anybody with a passion for music come along and be inspired”.

The cost of the Conference is $350 and includes all morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas, the Conference Dinner and the “Man From Snowy River Event” on the Friday night, October 11. If you would like to take part, please head to the following link   – or register at

Mr Russell Bauer