Composition Eisteddfod Report

Deidre Rickards OAM with TAS Music Students and Staff at their recent Composition Awards presentation.

This year Composition was the only category from the Armidale Eisteddfod to go ahead and it was very successful. Many people tuned in to the Sessions on the 10th June. Those candidates who submitted works were able to receive substantial feedback from an Australian composer and Corinne Arter at NECOM arranged for the three hour event to be presented using the NECOM Zoom facility.

This year our composer was Sydney based Holly Harrison. She has been working in MLC Burwood in Sydney and has a convincing grasp of the NSW syllabus. Her comments were closely related to the needs of students in schools and she always looked to be encouraging and helpful.
Holly gave an informative lecture where she discussed the challenges of Composing and offered advice related to the Musical concepts, time factors and ways of working effectively. She played examples including some of her work and discussed the idea of stimulus in creativity. Those who listened couldn’t help but feel motivated towards re -working their existing material or producing another work. Holly is currently composing for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra as she is the Composer in residence. She had a lot to offer and we were grateful for her input.

The winners for each section were:
K-6 – Andrew Dharma (Sydney)
7/8 – Tiko Lay (PLC)
9-Emily Buntine (TAS)
10 – Emma Dauparas (PLC)
11 (Course 1) – Hannah Neilson (TAS)
11 (Course 2) – Alexander Gibson (TAS)
12 (Course 1) – Hattie Oaks (TAS)
12 (Course 2) – Luka Ison (Calrossy)
Open – Matthew Minter (PLC )

Luka Ison was presented with the overall winning prize for his piano solo composition. Of this work Holly has said the following:
Piano Sonatina in C# Minor
This is an impressive piece, demonstrating an excellent understanding of idiomatic piano writing. The work makes use of sophisticated textures and handles transitions with ease. Structurally, there is a strong sense of momentum, with key climactic moments nicely paced, stretching and twisting throughout. Stylistically, there is a clear personal voice emerging here – the jazz inflections work especially well. The score is beautifully presented.

The COMPOSITION section in the Eisteddfod is open to all students and to the general public. In past years we have engaged Australian composers such as Carl Vine, Stephen Leek, Andrew ford, Luke Byrne and Paul Stanhope to name a few. This connection between Composition students and Australian composers is a fantastic way of nurturing interest in a mandatory part of the Music syllabus in schools. This is why I established this section in the Armidale Eisteddfod. It has proved to be a relevant part of the work by music teachers and a useful exercise for students.

Deidre Rickards OAM
(Composition Convenor, Armidale Eisteddfod)
15/06/2020