Danny McNeall [Age 19, NSW]

Composition: Fanfare from the Golden Age (of Hollywood)

Listen to Danny’s composition performed by the Queensland Youth Chamber Orchestra, 30 September 2020, The Old Museum, Bowen Hills.

Listen to Danny’s original composition submitted with his entry.

I first started playing piano at age 6. The first piece I composed (that I still have) was written when I was 8. I finished Grade 6 Suzuki for piano in 2017 and I am working on Grade 8 AMEB currently. I achieved a mark of 49/50 in the HSC for Music Extension – I also placed first in my class.

I play the oboe for fun in the Golden Kangaroos community band. I was commissioned to write a piece for Arden Anglican School’s 2019 ANZAC Day service – for piano, soprano solo, SATB choir and String Ensemble (close to 80 musicians in total). It was a musical setting of The Attaturk Statement. I took on the responsibility of Captaining my high school choir for 2 years during years 11 and 12 of high school. I am currently doing my first year of studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (Bachelor of Music in Composition), and I achieved a distinction in ‘Instrumentation and Orchestration’ last semester.

I hope to write music for films and musical theatre in the future. I also started a youtube channel to showcase original compositions which now has close to 50 subscribers.


I love classic film scores. There’s something about them that’s so fulfilling, and most modern film scores I listen to tend not to have that same fulfilling quality, so I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, and I think it comes down to a few things: classic scores have a clear melody that the audience will remember, an accompaniment that provides the emotional backbone to the melody, a diversity of tone colour, and an emphasis on audience enjoyment over technical compositional skill. These are all things that can be applied to modern film scoring. With my piece ‘Fanfare from the Golden Age (of Hollywood)’, I attempted to create a piece of music with those elements: it has a clear melody in the strings, a simple accompaniment with woodwind chords and brass accents and more traditional brass fanfare elements bookending the piece. I’m also a sucker for soaring string lines, and in this piece I tried to fit the flowing nature of them in with the tight and precise requirements of a fanfare. I hope you enjoy the end result!