Eamon Roche [Age 19, NSW]

Composition: Constant and Equivalent

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

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

I am a 19-year-old composer, brass player, and brass teacher, currently in the 2nd year of my Bachelor of Music – Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Having started playing trumpet in year 4, I soon thereafter began composing, primarily in GarageBand to begin with. Throughout the rest of school, I participated in a large number of ensembles and music programs including Sydney South-East Symphonic Winds, and the Arts Unit’s “Romeo and Juliet Reimagined” composition workshop with Paul Rissmann. Within my high school, I participated in choirs, orchestras, and jazz ensembles, all of which aided the development of my abilities in composition. By Year 12, I had a number of works recorded or performed publicly by the school’s ensembles, including one work performed on Fine Music FM during their 2018 School Jazz Combo Competition.

Since commencing my degree at the Conservatorium, I have begun to teach myself a number of instruments other than trumpet, and started teaching brass at primary schools. Additionally, I am a casual employee at the Australian Music Centre, assisting in the production of scores for works by Australian composers.

Composition Inspiration

This fanfare was developed from a single bar of trumpet improvisation I transcribed as part of a university task, a phrase that my lecturer praised for its “balance between harmonic stability and instability”. When I began to write my Artology entry for this year, this phrase became its opening, and I tried to continue with the approach of balancing harmonic stability and instability throughout.

The piece’s title is a description of the melodic octave, an interval common in fanfares that recurs throughout this one, which gives a sense of grand, sweeping movement. This initial feeling of steadiness is balanced by the melodic octave’s frequent placement on unstable chordal 5ths or 7ths, and the occasional use of unexpected chords, either arpeggiated as in the opening phrase or as block chords later in the piece.