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

Hayden Taylor (Age 18, Vic)

TO COUNTRY: Labyrinthine Waterways

I grew up in a musical household where I was exposed to a wide range of musical genres. I have learnt piano since age 5 (both classical and jazz), and cello since age 8.

Although I always had an interest in composition, in 2019 I started exploring this more seriously. In 2020 I won a place in Artology’s Open Fanfare competition, which I enjoyed tremendously; here I learnt what being a professional composer is like and benefited from the guidance provided by the mentors. This experience encouraged me to pursue composition further and in 2022 I began a Bachelor of Music (Composition) at the University of Melbourne. Here I am surrounded by likeminded people and amazing musicians which is helping me explore musical ideas and develop my folio of works.

A highlight of my musical journey has been writing a piece for my school’s senior string ensemble, performed at the end of year concert (which I conducted).

I would like to thank Artology for letting me participate in the 2022 To Country competition.

Composition inspiration 

My piece for the ‘To Country’ program, titled “Labyrinthine Waterways”, was inspired by my connection to the native landscape of Australia. I drew from a conversation I had with one of my composition professors, who said during COVID-19 lockdowns he regularly walked along the creek he lives next to – by chance the same creek I live next to. We worked out that despite not being within the same 5-kilometre radius, we shared the experience of walking along this creek. When writing this piece I drew upon the labyrinth of rivers, creeks, and other waterways that connect Melbourne.

Musically I was inspired by the sounds I heard on my walks. I drew from Olivier Messiaen’s use of birdsong, and a lecture given by Miriama Young on her piece “Borderlands Biophony”. Young talked about Messiaen’s friendship with Sydney Curtis, who recorded Australian lyrebirds and sent them to Messiaen inspiring many of his works, including “Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà…” (his last work). I was also influenced by an interview/podcast with Chris Dench, where he described two ways of thinking about form: arch-like and labyrinthine. I drew upon the labyrinthine description of form in writing this piece.

“Labyrinthine Waterways” is an acknowledgement of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.