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

Jasper Tops (Age 15, NSW)

TO COUNTRY: Country of Birds

I have loved all sorts of music since I was born.  My mum would play songs from Eurovision and dad would play songs from Rage.  Mum took me to the Babies Proms shows at the Sydney Opera House.

At primary school I was in all the music groups I could possibly join – school band (violin), recorder group, clarinet group, ukulele and choir.  I have been singing with the Sydney Children’s Choir for the last 10 years where I learned a lot about music performance and theory. I also learned about modern Australian composers and got to meet some of them too.

I’ve always been making up songs and pieces but only started writing them down properly once I started at the Conservatorium High School.  At high school I have studied voice, violin and composition and I try to compose as much as I can now.

My first orchestral piece “Taming the Dragon” was Highly Commended in the 2020 Artology Fanfare Competition and then selected for the inaugural Open Fanfare Concert in September 2020 with the Queensland Youth Chamber Orchestra.  My piece ‘Codename Locrian’ was highly commended in the Australian and New Zealand Viola Society composition competition 2021.

Composition Inspiration

The competition concept of writing a piece To Country was very interesting to me.  One aspect of our country that is unique is the huge variety of birds we have here and their calls.  Walking through Lane Cove National Park you are never in silence.  There is a constant cacophony of birds calling over the top of one another vying for attention.

In my piece I wanted to describe the birds’ day, starting with dawn, then daily activity and then nesting in the evening.

The woodwinds are used to make bird effects but all parts of the orchestra are used to make bird-like sounds.  The constant changes in time signature attempt to give a more natural effect to the birds as they don’t stick to strict musical time.  The tempo changes with the activity levels of the birds.

At the end in the last two bars, there is a cacophony of instrumental sounds and effects to create a chaotic effect like you hear from the birds flying back to their nests in trees.