Listen to Olivia’s original composition submitted with her entry.

Listen to Olivia’s composition performed by the QYO Chamber Orchestra.

Olivia Bryant [Age 17, Qld]

Composition: AH!

My name is Olivia Bryant, I’m a 17-year-old self-taught composer currently in my final year of school at West Moreton Anglican College (Queensland). Having gone to a school with such great music opportunities, my love for this art was fostered from a young age.

Like most musicians, the first instrument I started learning was the piano. When I was in grade 5, I was given a trombone and recently have found myself playing from the jazz genre often. My dedication to music has led me to participate in the State Honours Ensemble Program (QLD) as well as being awarded subject prizes for Music in 2019 and 2020.

When I was in Grade 7, I was introduced to my first ever notation software and, after the movie revelation that was Pitch Perfect, I found myself arranging all my favourite pop songs into (not-so good) A-cappella mashups. At the time I wasn’t too sure what I was doing, however I realise now it was almost fundamental in shaping some of my skills as a composer. In the years to follow, I found that writing and arranging music was all that I wanted to do, whether that would be in my free time, on the holidays, even instead of practicing or doing other work.

I am so grateful for the opportunities that my teachers and mentors have given me, allowing me to compose and arrange works for my school’s Symphonic Band and our Senior choirs, as well as sending me links to competitions such as this one.

Composition Inspiration

To be honest with you all, fanfares are quite outside my comfort-zone as a composer (hence the title, AH ! !).

As my friends and teachers would probably tell you, I love to write very soft, almost-contemporary pieces. So, when I received an email from my Music Extension teacher with the link to this competition, I spent a little bit of time searching the depths of my brain for inspiration as well as considering what kind of person I was, and how I could allow that to come through in my composition.

As such, I took inspiration from one of my favourite genres of music, film. Those who know me, know that I love the works of Hans Zimmer, in particularly music from ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Inception’. I wanted to channel this style of music in my fanfare, using layered textures and repeated ideas.

Though film scores played a huge part in the creation of this composition, a part of me wanted to investigate more classical examples of fanfares. In my research of these, I (somehow) got distracted looking through scores of pieces I had studied for past school music assignments. Revisiting Bedrich Smetana’s ‘The Moldau’, I fell in love with the use of ascending and descending semi-quavers and wanted to see how I could integrate that into my fanfare.

The result of this was 30 second piece which featured repeated and layered ostinati, emphasised with loud accented pulses in the brass, lower reeds, and strings; a fast paced, percussive yet flowing composition, aimed to draw audience attention.