Meet the 2015 composers

The 2015 Fanfare composers, aged 13 to 20, have workshopped their composition with composer Nicholas Vines and recorded them with the Australian Youth Orchestra. Read their stories and hear their compositions.

Alexander Lau (Age 14), Castlecrag NSW
Composition: Beyond the Clouds

Hi my name is Alex and I am now 15 years old. I play violin and have mainly taught myself the piano. I have been composing for two and a half years but despite it being a short period of time I have learnt a lot. I guess my learning was accelerated by my interest which meant I composed frequently and tried seeking answers to my composition questions through self-directed study. By composing excessively in my early years, it meant I had more experience than most early composers and I would go through thought processes that could only come from experience. At first I started composing contemporary classical music for a Youtube channel, first notating it by hand then transcribing it to garageband for better sound quality. I then started to write film music for a short film that one of my friends directed. Soon after, I was soon invited by the Nova Youth Orchestra to write music for their string orchestra. And most recently, I have composed music for a string quintet which I run at school.

Composition Inspiration: The fanfare that I have composed, Beyond the Clouds, has multiple sources of inspiration. Originally, this piece was part of a suite but I soon separated it as I did not deem it suitable. I was inspired by the night of New Year’s eve (2014) and I wrote the second movement (Midnight Nocturne) on that very night. Later, I composed Beyond the Clouds as the first movement which reflects the explosive and exciting nature of fireworks. On top of that, I was also intrigued by the power of orchestral sound. Originally, I wrote only chamber music but now I wished to harness the energy of exciting orchestral works like Overture to Rienzi by Wagner and Piano Concerto No.1 by Tchaikovsky and use it in my fanfare. Composing this fanfare has been an exciting part of my composing career and I look forward to future endeavours.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 2 – 17 July 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Alex submitted for the competition.

Alexander Voltz (Age 16), Everton Park QLD
Composition: Awakening

I have always been surrounded by music: my father, a prominent musician; my mother, an amateur pianist. At the age of two I was presented with a piano, of which I continue to play today. I am also a violist, studying under Theo Kotzas and performing in the Third Queensland Youth Orchestra; and a baritone, singing in numerous school ensembles. From a compositional standpoint, I composed my first piece at the age of eleven – though prior to this I had created rough sketches on several occasions when my family had holidayed in our caravan. Today, I only try to further my musical education, particularly in the realm of composition. I have seen performances of my work by the Third Queensland Youth Orchestra and Brisbane Boys’ College. I hope that this opportunity given to me by Artology will only lead to greater accomplishments.

Composition Inspiration: Awakening is a thirty second work composed in response to Artology’s 2015 Fanfare Competition. It is scored for an orchestra and tells the story of one who has just awoken to a hectic day – perhaps it is biographical! The piece is one of my more experimental works, emphasising changes in both tonality and modulation. I am considering expanding Awakening into a larger composition; perhaps this will be a future project.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 15 – 24 December 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Alex submitted for the competition.

Cordelia Olivia To (Age 20), Canberra ACT
Composition: Multiculturalistic Australia

Since the age of 8 I have vowed to become a barrister and film composer at the same time, this is steadfastly being realised as I embarked on my studies at the Australian National University as a Law and Music Double Degree student. What makes me special is my versatility in musical styles. Albeit classically trained, I am skilled in improvising and playing by ear. I play 10 Western and world instruments, and find joy in experimenting with the styles of not only classically symphonic, but also jazz, world, pop and film music – I call myself a true Egalitarian in my musical taste. I aspire to make this world a better place using the music that I create.

Composition Inspiration: I hope to use my Fanfare to celebrate multiculturalism in Australia. Full of momentum, my piece is a concoction of cultural musical elements, it juxtaposes in absolute harmony elements such as multi-metres, the African Hemiola, Chinese Pentatonic scale and the easily recognisable Scottish Snap. It is a fusion between cultures and albeit adopts a full Western orchestral form, it features the use of Chinese instruments such as the Harp and Lute. This attention-grabbing piece of music represents harmonious cultural integration and I look to use it in order to further promote the ideal of multiculturalism, which can provide momentum and a forward drive in bettering this nation of ours that we love dearly – Australia.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 8 – 15 December 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Cordelia submitted for the competition.

Elise Bergman (Age 13), Hampton VIC
Composition: Sails of Sydney Harbour

I am Elise Bergman. I am 13 and from Victoria. I love music, science and horse riding. I play violin, viola and piano. I have been learning violin since kinder. Recently, I have been working on Czardas, Meditation and the Bach Double violin concerto, just to name a few.

I started viola this year after begging Mum to let me take up another instrument. In my viola studies, I have focused mostly on performance styles and Baroque techniques. In piano, I love a range of different pieces including rags, dances and short, enjoyable pieces.

Composition Inspiration: When I started composing my fanfare, I wanted to catch people’s attention and then encourage them to take their seats because something exciting is coming. The structure of my fanfare starts off with the winds and glockenspiel. The di-ding is supposed to make people think they might have heard something. I want them to listen for more, which is what will happen.

Then the brass comes in with a very confident and clear theme. This is the part that is supposed to grab people’s attention and make them listen. The structure of the brass theme is supposed to represent the ‘sails’ of the Sydney Opera House against the blue sky; big, bold and beautiful. The marimba is counter-melody to the brass theme. The tick-tock-tick-tock is both a nod to the traditional bell cue and meant to build people’s anticipation.

Finally, the strings encourage people to move to their seats. The sound is supposed to create the image of sailboats moving in formation when returning to the marina, as I often see them do in Port Phillip Bay. I used Vivaldi’s ideas of sequencing and a trill to end because I like how ornaments are used in Baroque music. I am so excited to have my piece selected as a 2015 fanfare. It has been fun for me to put together some things I have learnt in my music studies and turn it into a piece of music.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 10 June – 1 July 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Elise submitted for the competition.

Glenn Bussey (Age 19), Point Cook VIC
Composition: Allies

I began learning the piano when I was twelve years old. However, it was a year later when I began to listen to the music of Terry Scott Taylor that I started to actually become interested in music. I found that this music was generally more interesting than other mainstream pieces I had previously been exposed to. The catchy melodies in conjunction with the quirky and obscure accompaniment really grabbed my attention and inspired me to begin writing music. Today I am studying sound production at Victoria University and invest my spare time into setting up local youth FReeZA music events and composing for an array of musical genres. I am generally geared towards writing contemporary music such as dance, blues, metal and media. Recently I have also been learning how to compose on a classical basis but am still new to its ideas and techniques. This has been a challenging and worthwhile endeavour that further builds upon my composition abilities whilst still drawing upon my contemporary influences.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 18 – 24 April 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Glenn submitted for the competition.

Hamish Ander (Age 19), Parkville VIC
Composition: Olympus Fanfare

My name is Hamish Ander, I’m 19 and am currently studying music composition at Melbourne University. Music has been a huge part of my life for years now, discovering many different styles and genres of music from an early age, mostly through my father’s own interests. However, my dreams of composing amazing music really arose through my exposure to music in film, namely orchestral music, which is what I’m primarily interested in today. I’ve been thoroughly involved in music groups since I started high school, picking up trumpet at the first opportunity I could and joining the school’s jazz band and choir. I began to take up music theory lessons around the same time, and aside from performing and the likes, this particular part of the discipline drew me in and fascinated me – to me, theory was the study of what made music sound awesome, and ultimately a means of later creating my own. After years of involvement in musicals, concerts, workshops and music exams, I decided I wanted to make my passions in music my career. I was lucky enough to earn a place at Melbourne University’s Bachelor of Music, and a year later, acceptance into the course’s composition major. I feel so privileged to be where I am now and to be working with the people I am, and hope that one day my degree will enable me to travel the world, as well as even lecture in music theory at a university level.

Composition Inspiration: For my fanfare that you will be hearing, Olympus Fanfare, I have chosen to branch off a very familiar style of film score most well-acquainted with veteran composer John Williams, my all-time idol and a musical mind of undefined genius. Like the composer himself, I chose to write the main theme at the piano and later added orchestral details to a larger score. The fanfare, though short in duration, employs the Williams trademark of a simple but identifiable theme in the brass, surrounded by many busy and complex orchestrations in the rest of the orchestra. This type of writing features all sections of the ensemble to contribute to the overall celebratory mood of the piece, which was my intention when ideally opening a concert at the Sydney Opera House. Olympus is essentially just this, like many successful fanfares, an announcement to audiences that a celebration is going to follow… so take to your seats ladies and gentlemen, and allow the magic of the music to consume you.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 4 – 17 April 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Hamish submitted for the competition.

Jordan Halaseh (Age 17), East Keilor VIC
Composition: Fanfare in C Major

My name is Jordan Halaseh and I am in year 11 at Penleigh and Essendon a Grammar School. I have been playing the trombone for 9 years and the piano for 10 years. I am currently working on my grade 8 piano exam and VCE trombone for music performance. I have been studying AMEB music theory for 5 years. I am part of my schools senior stage band, senior orchestra and senior concert band. I have been in all these ensembles for 6 years. I like arranging pieces for my schools Brass Quintet which I am also a part of and I am also part of my schools Brass ensemble which perform at an annual Carole service which my school hosts. I really enjoy music and I see it as a totally different language that only few people really get to understand.

Composition Inspiration: When writing this composition I sat on the piano playing melodies to brainstorm different rhythms. I preferred dotted rhythms as my inspiration was Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. I really enjoyed the live canons which I thought was very innovative. I wanted to imitate its distinct dotted rhythms as you can hear in the first section of the piece. I also wanted to imitate its grand crescendo which continually grows throughout the piece.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 2 – 9 October 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Jordan submitted for the competition.


Sam Weller (Age 17), Dulwich Hill NSW
Composition: Fanfare for Chaos

I am Sam Weller, 17 years of age and in my final year at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. I began playing the saxophone at a young age and have now achieved my AMusA diploma with Honours in Classical Saxophone. At the age of 15 I was awarded second place in the Australasian Saxophone and Clarinet Conference (under 19’s division). Throughout my schooling life I have been a part of two international tours (USA and China) and a long-term member of the NSW State Wind Ensembles and Jazz Orchestras. I am also an aspiring conductor, beginning in year nine, and that same year I was the youngest person to conduct a symphony orchestra in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall in an exchange performance between Australia and China. Throughout my time at school, I have directed performances of major works including Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and The Firebird with the school orchestra. I have written many small works for chamber ensembles but only two works for full orchestra. I am delighted to have my composition picked for the Fanfare Competition and recorded by the Australian Youth Orchestra.

Composition Inspiration: I composed the work with American composers of the 20th century in mind, particularly that of wind band writing. This is particularly evident in that if the wind and percussion writing. Although I have fused these contemporary notions with Wagnarian brass writing and String parts reminiscent of Stravinsky’s compositions. In doing so I have created an eclectic sound palette that I hope is full of energy and engages the audience as a fanfare should do.

Hear the Australian Youth Orchestra performance below or at the Sydney Opera House from 24 September – 1 October 2016.

Now hear the original sound file Sam submitted for the competition.

View the gallery.

November 3, 2016
© Copyright - Artology