Sheree Kuan [Age 18, NSW]

Composition: Impulse

Born in Sydney, Sheree Kuan is an 18-year-old composer and cellist undertaking a Combined Bachelor of Laws and Arts (Music Major) degree at the University of Sydney. She recently graduated from MLC School on a Full Music Scholarship (2012-2017), where she first established the foundations of her love of music during her early years with Karen Carey’s department. Sheree also performs extensively as a solo and orchestral musician, proceeding her position of Principal Cellist in the MLC Symphony and Chamber Orchestras with Principal Cellist of the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra (SUSO). However, her initial passion for music began at a much younger age, when she started the piano at 4 years old and the cello at 6 years old, completing her AMEB Grade 8 for both instruments with High Distinction at the age of 11. Under the tutelage of Susan Blake, she intends to complete her Cello LMusA in early 2019. Compositionally, Sheree was tutored by Tristan Coelho during the completion of her International Baccalaureate Diploma, and 2017 saw her give two solo performances at the Sydney Opera House, as well as performing her original composition for cello duo Birds of Paradise at the Sydney Town Hall.

Composition Inspiration

By definition, an impulse is a sudden and unreflective prompt to action. Like a fanfare, it captures and shifts your attention toward what is to happen next. Quite aptly, the idea behind Impulse is that of momentum, driven by the irregular 7/8 metre, sudden changes in dynamic, and a rapidly shifting dialogue between different instrumental sections. Inspired by the original bell cue of the Sydney Opera House, the motif of an oscillating major third is extended and woven throughout the piece. At times, the orchestral texture is stripped back to then build again and maintain a persistent sense of anticipation. Given my background as a performer, I have always been fascinated with exploring the technical limitations and expressive potential of instruments through my compositions. As such, I have implemented techniques such as snap pizz and trills into Impulse to add a more colourful and flamboyant edge. On another note, the title of this piece bears a secondary meaning, being that my personal impetus to compose has always been somewhat impulsive. My incentive to compose comes in sudden bursts and often at odd times, where the skeleton of Impulse essentially came together in one night whilst mid-procrastination.