Timothy O’Malley [Age 17, Vic]

Composition: Tuning in A

My name is Timothy O’Malley and I am currently in year 12 at St Kevin’s college in Melbourne. In terms of music, I have had an interest from a young age. I learnt violin briefly when I was 5 but it didn’t last because of my refusal to practice, but started learning piano when I was 6 and was more motivated to work hard. In year 5 I took up the trumpet as a secondary instrument after being inspired by the head of music at my primary school, a great jazz trumpeter. Currently for piano I am studying for my Amus and for VCE music performance, and for trumpet I completed my AMEB grade 6 exam 2 years ago, also having kept up playing it in multiple ensembles at school. Outside of school I play cornet in my local A grade Brass band, Boroondara brass, having competed in 2 national championships. I took a particularly keen interest to composition about 3 years ago after finding Khatia Buniatishvili’s phenomenal piano solo recordings of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, upon learning about them I incidentally found and studied the scores of Ravel’s orchestration. Suddenly having found a passion for orchestral music, I bought a subscription to MSO in 2017, and after seeing works like Petrushka and Shostakovich 5, I was motivated into haphazardly composing many finished (and many unfinished) works. Having had one shorter fanfare, and one longer work played by my school symphony orchestra.

Composition Inspiration

My fanfare, Tuning in A, came as an idea to me when I was attending an ACO concert at Hamer hall and I heard one of the 2017 fanfares played over the speakers. I gained a better appreciation that the real requirement was to find a way of signalling to patrons that a performance was about to start, therefore I decided to base my fanfare around the idea of the tuning of an orchestra, something that creates an idea of anticipation and expectation for the start of a concert. The sustained oboe tuning A is then blended with a trumpet that begins the true fanfare call, a causeway into a more traditional fanfare. Some composers and works that have inspired the style that I took, or have influenced my writing include Mahler’s brass fanfare at the beginning of the last movement of Symphony number 7, Bruckner’s, symphony’s 6 and 7 and how they play with the ‘Bruckner rhythm’ of duple against triple. As well as Stravinsky’s treatment of brass, and my own knowledge of playing the trumpet.