ABC announces recipients of its first songwriters commission

The ABC has announced the recipients of its inaugural Songwriters Commissions Fund, with 15 grants totaling $ 90,000. The commissions will support a wide range of voices and themes, including female, indigenous, culturally and linguistically diverse, and LGBTQI + composers.

Eric Avery. Photograph © Matthew Lorenzon / ABC Classic

The ten new ABC Classic orders have been awarded to:

  • composer and world music expert Brent Keogh;
  • emerging First Nations violinist and composer Eric Avery, who will collaborate with the Offspring Ensemble;
  • The Titjikala Womens’ Choir, who will work with Northern Territory singer / songwriter Nancy Bates and pianist / electric crystal player Gabriella Smart;
  • concert, film and game music composer Christine Pan, who will write for harpist Kate Moloney;
  • violinist Camille Barry and composer-producer Thomas Green;
  • composer Heather Percy, who will collaborate with the Sydney Chamber Choir and its artistic director Sam Allchurch;
  • composer Elizabeth Younan, who will draw on her Lebanese heritage;
  • Tasmanian composer and musician Emily Sheppard who will collaborate with singer-songwriter Claire Anne Taylor;
  • singer-songwriter Henry Liang;
  • and composer Meta Cohen, who will write for the choral group Divisi Chamber Singers.

Cross-cultural collaborations will feature familiar classical and jazz instruments alongside Arabic oud, Japanese shō, Chinese pipa, banjo, harmonium and electric crystal.

The recipients were selected from 150 nominations. Each receives up to $ 6,000, plus a studio recording session at ABC and broadcast of the completed recording on ABC Classic or ABC Jazz, as well as the commercial digital release of their work through ABC Music. .

Joe Gelonesi, Acting Content Manager for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz, said: “It was so nice to see an extraordinary range of creative responses from across the country.”

“The diversity of talent and the surprising selection of musical themes offered to the public through the $ 90,000 composers’ commission fund bodes well for the future of quality classical and jazz musical creation and underscores the vital role of music. ‘ABC in the discovery and development of new Australian music. “

The commission fund, first announced in April 2021, follows the 2020 Fresh Start Fund, which provided for the creation of 25 new Australian works across classical and jazz.

Read the full list of recipients here:


Brent Keogh – Six Dances for Plucked String Quartet of the World

Composer and world music expert Brent Keogh will create a dance suite using the techniques and sounds of various plucked string instruments. The ensemble, led by Keogh on Arabic Oud, will feature Chinese pipa player Marjorie Li, Fiona Horbach on classical mandolin and Werner Reucker on classical guitar.

Eric Avery – Biamanga

Emerging First Nations violinist and composer Eric Avery will compose a new quartet for two violins, cello and marimba, inspired by the idea of ​​a canoe that can sail upstream or downstream – containing information passed down from generation to generation. Biamanga will be performed by Avery on violin in collaboration with the artists of the Offspring Ensemble Claire Edwardes, Véronique Serret and Blair Harris.

Titjikala Women’s Choir – Kun-kunpa iti (Sleep Baby Sleep)

The Titjikala Womens’ Choir will work with Northern Territory singer / songwriter Nancy Bates and electric crystal pianist / player Gabriella Smart to compose two new songs that explore cross-cultural dialogue and spiritual communication. Songs Kun-kunpa iti (Sleep baby sleep) and Kamiku Tjukurpa (Grandmother’s Tjukurpa) will revolve around themes close to the women of Titjikala but universal to the entire creative team.

Christine Pan – Music for solo harp

Emerging harpist Kate Moloney will commission versatile emerging composer Christine Pan to commission a new work for harp. Pan creates colorful and dramatic scores for concert, film and performance music. This project will be the first ABC Classic for both artists.

Camille Barry and Thomas Green – Mothers Suite, Sweet Mothers

Violinist Camille Barry and composer-producer Thomas Green will collaborate to create a multi-movement work for violin and piano that emphasizes motherhood, parenthood and partnerships, drawing heavily on Barry’s personal experiences. Barry is a member of the famous Brisbane Camerata and leader of the Black Square Quartet. She will be accompanied by jazz pianist Kellee Green.

Heather Percy – Three Night Songs

Composer Heather Percy, Sydney Chamber Choir and Choir Artistic Director Sam Allchurch will collaborate on three pieces: In the evening, based on poems by Phyllis Wheatley, Sara Teasdale, Emma Lazarus and Christina Rossetti; the lullaby Holy Innocents, from a text by Christina Rossetti; and an ode to the night from an Australian perspective, based on a new text by emerging Melburnian poet Emilie Zoey Baker.

Elizabeth Younan – New work for contemporary baroque quartet

Composer Elizabeth Younan will draw on her Lebanese heritage to create this new suite of three dances for contemporary baroque quartet Croissants & Whiskey, with Miranda Hill on violin in G, Ryan Williams on recorder, Katie Yap on baroque viola and Joy Lee on the harpsichord.

Emily Sheppard – Woven

Tasmanian composer and musician Emily Sheppard and singer-songwriter Claire Anne Taylor will collaborate to weave classical, jazz, folk and blues modalities into compositions for a chamber ensemble. The ensemble is conducted by Sheppard on violin and viola and includes Taylor on vocals, guitar and banjo, Michael Kieran Harvey on organ, piano and harmonium, Danny Healy on clarinets and Aurora Heinrich on the double bass.

Henry Liang – Kaiko – Legend of the Mulberry Silkworm

Emerging singer-songwriter Henry Liang will compose and perform music for flute and shō, a free reed bamboo mouth organ from ancient Japan. Kaiko will be a four-movement piece depicting the life cycle of the mulberry silkworm.

Meta Cohen – Queer Singing Experience

Emerging choral group Divisi Chamber Singers, led by Alexander Gorbatov and collaborating pianist Coady Green, will commission emerging composer Meta Cohen to write a cycle of songs for vocal consort and piano, to celebrate the diversity of Australian LGBTIQ + experiences. The song cycle will feature newly commissioned lyrics from four young Australian LGBTQI + poets, Leona Cohen, Savanna Wegman, Christopher Healy and Victor Hu.


New music by Omid Shayan

By exploring the intersection of jazz and Iranian music, saxophonist and composer Omid Shayan aims to harness 3,000 years of musical history for a new audience. He will be joined by a jazz sextet made up of instrumentalists from Melbourne.

Ilaria Crociani – Connecting the Dots

Eight new vocal melodies will be composed for a project led by Ilaria Crociani, inspired by important Australian women in history. Crociani will be joined by a cast of Australian jazz voices, including pianist Tony Gould, guitarist Geoff Hughes and drummer Niko Schäuble.

Mark Ferguson – Where Emus Roam the Streets

Pianist Mark Ferguson will compose a new jazz album, inspired by the Northern Flinders Ranges on Adnymathanha country in South Australia. He will lead an ensemble of three emerging jazz musicians on various instrumentations to explore the personal, historical and natural aspects of this region of Australia.

Minnie Hill – A Journey Through Life

Composer Minnie Hill will create a five-part suite that reflects the arc of a person’s life. With influences from Maria Schneider to Nat Bartsch, Hill will lead a sextet of Melbourne musicians on this ‘journey through life’, each movement adapting and building on what came before it.

Rafael Karlen – Eucalyptus Treeo

Saxophonist and composer Rafael Karlen will collaborate with Hannah James and Steve Barry on a project that explores their mutual love for the Australian bush. Inspired by the changing history of Australia’s national parks, the group will present nine new compositions to the public, using the trio format of saxophone, bass and piano.

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