Meet the four young composers from this year’s AYO National Music Camp!

Each year, AYO National Music Camp offers aspiring composers the opportunity to work with a leading professional in the field of composition. Over two short weeks this January, these young musicians produced an original piece of music under the guidance of Australian composer Gerard Brophy.

One thing that was evident about this year’s group of composers was the strong sense of individuality each of them brought to the table. As a result, their audience was treated to a diverse and intriguing selection of works, each of them with entirely differing thought processes and themes of inspiration.

5 composers with stage background

Kym Dillon

One of the aspects of AYO National Music Camp that Kym most enjoyed was being able to work closely alongside performers during the creative process. Discussing the capabilities of each individual instrument with its owner in a relaxed working environment allowed him to broaden his understanding of specific instrumental techniques. Kym took this knowledge and applied it to his new piece, Moto Perpetuo, which explores the idea of the ceaseless activity that is all around us every day. This composition takes the audience on a journey through three contrasting scenes; yet each of them is seamlessly linked by a torrent of driving semiquavers, representing the relentless way we often find ourselves travelling through life.

Michael Grebla

Although he hails from WA, Michael came to National Music Camp this year from Boston, where he is currently studying at the New England Conservatory. One of the attractive aspects of camp, for Michael, was the opportunity to reconnect with the Australian music scene. Michael created his Chamber Symphony under the mentorship of composer Gerard Brophy and found that his guidance helped him to shape the work from its conceptual stages to a final product. The piece focuses greatly upon the idea of virtuosity, and Michael has written passages that aptly display the skill of his performers. The work also challenges the recognized concepts of melody and harmony and blurs the lines between the horizontal and vertical nature of the two.

Christopher Pantelidis

For Christopher, one of the attractions of AYO National Music Camp lay in the rare chance to spend an uninterrupted block of time creating music, without the inevitable distractions that come with everyday life. He approached his new work very mathematically; from the two-week duration he was given for its creation down to the careful planning of the piece’s structure. 136199 Eris is a musical representation of the dwarf planet of the same name, fondly known as simply “Eris”. Christopher explores themes of isolation, remoteness and strife in this musical depiction of a distant world, resulting in a rather eerie and intriguing work of art.

Sarah Elise Thompson

Sarah is in her final year at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and brought along to camp her witty personality and determination to experiment with new musical ideas. The most appealing part of coming along to camp, for Sarah, was the incentive of being able to work alongside some of the industry’s leading performers during the creation process. The result of her two-week stint at camp was Flint, a composition based upon a poem by English poet Christina Rossetti. The poem tells of the beauty of precious stones, and yet how, whilst they are beautiful, they do not possess the fire and passion of flint, albeit less pleasing to the eye.