21 January 2010

Aspiring Sydney composer Peter McNamara is leading the charge of a sequence of young composers as part of one of the biggest music development programs in Australian history.

McNamara, 30, of Campbelltown, is the inaugural winner of the 101 Compositions Competition - anintegral part of The Con's 101 Compositions for 100 Years project, which is commissioning new works nationally and internationally every year through to the Conservatorium's centenary year of 2015.

His composition for cello and piano, Duo-Charged, was selected from entries received from undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary students studying in Australia and will now be added to the official collection of 101 compositions.

"This is a very special honour and I'm still coming to grips with the reality that my work will be counted among the 101 project's final list of works spanning many of the world's greatest contemporary composers," commented Peter, who is currently in his final year of a PhD at the Conservatorium.

"I thought having my composition Sound Clouds performed at the official opening of the new Con building in 2001 was magical, but this win is just incredible."

McNamara receives a cash award of $2,000 and Duo-Charged will be premiered at the ISCM World New Music Days Festival - the globe's most prestigious contemporary classical music event - in Sydney in May.

The work is scheduled to be performed by leading musicians David Pereira (cello) and Timothy Young (piano). It will also be broadcast on ABC Classic FM.

The 101 Compositions for 100 Years scheme was initiated in 2008 by the Dean and Principal of The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Professor Kim Walker, and the project's patron and founder of Ars Musica Australis, Rev Dr Arthur Bridge.

Renowned Australian composer Associate Professor Matthew Hindson, one of the competition judges and Chair of Arts Music at The Con, said: "The judges were impressed with the standard of entries, which demonstrated a variety of approaches in writing for cello and piano.

"McNamara's work stood out for its thoughtful and innovative use of musical material, as well as being particularly well written for the cello."

McNamara, who holds twin degrees in music, has won a range of significant awards over the past 10 years, including the Doris Burnett Ford Scholarship and the Elaine McGaghem Scholarship, and was the inaugural composer-in-residence at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in 2006.

His works have been performed by major orchestras and ensembles in Australia and overseas.

He is currently writing a piece for The Con's Modern Music Ensemble and a number of his previous works will be featured in concerts in Tokyo later this year.

"The 101 Compositions Competition was instigated to broaden the involvement of young music scholars, in what is a project of meaning and significance for Australian and world music," said Professor Walker.

"The initial 2009 competition triggered a strong response from tertiary students and augurs well for a growing stream of quality works for adding to the overall scheme's treasure trove year on year through to 2015."

Contact: Scott Saunders

Phone: 02 9351 1298

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