9 July 2010

Three students from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music have agreed to be thrown in the "deep end" of public performance - concerts on the international stage.

Tegan McWilliam, Simon Watts and Louise Peake - all inner City residents - will join one of Australia's most accomplished woodwind practitioners, Dr Michael Duke, on a whirlwind tour to China for a series of gigs at the Shanghai World Expo.

The Saxophone Quartet will take part in 15 concerts in seven days, eight of those in the Australian Pavilion.

It is the first time the trio - Tegan is a fourth year student and Simon and Louise are in the second year of a degree - have played together overseas.

All the works they will perform are by Australian composers.

"It is a big step-up for the quartet but nothing like being thrown in the deep end on venue and repertoire to make a difference," said Dr Duke, who established the Saxophone Quartet in 2008 after joining The Con in the first full-time classical saxophone teaching position in an Australian university.

"It will be a great experience and a challenge that will bring out the very best and underscore the brilliance of young Australian musicians."

The quartet got a taste of playing to global audiences in May when it performed Irish composer Jane O'Leary's Riverrun in Sydney at the ISCM World New Music Days festival, the biggest contemporary music event in the world.

Joining the quartet in Shanghai is the Con's Percussion Ensemble, directed by Daryl Pratt, the Chair of the Percussion Unit.

"We are very proud to have our students performing at such a magnificent event, and I congratulate all the students for their hard work and enthusiasm surrounding their selection," commented Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker.

"The input of Michael Duke and Daryl Pratt is just stunning."

In another coup, Con PhD candidate Terence Yapp has claimed one of Europe's major music composition awards for his work View of the Son from the Father's Eye.

Yapp's entry in the annual Contemporary Sacred Music competition bettered 45 compositions from Europe, USA and Australia, and will be premiered on 16 July in the German state of Baden-Wurttemburg.

"This is a marvelous achievement in a distinguished award and our heartiest congratulations go out to Terence," commented Professor Walker. "We would love to schedule the work in our forthcoming programs in Sydney."

The composition is for baritone saxophone, flute, tenor saxophone, violin and cello.

The jury commended its artistic approach and commented: "It is based on the situation and problems of the biblical text , the reconciliation between father and son. The piece is designed sonically subtle and makes a convincing emotional reception."

Sydney-born Yapp says the work "is dedicated to the musical sound space, the idea of expansion and contraction. Advanced playing techniques enable the different overtones and colours tab to bring into play the instruments , which overlap each other and exchange."

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 3e1917207d43143a00313f04290309252c2d5e21481b572a1740161d