Woman playing violin

'Intriguing work' wins music prize

10 May 2019
Sue W Chamber Music Composition Award winner announced
As part of an initiative to support female composers, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney is delighted to announce the winner of the 2019 prize.

Without any further ado, the winner of the 2019 Sue W Chamber Music Composition Prize is Melbourne-based composer Samantha Wolf for her composition Want Not.

"Want Not is an intriguing work taking a sensual, tactile approach to sound that imaginatively responds to a challenging social and environmental issue,” said the chair of the judging panel, Professor Liza Lim.

“There is precise control of pacing, density, speed and gesture to reimagine a ‘life of objects’ that goes beyond effects. The composer builds coherent relationships between elements to create a fresh and expressive aesthetic language.”

Samantha Wolf’s interests include exploring "found sounds", particularly those generated from objects that have been discarded or damaged or are unused. Want Not's suprising sound palette includes kitchen tiles, gum packets, fruit bowls, plastic forks, old music boxes, empty wine bottles and bulldog clips, alongside the traditional instruments of piccolo, piano/toy piano, percussion and cello.

The Sue W Composition Prize, valued at $7000, is open to all women composers throughout Australia. The winning work will also be programmed in the Conservatorium’s Modern Music Ensemble season.

Samantha Wolf was delighted to be selected for the award.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Sue W Chamber Composition Prize for 2019,” she said. “I am especially delighted that Want Not, a work that is very special to me, was chosen as the winning piece.

“Any initiative that addresses the gender imbalance in music composition is both welcome and needed, and I commend the Sydney Conservatorium of Music for taking such a decisive step to combat this persistent issue. My sincerest gratitude to the sponsors, Sue and Richard Willgoss, the University of Sydney, and the judging panel for this great honour.

“Gemma, Jacob, Kaylie and Tamara are the greatest collaborators any composer could hope for, and I share this prize with them."

The Sue W Chamber Music Composition Prize is made possible through a generous gift from Mrs Sue Willgoss and Associate Professor Richard Willgoss, who support creative art music composition in Australia. This award makes an invaluable contribution to the nation’s musical landscape.