Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Music Centre are delighted to announce the winners of the three MOMENTUM III - Sue W COVID-19 Special Commissions, generously sponsored by Mrs Sue Willgoss and Associate Professor Richard Willgoss. The three artists to receive a $3,200 commission each are Anne Cawrse, Nicole Murphy and Elizabeth Younan. The commission will enable these artists to compose a new musical work, and have it performed and recorded on video for an online concert presentation of all three works in 2021.
The judging process was challenging due to many high-quality proposals received by the deadline, but ultimately the three artists emerged as winners due to the strength of their applications and their original vision for the commissions. The panel consisted of Dr. Natalie Williams, Dr. Narelle Yeo, Paul Mason and Professor Matthew Hindson, chaired by Richard Willgoss.
South Australian composer Anne Cawrse's proposal is for a new work, Grounded, for cello and guitar, for performance by Sharon and Slava Grigoryan. The work will be a celebration of rediscovering simplicity and home in the time of COVID-19. "Infused with joy and a lightness of spirit, it will celebrate the rediscovering of ourselves and the things we hold most precious. Grounded will be a gift to Slava, Sharon and their little boy Seb, and for anyone who has unexpectedly regained a part of themselves in these strangest of times", Cawrse described her project. '"For me, 2020 has been full of contradictions, surprises, and unexpected joys; I am delighted to have this wonderful opportunity to reflect upon and give musical voice to my experience of this most unforgettable of years", she said.
Brisbane-based Nicole Murphy's commission will take the shape of a 5-6-minute work for piano duo, inspired by Zadie Smith's essay collection, Intimations. Smith's essays present fragmented glimpses into life during the pandemic. "The writing moves swiftly between settings, observations and opinions, never quite settling with any certainty. These swift changes that present both moments of optimism and pessimism reflect the uncertainty and fluidity of current times", Murphy said. Both practical and artistic reasons informed the choice of instrumentation - artistically, the two pianos will represent the plurality of ideas in Smith's essays. '"I'm delighted to have the opportunity to reflect on and respond to such a unique time in history", the composer commented.
An Australian composer of Lebanese heritage, and a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Composing Women program, Elizabeth Younan, will write a duo for violinist Anna Da Silva Chen and pianist Vatche Jambazian, in response to Kahlil Gibran's 'On Joy and Sorrow' from his seminal 1923 book, The Prophet. The work aims to bring a voice to the composer's own reflections during the COVID-19 era, and shine a light on Australians' shared multiculturalism. "MOMENTUM Commission will allow me to capture the struggle of today's global crisis whilst offering hope - seen, perhaps, in the very act of fruitful collaboration itself", Younan said.