The SSO announces a major commissioning project supporting the future of Australian music

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has today announced a major commissioning project – 50 Fanfares – a multi-season initiative which will see the Sydney Symphony commission and present the world premieres of new music by 50 Australian composers.

The SSO announces a major commissioning project supporting the future of Australian music


The project has been designed to represent a broad range of Australian voices and music styles, and composers were selected on recommendations received from a national nominations panel of 100 musicians, artists, educators and culture industry leaders across Australia over the past year.

Below are the 50 composers who will bring this project to life:

Katy Abbott, VIC, Andrew Aronowicz, VIC, Michael Bakrnčev, VIC,William Barton, QLD, Paul-Antoni Bonetti, SA, Lyle Chan, NSW,Alice Chance, NSW, Chloé Charody, NSW, Deborah Cheetham, VIC,Connor d’Netto, QLD,Melody Eötvös, VIC, Mary Finsterer, TAS, William Gardiner, SA, Brenda Gifford, NSW, Iain Grandage, WA, Maria Grenfell, TAS, Gordon Hamilton, NSW, Holly Harrison, NSW,James Henry, VIC, Matthew Hindson, NSW, Mark Holdsworth, WA, Andrew Howes, NSW, Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, VIC, Elena Kats-Chernin, NSW, David John Lang, SA, Liza Lim, NSW, Ella Macens, NSW, Cathy Milliken, SA, Jordan Moore, WA, Kate Moore, ACT, Natalie Nicolas, NSW, Kate Neal, Vic, Peggy Polias, NSW, Christopher Sainsbury, NSW, Georgia Scott, NSW, Harry Sdraulig, NSW, Lachlan Skipworth, WA, Paul Stanhope, NSW, Luke Styles, NSW, Joseph Tawadros, NSW, Louisa Trewartha, VIC, Alex Turley, NSW, Joseph Twist, QLD, Bree van Reyk, NSW, Carl Vine, NSW, Jessica Wells, NSW, Natalie Williams, SA, Elizabeth Younan, NSW, Miriama Young, VIC, Julian Yu, VIC

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Chief Executive Officer Emma Dunch said: “We are delighted to announce both the 50 Fanfares project and the composers who have wonderfully agreed to be a part of this initiative. We are grateful to the national nominations panellists who together recommended more than 230 composers for commissions varying from short fanfares and chamber works to longer compositions for full symphony orchestra.

“Australia’s composers and musicians play an essential role in giving our nation a musical voice and affirming Australia’s creative position in the world. Each of the 50 composers – emerging, established and from across many musical styles and art forms – is proof of the exceptional talent that we have in this country. Collectively, these composers are important voices shaping our musical life, now and in the future.

“As a leadership organisation, an important part of the Sydney Symphony’s role is to open doors and create new opportunities in orchestral music. For that reason, we are particularly excited that many of those selected are young and emerging composers — this project will bring their talents to the attention of the global music community and boost their profile even as they continue to hone their craft.

“And we have also deliberately structured our commissions so that many of the works will be suitable for performance by youth orchestras, community orchestras, school orchestras, brass bands and universities internationally. Our goal is to renew the contemporary Australian repertoire and make it available internationally, ensuring that the works we commission will receive many subsequent performances by other ensembles around the world, too, in the coming years.”

The 50 Fanfares project extends the Sydney Symphony’s historical commitment to developing young artists. 2021 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Sydney Symphony’s internationally acclaimed Sydney Symphony Fellowship training program for professional orchestral musicians and its graduates perform in professional orchestras around the world. The 50 Fanfares extends a similar level of large-scale institutional commitment over several years to Australia’s composers. The Sydney Symphony is funding the 50 Fanfares project entirely through philanthropic support.

Sydney Symphony Director of Artistic Planning Raff Wilson said: “50 Fanfares is a major commissioning project that reaffirms the phenomenal talent that we have all across Australia. These composers are among those voices who will take Australian music and orchestral music forward over the coming years and we are proud to support them.

“The commissioned composers are from across multiple generations. Many of them are in the early stages of their careers as artists, representing many different styles of music and approaches to live performances. For many, this will be their first commission from a symphony orchestra. This project will be a unique portrait of the state of our musical nation, and its future direction.”

Simone Young AM, who will assume the role of Chief Conductor in 2022 added: “The Sydney Symphony Orchestra is the nation’s foremost orchestra and it is inspiring for me to join a leadership organisation that is so passionately committed to the future of Australian music.

“The landscape of Australian music is wonderfully rich and diverse – there are so many talented Australian composers working here and overseas. In the coming years, this initiative will give more Australians the chance to experience and be moved by their music.

“This is an evolving, visionary project and many of the works will be performed in my first year as Chief Conductor in 2022. This will mark the start of a new dialogue between our composers and our Orchestra.”

The first of the 50 works to be performed will be by First Nation composer Christopher Sainsbury as part of the Sydney Symphony’s A Global Ode to Joy project at the Sydney Town Hall (7-9 August 2020) which will reimagine Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the baton of Marin Alsop.

The 50 Fanfares will be progressively performed over 2020, 2021, and 2022, and reach a broad audience by being included in mainstage concerts, regional tours, and in school education programs. Premieres will culminate in 2022 when the Sydney Symphony returns to its home at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. The Sydney Opera House Concert Hall is currently undergoing a two-year program of construction and acoustic renewal.

The Sydney Symphony plans to record and release all 50 commissions and partner with an international music publisher to publish the orchestral scores for international orchestra use.

Visit the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 50 Fanfares website for more on the project and the composers.