Named in honour of former Managing Director Nicholas Heyward, who lead the TSO for 17 years before his retirement in 2018, the prize recognises Heyward’s commitment to Australian composition which saw the TSO become internationally recognized for its performances and recordings of Australian music, including more than twenty ABC Classics recordings.
The competition was open to composers residing in Tasmania with the specified requirement that the orchestral work be bright and uplifting in character and between three and eight minutes in length. An anonymous selection process began in April 2019, with a panel of composers selecting works that were rehearsed by the TSO and conductor Benjamin Northey in a closed rehearsal last week.
Wayne Neilson is a Tasmanian-based freelance composer, orchestrator, arranger and music educator. His song cycle
Of Fire and Ice, based on poems from 3 Australian poets for Soprano and Piano, was premiered at the Canberra School of Music. Neilson composes cinematic orchestral music that is highly emotive and evocative, collaborating with artists and poets. Neilson’s work FromValley to Summit,which the composer describes as a ‘sonic story’ based on the poem of the same name by Lee Eggleston, was voted the winning entry.
In addition to a cash prize of $3000, Wayne’s composition will be recorded by the TSO and performed in a coming season by the TSO and will be recorded by the TSO.