Young artists emerge from composer cocoon

Composition Project is one of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s most enduring and successful programs, providing young and emerging Western Australian composers with the opportunity to develop their skills in a professional orchestral environment.

Young artists emerge from composer cocoon


The flagship program of WASO’s Young & Emerging Artists portfolio, now in its eleventh year, Composition Project provides invaluable experience for participants who continue on to some of the most prestigious composition programs nationally and internationally – within orchestral and new music organisations, as well as educational institutions.

2019 participants Maddie Ivy, Simon Kruit, Tim Newhouse and Nate Wood have been mentored over a four month period by the program’s Artistic Director James Ledger and WASO musicians.

“The Composition Project is a highly stimulating and much-needed platform for emerging composers to write for a professional ensemble. The applicants have composed, tweaked and re-tweaked their works. The end result is a collection of five extremely diverse and exceptionally well-crafted compositions.”– James Ledger, Artistic Director

Through a series of individual lessons, workshops and rehearsals, participants compose a new work for 14-piece chamber ensemble that culminated in the Final Showing performance at Hale School in June, where each participant’s composition was brought to life by WASO musicians in front of a live audience as part of Education Week+ 2019.

WASO’s Assistant Concertmaster Semra Lee-Smith has been involved with the project since its inception and has seen the ongoing value of the learning opportunity for the participants.

“The Composition Project gives the students a good idea of industry expectations helping them present more professionally.We talk a lot about the practicalities of writing for professional musicians - basics like page turn logistics, how big/small a font to use and how much time we need to grab a mute - they may seem like small things but when given due consideration, can really endear you to the people performing your music!”

For Maddie Ivy, the opportunity to be a part of the project is a dream come true,“Having a piece of mine come to life with WASO has been a great experience for me as it means that I have been able to learn from those who have worlds more knowledge and experience than I do.” 

While the Final Showing is a rewarding conclusion for all, the entire process is one Simon Kruit won’t forget,“It’s a great learning experience; the length of the project, James Ledger's mentorship, and the level of interactivity with the players allows you to experiment with musical ideas along the way and gain an understanding of a professional musician's expectations and approaches.”


Artist Development, News