Composition Project

Community Event

Thursday 13 June, 6pm | Perth Concert Hall

Perth Concert Hall

West Australian Symphony Orchestra respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and Elders of Country throughout Western Australia, and the Whadjuk Noongar people on whose lands we work and share music.

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The WASO Composition Project is a much-needed platform for aspiring composers. It is an important step towards a professional career. For many, this will be the first time they have heard their music performed by a professional ensemble.

Tonight, you will hear four extremely diverse and exceptionally well-crafted compositions for chamber orchestra. Over a three-month period, the composers have had three day-long workshops with the WASO ensemble. The composers worked with the musicians, as well as librarians and administrators, to gain insight into instrumental technique, score preparation and orchestral life.

I know that it is an incredibly rewarding and somewhat daunting experience for the composers as they hear their works performed for the first time in front of an audience. It is an experience worth a thousand orchestration lessons!

James Ledger


Composition Project

Joonwoo KIM When Snow Blossoms

Amy SKELLERN Duality

Otto GIBBS Merlion Premonitions

Sahil SIDHU The Dream of 1899

James Ledger artistic director/conductor

This concert does not contain an interval.

About Composition Project

WASO’s Composition Project offers young and emerging Western Australian composers the opportunity to develop their skills in a professional environment. Through a series of individual lessons, workshops and rehearsals, participants will compose a new work for a 14-piece chamber ensemble, performed by WASO musicians in front of a live audience at Perth Concert Hall. Participants are mentored both by James Ledger (Artistic Director), Olivia Davies (WASO Composer-in-Residence) and WASO musicians.

The winner will have the opportunity to compose a new 3-minute piece of music for WASO’s mainstage education concert in 2025.

Composition Project is supported by Bendat Family Foundation.

WASO On Stage

About the Artists

Joonwoo Kim

Amy Skellern

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Amy Skellern is a nineteen-year-old composer, currently in her second year of studying a Bachelor of Music at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Since the age of eight, Amy has had a passion for composing whenever given the chance. Her musical education at Churchlands Senior High School exposed her to various genres such as Classical, Jazz, and Modern, which have all influenced Amy’s compositional style. By the age of seventeen, Amy was fortunate to have her piece Fanfare Villainous premiered in Elder Hall, performed by Adelaide Youth Orchestra. At age eighteen, her orchestral composition Sunrise on Saturn was premiered with a2. Orchestra in Perth’s Government House Ballroom.

Amy writes programmatically, with storytelling an important aspect to her compositions. Her works tend to use dark imagery to develop a tense and unsettling atmosphere. She’s heavily inspired by late Romantic and Modern works, particularly Stravinsky, Messiaen, John Adams, and Debussy.

Otto Gibbs

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Described as “a truly imaginative, thoughtful and special musician” by his late mentor, Richard Gill AO, Otto Gibbs is a fascinating emerging talent in the realm of Australian art music. Otto is in the second year of studying a Bachelor of Music at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and has already garnered several impressive achievements. In his first year of study, he won WAAPA’s 2023 Royal Overseas League Orchestral Composition Prize with his work Rhapsodie pour l’amour oublié, which was premiered under the baton of Jessica Gethin. He also co-scored Juno Shean’s short film, The Ways We Cook, which won the NextGen Youth Prize at the 2023 Best Australian Short Film awards.

This year, in addition to participating in WASO’s 2024 Composition Project, Gibbs was commissioned by Swedish percussionist and photographer Tomas Björn, to write a miniature for solo vibraphone. The resultant work, Helheim, has its Australian premiere in June 2024, and will make its European premiere soon afterwards. Otto has also been awarded the New Colombo Plan’s prestigious 2024 Singapore Fellowship, and will undertake exchange study at Singapore’s LASALLE College of the Arts, starting in August 2024.

Sahil Sidhu

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Sahil was born in Kuala Lumpur and spent the first thirteen years of his life there. As an eight or nine-year-old, he developed a profound love for music upon hearing Mozart’s 38th Symphony for the first time. Listening to music soon became his favourite pastime, often conducting an imaginary orchestra with the same fervour as someone trying to scrape burnt egg from the bottom of a pan.

Sahil's true compositional journey began in Australia, although there were early improvisations when he was ten or eleven. These early attempts were mostly tolerated, except for one instance when a listener remarked that it sounded like a baby crawling across the piano. However, it was in high school that Sahil's musical journey underwent a significant transformation, as he began to experiment with combining jarring styles in different ways.

After rigorous study of composition in high school, Sahil continued his education under the tutelage of Dr James Ledger at the University of Western Australia (UWA). Now in his third year of composition at UWA, he is excited and honoured by every opportunity to learn more about the craft.

In addition to writing music, Sahil enjoys writing stories and poetry, and experimenting with language.

About the Music

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