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Cybec Showcase 2021: 21st Century Australian Composers' Program

Since the Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers’ Program was introduced in 2003, more than 60 of Australia’s brightest young composers have had works commission and performed by the MSO. In this 2021 showcase, hear works by Alexander Voltz, Sam Wu, Georgia Scott, and Alex Turley, all conducted by leading Australian conductor, speaker, and broadcaster, Graham Abbott. Alexander Voltz’s music takes inspiration from myth, politics, and the historic, so it is fitting that his work Capital Hill encapsulates this so well: a statement on populism, the influence of America, and Australia’s socio-political landscape. Throughout the work, Alexander quotes a range of nationalistic musical references, folding them into his own unique musical style, creating music at times dramatic, at times subtle, but in his own words’ music of “craft and complexity… but not alienating”. Inspired by Shanghai’s metro system, Sam Wu’s Mass Transit is envisioned as a musical voyage; although each movement explores a different facet of the system, the audience is taken on a journey where the train stops briefly to take in the sights before resuming onwards. In the composers’ words though “beyond the idea of what the music is depicting… I hope to emotionally move the audience”. At its heart this music possesses exactly that, an elegance of design and carefully distilled emotion. Exploring the dichotomies of man and machine, waking and sleep, Georgia Scott’s Mechanical Dreamscapes captures the discomfort of these thresholds with incisive, rhythmic, and driving musical intent. Spring boarding from the concept of teaching AI to dream and the gradual fusion of human and machine, in particular quotes by Minsoo Kang and Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, the composer aims to “tell a story around topics that might be hard to express in language”. Alex Turley’s work In a Dream, Falling, explores the kaleidoscope of emotion from not only a time of global anxiety and uncertainty, but also recurring dream of the composer falling from space to Earth. From the first notes this creative impetus is evident, eventually morphing these rolling waves of sound into a lush soundscape: “I like giving [audiences] things that feel familiar and mixing those with things that feel unfamiliar… I feel that is how you take people on a journey”. FEATURING Graham Abbott, conductor PROGRAM ALEXANDER VOLTZ Capital Hill SAM WU Mass Transit GEORGIA SCOTT Mechanical Dreamscapes ALEX TURLEY In a Dream, Falling MSO’s Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers’ Program has been made possible each year thanks to the generous support of the Cybec Foundation. The program selects participants to be mentored by leading composers across Australia, and each participant is commissioned to write a 10m work performed at the annual showcase. Following this showcase, Alex Turley was chosen to be the MSO’s Cybec Young Composer in Residence for 2022, a position also generously funded by the Cybec Foundation.

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