In The Can With Willgoss
Week 6 is Flex week at UNSW – a time for students to catch up, take a step back, revise and breathe. The spirit of this week didn’t deter our community ensemble members from wholeheartedly participating in three exciting recording projects. We took this opportunity to record several UNSW prized Australian works, all that have been awaiting their premiere due to COVID-19 performance cancellations. The works were selected from the growing collection of Willgoss Composition prized works, supported by Dr Richard Willgoss and his wife Sue since 2016, to inspire and encourage composers of the highest standard, with a focus on creativity and excellence.
In 2022, the Willgosses extended their support, generously offering to fund a recording project to capture some of these important works.
Many subscribers would be accustomed to hearing about Australian new work being celebrated at UNSW through the Layton commissioning program of the Australia Ensemble UNSW. In the same way, we wanted to record this new music and acknowledge Richard and Sue’s considerable contribution and legacy to the development of new music and the Australian music scene.
Across three days, we transformed Leighton Hall into our very own Abbey Road recording studio, capturing student musicians as they premiered four new Australian works backed by world-class sound engineer Jonathan Palmer together with UNSW’s Educational Media team.
With many moving parts, it was an extremely busy few days on campus for the team at the MPU, working with the Burgundian Consort, strings of the UNSW Orchestra, and brass and percussion of the UNSW Wind Symphony. We saw 70 musicians come and go, held 8 interviews with 4 composers, donors and conductors, engaged 6 piano removalists, 3 videographers, and a sound engineer – with the outcome proving incredibly rewarding for all involved!
Projects like this emphasise UNSW’s continued and important role in facilitating opportunities to spotlight and support the creation of new Australian music and emerging composers. The MPU is delighted to play its part and to contribute to Richard and Sue’s vision. We look forward to digitally releasing these recordings of Australian composers Michael Grebla, Oliver Cameron, Philip Eames and Elizabeth Younan later in the year.