Winner of the 2024 Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship Announced!

Alex Turley 2
Alex Turley, composer

We are delighted to announce composer, Alex Turley as the winner of the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship for 2024.

“I am honoured to be the 2024 Layton Emerging Composer Fellow. This is a valuable chance for me to refine my craft by writing for some of Australia's most accomplished chamber musicians. This Fellowship, now in its sixth year, has fostered the creation of a substantial body of contemporary music from emerging voices, and I am excited to be able to contribute to that legacy.”

The Australia Ensemble UNSW aims to foster greater engagement in and recognition of composition and chamber music activities at UNSW. Support from Emeritus Professor Roger Layton AM and Merrilyn Layton has facilitated a UNSW composition fellowship to again be offered valued at $10,000 for one year, for an Emerging Composer to write chamber music works as part of the Australia Ensemble’s artistic development program.

Applicants were required to submit a portfolio of scores of at least three pieces of music, showcasing two of which must be purely instrumental (i.e., no voices), one of which must be for chamber ensemble (up to 6 players), and one of which must be from the last three years; with audio material supporting the portfolio of submitted music scores. Applications were assessed in terms of their musical creativity, originality, and personality, and the demonstration of a high level of craft, technical competence, care, and professionalism in the presentation of Scores in the portfolio.

The fellowship attracted a diverse range of applications, all characterized by a notably high standard of composition.

The adjudication panel declared “Alex Turley, submitted an outstanding portfolio of compositions which displayed his clear skill in creating exciting contemporary chamber music which is virtuosic, well-crafted, imaginative and suitable for the players of the Australia Ensemble UNSW. His submission displayed a thorough knowledge of composing for a mixed ensemble – ie combination of winds, strings and piano which included careful consideration of well-balanced textures. While there were many excellent submissions, Alex Turley’s was a clear standout. Alex Turley’s effective and idiomatic writing for the gamut of orchestral instruments translated evocative concepts, such as breath and the refraction of light, into a focussed expression of musical ideas ranging from pulsating energy to contemplative stasis."

The panel congratulates Alex on being the 2024 Layton Fellow. Australia Ensemble UNSW looks forward to working with Alex on new music that he will create as part of this prestigious fellowship.


About Alex Turley

Composer and collaborative artist Alex Turley is one of Australia’s busiest young stars. Lauded as “bold and virtuosic, taking compositional corners with ease” (Limelight) and “brilliantly accessible” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), his music treads along the fine line between the experimental and the familiar, weaving old and new styles together in a way that is satisfying for performers and listeners alike. Alex was the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's 2022 Young Composer-in-Residence and in 2023 he was awarded a highly competitive Creative and Performance Leadership Fellowship from the Forrest Research Foundation.

Known for projects that cross genre boundaries, Alex recently co-composed Barra-roddjiba with members of all-woman rock band Ripple Effect and Kunibídji elders (lauded by Limelight as an "innovative cross-cultural performance") as well as Agam, a 50-minute orchestral suite with Carnatic music collective Sangam which premiered with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. He is a frequent and prolific arranger for the major Australian orchestras and has recently worked in this capacity with a diverse group of artists including Ali McGregor, Ben Folds, Electric Fields, Emma Donovan, Eskimo Joe, Genesis Owusu, the Hoodoo Gurus, Ngaiire, Paul Grabowsky and Rüfüs Du Sol. 

Alex holds a Master of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium, where he received the Henderson Postgraduate Award. He has also recently been shortlisted for the APRA AMCOS Professional Development Awards, and in 2021 won the Arcadia Winds Composition Prize.