Music student hits right notes in international competition

Cabbages and Kings

A music student from the University of Western Sydney has won first prize in a prestigious composition competition in Amsterdam, placing her at the forefront of emerging composers on the international circuit.

Doctoral student Holly Harrison, from the UWS School of Humanities and Communication Arts, was chosen ahead of 15 international composers at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting for her piece Cabbages and Kings.

The winning entry is a type of rock-opera, and like all of Ms Harrison's compositions is inspired by the literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.

The award means Ms Harrison will now be commissioned by the Orkest de Ereprijs, the Netherlands leading ensemble for new music, to write a piece to be performed throughout their concert season next year.

"I was extremely shocked when my name was read out as the winner, but of course it was an incredibly exciting moment for me and will make a big difference in my career," says Ms Harrison.

"Winning a prize such as this is an amazing break for an Australian composer, as it will really help promote my work across Europe, as the Orkest de Ereprijs is one of the most respected ensembles in Europe."

Ms Harrison is currently studying a Doctorate of Creative Arts in Composition under the supervision of Dr Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao.

"This is an amazing achievement that shows the fusion of vernacular and intellectual traditions in Holly's composition, which has a strong international currency," says Dr Bruce Crossman.

"It also shows the strength of the UWS Music program, and its eclectic and vibrant nature."

Ms Harrison graduated from the Bachelor of Music program with the University Medal for outstanding academic achievement and was the recipient of an Australia Postgraduate Award, three APRA Composition Awards, and the Marianne Rosenberg Musicology Prize. 

Her music has been performed by leading orchestras and ensembles in Australia, Asia, Europe and the USA.


5 March 2014

Contact: Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer

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