Queensland Conservatorium students have been given the opportunity to have work commissioned as part of the Silver Harris and Jeff Peck Composition Award.

The annual award is offered to a potential graduand from Bachelor of Music, Master of Music Studies or student majoring in Composition, for exceptional skill and promise in composition.

The most recent winner of the prize, Isabella Gerometta, has had her music performed both nationally and internationally by The Australian
Voices at Musica Viva, QSO Current and the Brisbane Powerhouse.

“I was the honoured recipient of the Queensland Conservatorium’s Silver Harris and Jeff Peck Composition Award, which takes the form of a commission. As part of this commission I was fortunate to write for the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and conductor Johannes Fritzsch,” Isabella said.

“For a young composer, getting a commission for symphony orchestra with a brief of ‘do with it what you please’ is a huge blessing–it meant that I could be as creative as I liked and broadcast myself to a really receptive audience of classical music lovers.

“This was also the first original orchestral piece I’ve ever had performed, so an exciting experience all around.

“Working with Johannes Fritzsch was an absolute pleasure. When composing you take risks, and some ideas work while others don’t. He was always incredibly supportive of my creativity in that regard and offered great solutions for things that didn’t suit the ensemble,” Isabella said.

Isabella’s commission piece, ‘Misadventure on a Childhood Tune,’ is her tribute to the first piece she ever learnt to play on the piano: Twinkle
Twinkle Little Star. Originally known as ‘Ah, vous dirai-je maman’, this melody has been the subject of interpretation for centuries by the likes of Camille Saint-Saëns, Franz Liszt, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart among others.

In Misadventure on a Childhood Tune the music is played backwards, inside-out with the note values reversed and with intervals sorted from smallest to largest amongst other transformations. The opening is a chaotic nebula–a cloud of space dust and the birth of our star–
on a chord made up of every interval in the tune stacked vertically on top of each other.

“Working on this piece was really special and I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to create it as part of winning the Composition Award,” Isabella said.

The future is bright for Isabella who also studies conducting and has directed performances of The Australian Voices at the Adelaide
Fringe Festival and QSO Current for the premiere of a Philip Glass arrangement conducted by Alondra de la Parra.

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