The Little Gecko

Julian Yu was born in 1957 in Beijing, China and moved to Australia in 1985. Julian studied composition at the Central Conservatory in China and later joined the teaching staff there. In 1982 Julian travelled to Japan to study at the Tokyo College of Music. In 1988 he studied in the USA as Composition Fellow at Tanglewood, where he was awarded the Koussevitzky Tanglewood Composition Prize for that year. Julian has received numerous international awards and prizes for his compositions, and his works have been performed four times at ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) World Music Days. Julian has been commissioned to write works for Festivals around the world as well as works for both Australian orchestras and orchestras abroad.

Julian moved to Australia in 1985 and The Little Gecko combines a folk tale from his childhood in China with the native animals of his new home. Marion Gray, Julian’s wife, came across the story in a Chinese book that she was using for reading practice. When the Sydney Symphony Orchestra invited Julian to write a narrated work for Australian children in 2000, Marion and Julian adapted the original text by substituting Australian animals for the Chinese animals. Julian then assigned an instrument of the orchestra to represent each animal, with the xylophone representing the gecko as it runs up and down very quickly. Julian lives in Melbourne where he is a free-lance composer. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

The Little Gecko was recorded by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for ABC Classic in January 2020, with Tasmanian actor Bryony Geeves as narrator and TSO Principal Percussionist Gary Wain on xylophone.

Worksheet for Primary classrooms

Step 1. Watch the video to meet a Live Music Producer

Step 2. Listen to the TSO recording of The Little Gecko

Step 3. Answer 10 questions

Step 4. Download a Word Search