The TSO Australian Composers’ School is a unique opportunity to develop orchestral composition skills with one of Australia’s foremost symphony orchestras. This exciting program is an integral part of the TSO’s Australian Music Program.

Building on the success of past schools, the TSO is for the first time providing a two-year program aimed at identifying and preparing composers on the cusp of their professional careers as orchestral composers suitable for possible commission opportunities from professional orchestras upon graduation.

Participating composers are working closely with Director Matthew Hindson over a two-year period, spending a week in Tasmania each year to attend workshops with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.  Over the course of two years, participants will each write a ‘calling card’/fanfare-style work (2018), an original orchestral composition (2018), a work for orchestral instrument soloist and orchestra (2019) and two song arrangements (2019).

The four composers participating in the 2018-19 TSO Australian Composers’ School are Holly Harrison, Mark Holdsworth, Ella Macens and Harry Sdraulig.

TSO Australian Composers’ School staff are Director – Matthew Hindson, Conductor – Elena Schwarz, Tutor – Natalie Williams (2018), Tutor – Paul Stanhope (2019), Tutor – Jessica Wells (2019).

Composers will be joined by seven Singer/Songwriters from the Sydney University Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the University of Tasmania Conservatorium of Music.

Holly Harrison

Holly Harrison

Holly Harrison is a young Australian composer from Western Sydney. Holly’s music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.

Holly’s recent work Lobster Tales and Turtle Soup featured on Eighth Blackbird’s (USA) Australian tour as part of Musica Viva’s 2017 International Concert Season. The tour included performances by the four-time Grammy award-winning group at Perth International Arts Festival and Adelaide Festival. Holly has recently completed a piece for shakuhachi legend Riley Lee and Enigma Quartet, as part of their Five Elements Project, and is currently writing the required string quartet work for the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition. Upcoming projects include a concertino for bassoon and string quartet for Matthew Kneale (2017 Freedman Classical Fellowship winner) and Omega Ensemble, a sextet for Sydney new music champions Ensemble Offspring, and a work for Brisbane-based Kupka’s Piano.

Holly was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, for her work Cabbages and Kings. She received the Australia and Pacific Prize for the 2014 Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composers Competition (USA), and in 2013 was the winner of the inaugural Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea) with Red Queen, White Queen, Alice and All. Holly was a resident composer at the 2014 Mizzou International Composers Festival (USA) with Alarm Will Sound, and was one of two winners of The Riot Ensemble’s (UK) 2014 Call for Scores.
Her works have been performed at festivals including Gaudeamus Muziekweek 2014/2016 (NL), November Music (NL), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (USA), Kontiki Racket, Perth International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival, Australian Music Day, Limelight Australian Composition Seminar, Creativity Unlimited, Asian Composers’ League Festival (TWN), and Now Hear This Festival (CAN). Holly’s music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the USA by ensembles and artists including Orkest de Ereprijs, Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble Offspring, Sydney Symphony Fellows, RKST21 (Ereprijs and Het Gelders Orkest), Michael Kieran Harvey and Timothy Phillips, Caroline Cartens, Sydney Youth Orchestras, The Riot Ensemble, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, The Sound Collectors, The Violet Collective, Minot Symphony Orchestra, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, Georgia Tech Strings, and National Taiwan Normal University Orchestra.

Holly currently teaches composition at MLC School, Burwood, and was previously composer in residence at Prairiewood High School. She completed a Doctor of Creative Arts under the supervision of Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao at Western Sydney University, where she is currently a sessional academic.
Holly also plays drum kit and percussion in the improvised rock duo Tabua-Harrison with Joey Tabua (electric guitar). Their debut record is expected for release in 2018.

Mark Holdsworth

Mark Holdsworth

Mark Holdsworth is an Australian composer currently based in Perth, Western Australia. Holdsworth is a graduate of the University of Western Australia’s School of Music where he completed a Bachelor of Music (Composition) in 2014, a Bachelor of Arts (Music Composition) with first class honours in 2015, and a Master of Music (Composition) in 2017. He was awarded the Rupert Thackray Prize for Music Education for his academic performance in the B.A. Honours degree. Throughout his tertiary studies, Holdsworth has received extensive tutelage underesteemed Australian composers James Ledger and Dr. Christopher Tonkin.

Holdsworth has been involved in numerous projects hosted by some of Australia’s most prestigious musicians including the Australian String Quartet, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Youth Orchestra. These projects involved premieres of works commissioned specifically for each ensemble. Holdsworth has also been commissioned by Ted Snell and the Lawrence Wilson Art gallery, Andrew Foote and the University of Western Australia’s School of Music, and Krista Low for the Academie Voix Nouvelles, Royaumont Abbey in France. Holdsworth was recently commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to compose a new work for the 2017 Cybec Composition Program which will be premiered in February 2018.

Ella Macens

Ella Macens

Sydney based composer Ella Macens (b. 1991) is a fast-emerging young composer with a passion for choral, orchestral and chamber music writing. Currently studying a Master of Music in Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the guidance of Professor Matthew Hindson AM, Ella is one of four female composers selected to work closely with some of Australia’s most esteemed musicians and ensembles under the inaugural National Women Composers’ Development Program.

With a variety of musical influences, one can trace popular, classical and folkloric music styles within the composer’s emotive and spiritual sound. Her compositional voice is heavily influenced by her Latvian heritage, and her choral works have been performed across Europe on numerous occasions by prestigious Latvian choirs.

The commissioned composer has worked with esteemed ensembles such as the Song Company, Gondwana National Choirs and State Choir LATVIJA. She is currently working with The Song Company, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Cranbrook School, and will fill the role of Composer in Residence with Sydney Children’s Choir in 2018. She has previously held two composer residency positions, with Trinity Grammar School and the Sydney Youth Orchestra. Ella’s pieces have won prizes, including inclusion in the ENCORE program of 2009, the Frank Hutchens Scholarship for Composition in 2012, and very recently, the Fine Music FM Young Composer Award for her orchestral work FLIGHT.

Harry Sdraulig

Harry Sdraulig

Harry Sdraulig was born in Melbourne in 1992, and has studied at the University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. He currently teaches composition at Abbotsleigh as Composer in Residence, and is undertaking his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Paul Stanhope. Harry’s works are frequently performed and broadcast across Australia, and have also been heard in Europe, the UK, and the US. He has been commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, PLEXUS, Macedon Music, Musica Viva Australia, the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, and the Melbourne International Trumpet Festival, along with numerous solo and individual commissions. He has also received several awards including the Australian Postgraduate Award, Glen Johnston Composition Award (Audience Prize), Adolph Spivakovsky Award, and the Frank Albert Prize for Music.

Harry’s work may be described as contemporary art music, drawing upon the Western classical music tradition in new ways. His approach is undoctrinaire and expansive, and may involve the use of triadic harmony or church modes where appropriate. The frequent allusions to tonality and traditional structures in Harry’s music ensure a degree of familiarity and accessibility for classically trained musicians and audiences.

Harry is represented artist with the Australian Music Centre, and also has publishing agreements in place with Wirripang and QPress.

TSO Soloists

Lloyd Hudson piccolo

Dinah Woods cor anglais

Mitchell Nissen bass trombone

Stefanie Farrands viola


Ruby Austin-Lund (Hobart)

Jerome Blazé (Sydney)

Ivy-Jane Browne (Sydney)

Naomi Jones (Hobart)

Jordan Kenny (Sydney)

Cotter Kypriotis (Hobart)

Tasha Zappala (Hobart)

2019 Works

Concertinos for TSO Soloists

(for viola and orchestra to be performed by Stefanie Farrands)

(for bass trombone and orchestra to be performed by Mitchell Nissen)

(for cor anglais and orchestra to be performed by Dinah Woods)

(for piccolo and orchestra to be performed by Lloyd Hudson)


Song Collaborations

AUSTIN-LUND Just For Tonight (UTAS Con)

BLAZÉ & BROWNE Fade into (Sydney Con)

BROWNE 505 (Sydney Con)

JONES Friendship Song(UTAS Con)

KENNY Rainbows In My Clothes (Sydney Con)

KENNY Release Me (Sydney Con)

KYPRIOTIS Come to Sleep (UTAS Con)
Arr. Macens