New music has always been a source of fear and confusion, but is that any reason not to programme it?

T his year, four young Australian composers will have new works premiered as part of a new music day to be held at Santa Sabina College, Strathfield. Holly Harrison, Anastasia Pahos, Alex Pozniak and Nicholas Vines, have written works for specific professional ensembles intended to serve as examples to numbers of high school music students attending a composition workshop. On the same day, some of these high school students will have an opportunity to have their own works tried out by members of the ensembles and receive immediate feedback.

Fifty years ago in this country a circumstance of this nature was unthinkable. However, it should be understood that a great deal of the push and shove associated with creating performance opportunities for new Australian music is coming from schools. There is a plethora of new music being written in these institutions and it is producing a plethora of students who want to study composition at the tertiary level. Gondwana Voices, for example, has a very special track record of commissioning new Australian work and it is sung, essentially,...

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