Peggy Polias, Bree van Reyk, Georgia Scott, and Josephine Macken are four names to keep an eye on. Representing the newest line-up of the Sydney Conservatorium’s Composing Women programme, they’ll be working with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Chamber Opera and internationally acclaimed flautist Claire Chase over two intensive years, all the while developing their own projects and compositions. As postgraduate research students, they’ll be mentored by Professor Liza Lim and members of the Sydney Conservatorium‘s composition unit, as well as hone their skills in administration and production with the help of Musica Viva, APRA AMCOS, the Australian Music Centre and ABC Classic FM.

“Diversity is the lifeblood of a strong culture,” Lim says. “The Conservatorium’s programme is about fostering cultural vibrancy by elevating the work of women composers through some fantastic professional opportunities. I’m thrilled to welcome this new cohort of composers, each of whom brings a distinctive artistic approach to their work.”

Peggy Polias and Bree van Reyk are also the proud recipients of Australian Government RTP scholarships, while Georgia Scott and Josephine Macken have been awarded Sydney Conservatorium of Music scholarships worth $10,000. The inaugural Peter Sculthorpe Music Fellow in 2016, Polias has collaborated with fellow composer Lisa Cheney on Making Waves, an online listening project that focuses on emerging Australian composers, while van Reyk was commissioned by new music group Ensemble Offspring (of which she has been percussionist since 2002) this year. Georgia Scott has had her music premiered at the Sydney Opera House and National Portrait Gallery, and Josephine Macken’s work has been performed by a number of ensembles, including the SCM Wind Symphony and Sydney Composer’s Ensemble.

The Composing Women programme was established by Professor Matthew Hindson and launched in 2016. The inaugural participants – Clare Johnston, Ella Macens, Natalie Nicolas and Elizabeth Younan – worked closely with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Goldner String Quartet and percussionist Claire Edwardes. Most recently, Nicolas, Macens and Johnston had their compositions performed by the Flinders Quartet, while Elizabeth Younan will have her work premiered by pianist Joyce Yang as part of Musica Viva’s 2018 International Concert Season.