Sydney-based composer Harry Sdraulig has won the 2020 Arcadia Winds Composition Prize, which aims to expand the canon of works available to wind instrumentalists. Required to submit two previously composed works as well as a proposal for a new piece for Arcadia Winds, Sdraulig was selected from a field of 35 applicants by a panel comprised of AW members and composers Brenton Broadstock and Natalie Williams.

Harry Sdraulig. Photo supplied

“Harry’s works really stood out for their brilliant wind writing,” said Arcadia Winds flautist Kiran Phatak. “His knowledge of how to write idiomatically for the woodwind instruments was particularly striking, as was his creativity in using their different registers and unique characteristics to create fascinating musical colours and textures. When we read his proposal to create a ‘blockbuster of virtuosity and colour’, we were confident he could pull it off!”

Sdraulig will work with Arcadia Winds to create his new piece for wind quintet, which will be premiered at Melbourne Recital Centre on October 6. The performance will be recorded for broadcast on WindStreams, Arcadia Winds’ Australian Wind Music Portal. Sdraulig also receives a $2000 cash prize as well as flights to Melbourne to attend the premiere.

“Over recent years I’ve written so much for winds, and it’s no accident – winds provide composers with a full gamut of expressive opportunities, from deep, serious lyricism to playfulness and thrilling virtuosity,” said Sdraulig.

Sdraulig currently teaches composition at the Abbotsleigh School in Sydney as Composer in Residence and is undertaking his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Sydney under supervisor Paul Stanhope. His works are regularly performed and broadcast in Australia, and have been heard in Europe and the United States. He has been commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Q, PLEXUS, Macedon Music, Musica Viva Australia, the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, and Ensemble Three. His accolades include the Australian Postgraduate Award, Glen Johnston Composition Award (Audience Prize), Adolph Spivakovsky Award, and the Frank Albert Prize for Music. He was named the Layton Emerging Composer Fellow in 2019.

The annual Arcadia Winds Composition Prize is open to Australian composers aged 18 to 35, and aims to foster a love of new Australian wind music. Past winners include Mark Holdsworth and Cayn Borthwick.