The Australian Composer List project is a way of promoting, getting commissions for, and building capacity of, lesser known Australian composers.
We collect data from artistic decision makers across Australia and compile a list of composers that they feel, albeit not as known as others, show promise and should be more performed and commissioned.
Once the list is finalised we approach the composers recommended the most frequently, offering to be included in a promotional USB and website. The USB is sent to the artistic decision makers who contributed to the process, as well as an international network of potential commissioners.
Some ensembles have already planned to commission a composer on the published list. If you are considering commissioning an emerging composer, contact email@example.com
This project is is a way of us consolidating a very specialised knowledge base and using it to build composer careers in a very concrete way.
If appropriate, we may approach composers discovered through this process for an on-going representation contract with Chronology Arts.
The 2016 results has been finalised and published.
We are collecting data throughout 2017, and we will announce another list once data collection and analysis has been finalised in early 2018.
Why did you create this list?
The primary reason we created this list was to help promote new music commissioning. We are approached regularly to recommend emerging composers by a highly diverse range of supporters and curators across Australia, and this list was a way for us to not always turn to the people in our immediate network to recommend. This doesn't mean we'll exclusively recommend people on this list, but it is a good start for people who have never commissioned before (or who rarely commission) who want a concise place to begin listening.
Where did you collect your data from?
We began by reading all composer biographies on the Australian Music Centre's website to create a list of ensembles, individuals and festivals that had commissioned composers. We also made a list of prizes we could refer to (both local and international). We then researched contact information for all those commissioners and organisations - which was not always publicly available. We then emailed this group and made followup phone calls to encourage responses to our survey. The results were published once we had finished analysis. Although we cannot publish the names of people who responded to the survey due to confidentiality agreements, we can say that they are people who make financial decisions about commissioning new music.
Is this list definitive?
No, this list is representative of the opinions of those that responded to the survey at the times they responded. However, as respondents must be currently curating or commissioning new music, their opinions are of interest to us. As we collect more data, a new list will be published and those composers will be promoted. We intend to update the list annually.
What was the geographic spread of the survey?
We contacted predominantly Australian curators and commissioners of new music, however a few overseas who have regularly engaged Australian composers were also contacted. The geographic spread of those we requested information from follows the population spread of Australia, and so respondent locations were skewed to more populated areas.
Were there any other interesting insights from the survey responses?
One of the questions we asked was about what competitions/prizes they found important to their decision making of selecting composers, most said they don't think much of competitions, but others listed prizes that generally only established composers have won in the past. Only a few listed a couple of prizes or awards that are open to more emerging composers.
We asked respondents what they wanted to see more of in Australian new music over the next 10 years, and responses were varied, however some core themes came up; more female composers, more commissioning generally, ending of neolibralist approach to the arts, more funding for the sector, risk taking and development of unique voice.
We also asked respondents what qualities they look for in commissioning, and responses mostly reflected on thoughtful engagement with aesthetic, technical and budget requirements, working to a brief, punctuality, legibility, conceptual understanding/interest.
We invite you to direct any questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.