Australia Ensemble UNSW names Emerging Composer Fellowship winner

The Australia Ensemble UNSW has announced that the winner of its Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship for 2020-21 is Ian Whitney.

The Fellowship is valued at $10,000 for one year, for an emerging composer to write two chamber music works as part of the Australia Ensemble UNSW’s outreach program, which fosters greater engagement in and recognition of composition and chamber music activities at UNSW.

“I am thrilled to be selected for the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship. It is immensely exciting, and humbling, to know that I will soon be writing for some of Australia’s best chamber musicians,” Mr Whitney said.

“These opportunities to develop craft and build confidence are rare and valuable and I am grateful to Emeritus Professor and Mrs Layton, the Australia Ensemble, and UNSW for what promises to be an amazing and enriching experience.”

As part of the Fellowship, Mr Whitney will write two works across the course of a 12-month period which will feature at a public workshop to be held in 2021. Mr Whitney will also receive mentoring sessions with a Composition staff member from the UNSW School of the Arts and Media, members of the Australia Ensemble UNSW, and an external composition mentor.

The Fellowship is made possible in 2020-2021 by Emeritus Professor Roger Layton AM and Merrilyn Layton. Emeritus Professor Roger Layton AM said: “The possibility of supporting new emerging composers is for me something that we both always wanted to do – encouraging younger scholars to find their place and contribute significantly to a competitive world.

“The Emerging Composer Fellowship made this possible and I am delighted that I am able to help in this way. Ian Whitney is a wonderful choice who I am sure will create beautiful, challenging music for many years.”

Australia Ensemble

The Australia Ensemble, resident at UNSW, has long been widely recognised as this country’s finest chamber music ensemble.

Originally from Brisbane, Ian Whitney is now based in Sydney and is interested in fictional musical narratives. He is currently undertaking candidacy for a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, under the lead supervision of Carl Vine AO. Previously, he studied at the Queensland Conservatorium with Gerard Brophy and Stephen Leek and whilst a student was awarded the inaugural Australian Youth Orchestra/National Institute of Dramatic Art Fellowship for theatre music.

He has also previously been selected for the Symphony Australia: Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra Composers’ School and was selected for the Victorian Opera Composer Development Program. His work has been performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Opera, PLEXUS, Arcadia Winds, Highly Strung and Ensemble Françaix. Additionally, he has written significant solo works for violist Christopher Cartlidge and harpist Alice Giles AM.

The Australia Ensemble, resident at UNSW, was founded in 1980 following a proposal put to the University by Roger Covell and Murray Khouri. The group has long been widely recognised as this country’s finest chamber music ensemble.