Gondwana brings new voices to UNSW

While summer in Sydney is usually spent at the beach or relaxing with friends, for 300 young singers, it will be a summer of music at the National Choral School at UNSW.

For two weeks the young singers will come together in two choirs – a treble choir for 10-17 year olds and a mixed choir consisting of soprano, alto, tenor and bass singers for 17-25 year olds. Choristers also choose from a range of special electives of musical interest, led by an expert in the field.

The choirs are led by the nation’s leading choral artists which in 2020 will include Guest Artist Lisa Young, who will lead an elective and write a new commissioned work for the combined choirs.

Young is an ARIA-nominated singer and composer, who is a founding member of the all-female vocal group Coco’s Lunch, who have toured extensively, performing to packed houses throughout the world.

Choristers, conductors and composers will take up residence on campus at UNSW for the two-week program, with the various ensembles rehearsing in a range of outstanding venues across the campus, and participants housed in the Kensington Colleges.

The National Choral School is designed as an educational experience for all participants.

Alongside the singers, Gondwana Composer and Conductor Schools present unique opportunities for emerging composers and conductors to develop their craft. There are also internship opportunities on the operations team for aspiring arts administrators.

The National Choral School provides opportunities for young people not only to practice their craft, but to fully engage with their identity as musicians by taking part in this live-in program for a concentrated period of time.

As research by Dr Paul Evans from UNSW’s School of the Arts and Media suggests, young people whose personal identity includes an understanding of themselves as musicians, are much better placed to continue with their musical education and thrive in the environment.

The partnership with Gondwana Voices engages several units within UNSW, including UNSW Hospitality, the colleges of UNSW Accommodation, School of the Arts and Media in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and the Music Performance Unit.

The National Choral School forms part of the Festival of Summer Voices, Australia’s leading choral music event for singers, composers, conductors and audiences.

The festival concludes with a series of public concerts at Sir John Clancy Auditorium from 16 – 19 January.

The concerts will cover diverse musical terrain, including classic and avant-garde choral repertoire, music of the Middle East and Indonesia, as well as a creative development presentation of a new children’s opera, Peter Pan by Australian composer Andrew Ford, in collaboration with Sydney Chamber Opera.

The Finale concert will feature all six Gondwana National Choirs ensembles and will include the exciting world premiere of the new work for the combined ensembles by Lisa Young.