Alice-inspired composition wins international recognition

Holly Harrison 

A composition inspired by Alice in Wonderland and written by University of Western Sydney music student Holly Harrison has won first place at the recent 2013 Pyeongchon Art Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition in Korea.

Holly graduated from the Bachelor of Music with honours in 2010 and is currently completing a Doctorate of Creative Arts with the School of Humanities and Communication Arts under Dr Bruce Crossman and Mr John Encarnacao.

"It has all been very surprising," says Holly.

"The competition had an age limit of forty, so I thought it would be unlikely to even get through as a finalist, but you've got to be in it to win it.  I was excited to find out I was a finalist, but to win was even more surprising!"

Holly's doctoral supervisor Dr Bruce Crossman notified her of the competition just days before it closed. Holly frantically rewrote a piece she had been working on to meet the instrumentation requirements – it now includes clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, double bass and piano.

Holly's piece 'Red Queen, White Queen, Alice and All' was inspired by the whimsical humour of Lewis Carroll, specifically Alice in Wonderland.

"The continual toggling between influences, including rock, pop and jazz, reinvents Carroll's fragmented dream-worlds as a series of musical juxtapositions. There is a spoken word element, too, where snippets of the Alice texts are littered throughout the piece," says Holly.

Holly is no stranger to the international stage having been selected for The 20th Young Composers Meeting 2014 (The Netherlands), the 2013 Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Composer Workshop (USA), and the Young Australian Representative at the 29th Asian Composers' league Festival Young Composer Competition 2011 (Taiwan).

"This is a substantial international achievement and marks Holly out, along with her many other international successes, as one of the most talented young composers emerging in Australia at present," says Dr Bruce Crossman, Senior Lecturer in Music Composition, School of Humanities and Communication Arts.

Holly's reward included a cash prize, performances of the piece at future concerts hosted by the Anyang Foundation for Culture and Arts, and selection of her piece as a required piece as part of the 2014 Pyeongchon Chamber Music Performance Competition.


25 November 2013

Contact: Hannah Guilfoyle, Media Assistant

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