Omega Ensemble invests in the future of Australian musical talent

Omega-Ensemble-photo-by-Keith-SaundersSydney-based Omega Ensemble has announced their exciting 2022 Composer Accelerator Program to combat the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in the futures of young Australian musical talent.

Following a successful pilot program in 2021, the CoLAB: Composer Accelerator Program offers five talented early-career composers a one-of-a-kind opportunity in collaboration with the world-class musicians of Omega Ensemble and under the mentorship of leading Australian and international composers, including Carl Vine AO, Nico Muhly, Gordon Kerry, Holly Harrison, Christopher Cerrone and Missy Mazzoli.

Artistic Director David Rowden explains that the CoLAB program was in development prior to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has been reconfigured as a direct response to the pandemic’s impact on the industry.

“With the performing arts industry still in repair, without direct action, we risk overlooking a generation of Australian talent, due to loss of development opportunities or because young artists simply can’t see a sustainable creative career worth pursuing,” he said.

“We feel a great urgency to ensure that the next generation is not locked out. Without action, the loss will be felt in five, ten or twenty years time, as a whole generation is noticeably absent from our stages,” said Rowden.

Through an intensive nine-month program, including studio workshops and digital mentoring, each participant will develop a substantial new work for Omega Ensemble, to be presented at Sydney Opera House in November 2022.

The CoLAB program stands apart from many other development programs both through its sustained engagement with the young composers and with its focus on creating direct professional pathways. The program aims to equip participants with tools and knowledge to manage their future careers, as well as ongoing access to public concerts and networking opportunities.

Omega Ensemble is recognised nationally for its commitment to presenting important contemporary musical voices to Australian audiences. Through its public concerts, the Ensemble has commissioned some of the most high-profile Australian and international composers working today, while also giving the Australian premieres of many other important works.

David Rowden says the CoLAB program is not only an investment in the careers of young composers but also an investment in the Ensemble’s own future. “Presenting new musical works is core to Omega Ensemble’s identity, and essential to keeping our artform relevant,” he said.

“We know that to sustain the level of talent we want to work with in the future, we need to keep our ear to the ground and invest in that talent today.”

“It’s my hope that this program will be the start of successful and full careers for all the young participants, and, before long, they will be back working with us again on the professional stage,” said Rowden.

Applications for the Omega Ensemble 2022 Composer Accelerator Program are now open and close on 1 February 2022. For more information, including program guidelines, visit: for details.

Image: Omega Ensemble – photo by Keith Saunders