Winner of the 2020/2021 Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship Announced

UNSW Music Ian WhitneyFollowing a highly competitive application process, the Australia Ensemble UNSW has announced Ian Whitney as the winner of the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship for 2020/2021.

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,” says Mr Witney. “It is immensely exciting, and humbling, to know I will soon be writing for some of Australia’s best chamber musicians.”

“These opportunities to develop craft and build confidence are rare and valuable and I am grateful to Emeritus Professor Layton and the late Dr Merrilyn 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 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 & 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 his late wife Dr Merrilyn Layton. “The possibility of supporting new emerging composers is something that we both always wanted to do – encouraging younger scholars to find their place and contribute significantly to a competitive world,” said Professor Layton.

“The Emerging Composer Fellowship made this possible and I am delighted 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.”

Originally from Brisbane, Ian Whitney now based in Sydney 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 while 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.

Mr Whitney’s work has been performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Opera, PLEXUS, Arcadia Winds, Highly Strung and Ensemble Françaix. He has also written significant solo works for violist Christopher Cartlidge and harpist Alice Giles AM.

The Australia Ensemble, resident at UNSW Sydney, 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.

Consisting of seven of Australia’s leading instrumentalists, the Ensemble is able to engage other outstanding musicians to enable it to present some highly unusual and varied groupings of performers as well as the standard chamber music repertoire.

The Australia Ensemble is managed by UNSW’s Music Performance Unit. There are seven core positions in the Australia Ensemble UNSW: Geoffrey Collins, flute; David Griffiths, clarinet; Ian Munro, piano; Dene Olding, violin; Dimity Hall, violin; Irina Morozova, viola; and Julian Smiles, cello.

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Image: Ian Whitney (supplied)