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Spotlight on Holly Harrison


Next month, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Spot On Children’s Festival will present Sorcerers and Wizards. This family concert with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows will feature Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice (made famous by the classic Disney film Fantasia) and allow you to meet all the instruments of the orchestra in Mussorgsky’s colourful Pictures at an Exhibition. In addition to that, it will include the premiere of Jabberwock, a fun new work from Holly Harrison. Ahead of this we look at her influences and achievements.

A young and emerging Australian composer from Western Sydney, Holly’s music is driven by the nonsense literature of Lewis Carroll, embracing stylistic juxtapositions, the visceral energy of rock, and whimsical humour.

This year, Holly is working on pieces for Ensemble Offspring, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, Sydney Youth Orchestras, Orchestra of the 21st Century (RKST21, Orkest de Ereprijs and Het Gelders Orkest), and is composer in residence at Prairiewood High School.

Holly was awarded first place at the 2014 Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, and commissioned to write a new work for Orkest de Ereprijs for February 2015. She received the Australia and Pacific Prize for the 2014 Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composers Competition (USA), and in 2013 was the winner of the inaugural Pyeongchon Arts Hall International Chamber Music Composition Competition (South Korea).

In 2014, Holly was a resident composer at the Mizzou International Composers Festival (United States of America) with Alarm Will Sound, and was one of two winners of The Riot Ensemble’s (United Kingdom) 2014 Call for Scores. Her works have been performed at Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Netherlands), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (United States of America), Asian Composers’ League Conference and Festival (Taiwan), and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 – 2013 Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program.

Holly’s music has been performed in Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States of America by ensembles including Orkest de Ereprijs, Alarm Will Sound, The Riot Ensemble, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, The Sound Collectors, Minot Symphony Orchestra, Hwaum Chamber Orchestra, National Taiwan Normal University Orchestra, and Antonietta Loffredo.

Holly recently completed a Doctor of Creative Arts under the supervision of Bruce Crossman and John Encarnacao at the University of Western Sydney, where she is currently a sessional academic.

The perfect show to introduce children to the delights of magical music, don’t miss Sorcerers and Wizards playing at Riverside 4 October as part of the Spot On Children’s Festival. Click here for more info and bookings.


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