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Paddy Fitzgerald, Double Bass, Bachelor of Music (Honours) Graduate, Jazz and Improvisation

St. Agnosticus, Paddy Fitzgerald

I spent 2021 studying how Maurice Ravel balances his use of harmonic dissonance with simple, rigid elements of rhythm and structure. I've written 9 pieces of music to complement this study which I will release as an album mid-2022. What I love about Ravel is how his use of complex harmony is always presented in a balanced, accessible way and my goal has been to achieve such a balance this in my compositions. Between the lockdowns in 2021, I spent my time rehearsing and gigging this music with my incredible quartet who've done an incredible job interpreting this strange music and I'll be forever grateful to them for the time and energy that so willingly gave to this project.

Performer Credits:

Paddy Fitzgerald Quartet

Tom Noonan, Alto Saxophone

Max Teakle, Piano

Paddy Fitzgerald, Double bass

Lewis Pierre-Humbert, Drums

Chai Jie Low, Piano, PhD Music Performance

Variations on a Russian Theme in A major by Rimsky-Korsakov, Winkler, Blumenfeld, Sokolov, Vītols, Lyadov and Glazunov

Variations on a Russian Theme is a unique composition written for solo piano by composers of the Belaïeff Circle, a group of Russian pianists who were influential in the nineteenth-century St Petersburg musical scene. Each variation within the set has been written by a different composer of the group. I have selected this little-known work as my Artist Portfolio project with the aim of promoting recognition of the composers and their music within contemporary music circles, which have been overlooked over the course of history. This variation set is particularly representative of my interest in the nineteenth-century Russian musical style that I am exploring through research to inform my performance interpretations. Through the recording of this work, I hope to capture the fascinating contextual background and diverse stylistic features unique to each composer and their variations, while conveying my artistic identity and interests.

Performer Credits:

Chai Jie Low, Piano

Chroma Quintet

Le Tombeau De CouperinMaurice Ravel, arr. Mason Jones

Chroma Quintets recording session, intended to display a more relaxed and personable experience of classical music closer to how musicians as individuals often experience it. That is, in a context where musicians experience each other's company in the rehearsal space with individual humour, opinion and expertise, and further how these individual aspects shape the overall product of the performance. The name Chroma refers to the group's focus on the variety of tone colour, that the instrumental variation of the wind quintet has potential for. This is something that Ravel's music and orchestration method, lends itself to particularly well with its almost impressionist wash of colour. We chose to aid this aspect of our performance by having different coloured for each movement, each agreed upon by the group to show the mood and impression we were trying to capture.

Performer Credits:

Oscar Gillespie, Oboe

Kina Lin-Wilmoth, Bassoon

Stefan Grant, French Horn

Kristopher Nash, Clarinet

Matthew Mulherin, Flute

Georgia White, Clarinet, Bachelor of Music (Honours), Performance

Sonata for A Clarinet and Piano, Movement IIAlice Mary Smith

My project at its’ essence was to make a quality recording of a beautiful and underperformed piece of music. Throughout my time at the Conservatorium, I don’t believe I have heard enough pieces performed that were written by women, simply because many musicians aren’t aware of the amazing repertoire that is out there - it can take a little bit of digging. I hope that by playing and recording Alice Mary Smith’s Sonata, I may inspire someone else to pick up this gorgeous work, or at least listen to it, and maybe delve into the wide world of clarinet repertoire written by women.

Performer Credits:

Georgia White, Clarinet

Peter de Jager, Piano

Mira Stephens, Saxophone, Bachelor of Music (Honours), Performance

Brink of Destruction, Mira Stephens

Brink of Destruction is a manifestation of the anxious and unsettling emotions that commonly arise when considering humanity's responsibility for environmental carnage, climate change, and our future grappling with these issues. We are standing on a precipice in time where humanity may save ourselves, or continue to hurtle into oblivion. The outcome of our situation is yet to be seen, but through taking action we still have the opportunity for hope.

Performer Credits:

Mira Stephens, Saxophones

Jake Morton, Painter

Samantha Hargreaves, Soprano, Masters of Music (Opera Performance)

'Deh vieni non tardar' from The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sir John Tavener said in an interview once that “Mozart sees the divine and hears it in everything” and I agree. Mozart’s sensitive understanding of humanity is what enables his works to transcend it and continue their relevance.

The piece I chose by Mozart is Susanna’s aria ‘Deh vieni non tardar’ from The Marriage of Figaro. On the surface, this is a seduction aria for the Count, who has been pursuing her relentlessly throughout the opera. Figaro, Susanna’s true love, is hiding in the bushes. She is aware of his presence and really sings the love song to him.

It was such a pleasure working with Agatha and the stage-crew to bring the scene to life through lighting and staging. It was an equal privilege to collaborate with pianist Thomas Griffiths, who was able to evoke the humour and sentiment present in Mozart’s divine composition.

Performer Credits:

Samantha Hargreaves, Soprano

Thomas Griffiths, Pianist

Nathan Sinclair, Guitar, PhD Performance Research

La Torre BermejaIsaac Albeniz

For his artist portfolio project, Nathan Sinclair recorded the works ‘La Torre Bermeja’ and ‘Sevilla’ composed by the late 19th century Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz. Both works, originally written for the piano, are considered modern-day standards of the classical guitar’s repertoire and are representative of a nationalistic late-Romantic ‘salon’ type of instrumental music. The thematic material of both pieces stylise Andalusian melodic and rhythmic figurations in a manner typical of musical ‘Alhambrism’- a somewhat fashionable, Romanticised view of the Spanish soundscape through the lens of Granadinian and southern Spanish culture. The first guitarists to transcribe both works from the piano score were the eminent composer/performers Francisco Tarréga and Miguel LLobet. For this recording project, Nathan built upon the work of these two masters to create new arrangements in an effort to further strengthen the Albeniz-guitar connection and to add elements of his own artistic signature to these well-loved classics.

Performer Credits:

Nathan Sinclair, Guitar

Ensemble Lazarus

Ariel, Ned Rorem

Ensemble Lazarus’ Artist Portfolio Project consists of a presentation of Ned Rorem’s outstanding song-cycle Ariel: Five Poems of Sylvia Plath. As a trio of voice, clarinet and piano, Ensemble Lazarus were keen to explore works other than Schubert’s iconic Shepherd on the Rock and foray into the complex world of modern chamber music. Based on five poems from Sylvia Plath’s Ariel poetry collection, Ensemble Lazarus wanted to bring the drama of the theatre into the chamber music realm through their interpretation of Plath’s words and Rorem’s musicality.

Looking at an interpretation of this emotionally fraught text that has started to be seen in more recent times, with more understanding of Plath’s works from her daughter, Ensemble Lazarus wanted to show the hopefulness that may exist in these texts. Displaying these poems as a musical, and now strikingly visual depiction of Plaths inner-monologue, Ensemble Lazarus wants to create a more emotionally accessible space for chamber music, poetry, and theatre to thrive together.

Performer Credits:

Margaret Francis, Soprano

Ben Curry-Hyde, Clarinet

Yuhao Yan, Piano

Benjamin Singh, Saxophone, Bachelor of Music (Honours) Graduate, Performance

What it is, Benjamin Singh

During Melbourne's covid lockdowns, a phrase I heard and said more times than I ever thought I would for the last two years was ‘it is what it is...’ Personally, these circumstances affected me greatly, but I was able to return to my roots in jazz improvisation with urgency to create. Built and driven by improvisation, the piece slowly develops to moments of ferocious speed and technicality. My influences are made clear by the jazz chord voicings combined with the hip hop beat. The bassline can never reach the alluring counter melody in the high range, as much as they seem to work together. Mixing in extended techniques such as pad clapping, slap tongue, harmonics, multiphonics, circular breathing, altissimo and alternate fingerings, the piece becomes increasingly chaotic, the train coming agonisingly closer to derailing. The bassline represents the self that we return to, and that we must always continue to build and grow.

Performer Credits:

Ben Singh, Saxophone

Patrick Britton, Piano, Bachelor of Music (Honours) Graduate, Jazz and Improvisation

Movement IV, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Patrick Britton

Just over a century ago Richard Strauss wrote a tone poem on the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra by the revolutionary anti-philosopher Frederich Nietzsche. 60 years later, that music would be used by Stanley Kubrick in the opening to his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Over the past year Patrick has carefully analysed Nietzsche's text, creating a suite of 10 pieces for large ensemble. The aim of this project was to arrange a shorter medley for seven-piece ensemble, presenting a succinct programme representing the beginning of the prophet Zarathustra's journey.

Performer Credits:

Group Zarathustra

Patrick Britton, Piano

Henry Cameron, Guitar

Charlie Rank, Double Bass

Ollie Ledi Hanane, Drums

Mia Barham, Baritone Saxophone

Jaaz Tobias, Tenor Saxophone

Christopher Rozakeas, Trombone


Film and Photography 
Agatha Yim (Polyphonic Pictures)

Lighting Design 
Adam Grikepelis

Sound Engineer 
David Wilkinson

Audio Mixer 
Agatha Yim (Polyphonic Pictures)

Artist Portfolio Prize Coordinator 
Joseph Lallo

IgniteLAB Program Manager and Coordination Assistant
James McKinnon

Production Assistant 
Ounie Witherow Aitken

Technical Coordinator 
Candy Cooper

Production Coordinator 
Jennifer Knight

Artistic Operations Manager 
Abe Watson

Senior Technical Officer 
David Collins

Engagement and Partnerships Coordinator (Fine Arts and Music)
Eric Gardiner

Engagement and Partnerships Officer (Fine Arts and Music)
Ely Ruttico

An initiative of David Griffiths, Joseph Lallo, and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Creative Programming and Engagement Committee