Women of Note: Celebrating Australian Composers, Volume 5

Various artists

Women of Note: Celebrating Australian Composers, Volume 5
ABC Classic
3 March 2023

Women of Note: Celebrating Australian Composers, Volume 5

Various artists

This annual ABC Classic project recognises and celebrates the creativity and talent of Australia's female composers.

In this year's edition, we hear from five rising stars in the Australian art music scene – Ella Macens, Elizabeth Younan, Christine Pan, Marlene Cummins and Heather Percy – plus two of the most respected women composing today: Anne Boyd and Deborah Cheetham. The collection also reflects a broad range of cultures, including composers of Chinese, Lebanese, Latvian and Indigenous heritage.


For the past 12 months, I have been chewing on ABC Classic’s Volume 4 in their Women of Note series. This year, Volume 5 has been released with five emerging and established female Australian composers represented, and it’s wonderful to hear that in the past five years of this series being produced, ABC Classic has broadcast five times as many women composers than in previous years. (That’s a 125% difference in my book, and I love it!) This really shows that there are, and always have been, women musicians working away on composing spectacular music worth performing.

This year’s offering includes Motions of Equinox, a delightful two-movement work by Christine Pan for solo harp, two works recorded by the ever popular Flinders Quartet, one by Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO and another by emerging composer Ella Macens. But it was Anne Boyd’s Beside Bamboo for Saxophone and Piano performed by Katia Beaugeais and Phillip Shovk that really caught me. The delicate sound of a saxophone fusing with Boyd’s personal blend of contemporary composition with a hefty Asian influence had me stopping what I was doing and simply appreciating the moment. I love this series, I love this album – do yourself a favour and add it to your collection.

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