2023 Commissions

Sally Whitwell

Sally  Whitwell photo
Award winning musician Sally Whitwell maintains a busy freelance career as pianist performer, conductor, composer and educator from her base in Sydney, Australia. 


Sally is very active as a conductor, composer and accompanist in choral music. In 2015 she has enjoyed an extensive tour of China, Hong Kong and Inner Mongolia with Sydney Children's Choir, with whom she regularly works. She also presented at the International Federation of Choral Music World Choral Expo in Macau in November and is currently enjoying her first subscription season as Music Director of Sydney based community chamber choir Coro Innominata. Her choral and vocal ensemble compositions have been performed by Juice vocal ensemble, Gondwana Choirs, VOX (Sydney Philharmonia Choirs' youth ensemble), Moorambilla Voices, Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Luminescence, Hunter Singers and the Woden Valley Youth Choir.


As a solo recording artist, Sally has four albums to her name. Her debut album Mad Rush: solo piano music of Philip Glass  won her the 2011 ARIA for Best Classical Album.  Her sophomore album The Good, the Bad and the Awkward is a truly unique compilation of film music where she played not only piano but toy piano, harpsichord, recorder and melodica. All Imperfect Things; solo piano music of Michael Nyman won the 2013 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album as well as Best Engineer for ABC Classics very own tonmeister Virginia Read, the first time that a woman has ever won this award.   Her most recent release I was flying is a collection of her own compositions in the art song, choral and chamber music genres, which enjoyed five weeks in the top ten of the ARIA Core Classical Charts, was nominated for the 2015 ARIA Award for Best Classical Album.

Composition: #WeToo

On the morning of 2 March 2020, I finished writing the first draft of this song. It was the same morning that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service announced that for the first time since July 2019, the state was free of active bush and grade fires.

It was eerily serendipitous timing as this song is all about next steps. It's about drawing on our collective experience and knowledge to make the right decisions for the future of our world. We have now more detailed information about the effects of climate change than we've ever had, thanks to a knowledgeable community of experts whom we can really trust. However we are somewhat crippled by the rampant anti-intellectualism so prevalent in our society. There's a kind of illogical fear and suspicion of highly educated people, and when that fear is manipulated by powerful people who are invested in the status quo, principally by big business and governments, our community is led into a kind of culture of distrust, resulting in a frankly criminal lack of action. The rhetoric of mass fear is hard to fight, but for our collective future we need to fight back.

To that end, I'm contributing my own little piece of rhetoric here. And I'm thrilled to be articulating it through the perfect musical instrument for such expressions, a massed choir. The unique power of the first person plural, of the choral voice, of #WeToo as opposed to #MeToo, is something I am really trying to harness in my creative practice as a songwriter right now. As we have witnessed right across the world through grassroots movements like Fridays ForFuture and Extinction Rebellion, people care about our planet and want to shout out about it. And as every choir nerd knows, singing is stronger than shouting, it's a sound that cuts through. So let's really make some noise!

Paul Jarman

Paul J
Paul Jarman is a widely acclaimed Australian composer, performer, musical director and educator. Paul is most well known as a lyricist and composer of choral music, a world music multi instrumentalist, and a facilitator of community inspired collaborations.

Paul has written over 200 commissioned works for ensembles, festivals and events including Gondwana Voices, Sydney Children’s Choir, Birralee Voices, The Song Company, Boston City Singers, Rafiki Youth Choir, The Australian Boy’s Choir, The Hunter singers, Department of Education, Woden Valley Youth Choir and many more. His unique blend of melody and timeless poetry celebrates the human endeavour and has captured the imagination of singers and audiences worldwide. He has been commissioned to write music about some of the most inspiring people of our time including Jessica Watson, Terry Fox, Helen Keller, Ernest Shackleton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Pemulwuy and Mary MacKillop among countless others. In 2010 his piece for the 40th Anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jnr was performed for President Barack Obama in the White House. Paul has also written and performed music for events in the Western Front, including a premier under the Menin Gate in Ypres and the D-Day 60th Anniversary in Normandy. He has toured as a resident conductor/performer with a variety of choirs to France, England, Germany, Austria, Italy, China, Belgium, Czech Republic, Canada, New Zealand, USA and Switzerland and he conducts choral events all over Australia.

Luke Byrne

Luke  Byrne

Luke Byrne is an international composer, musical director and pianist currently based in London. Recent commissions include Earthrise, Capricorn and Desert Sea for Sydney Philharmonia, Storm Bird, Buruwan Elegy and Birinyi for Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Where Sails Once Flew for Adelaide Chamber Singers and The Church at Auvers for Voices of Birralee. Luke arranged the national anthems for the 2015 Netball World Cup and in 2012 was composer-in-residence for Sydney Children’s Choir.

In 2018, Luke’s musical Between the Sea and Sky was selected for the New York Musical Festival where it won awards including Best Musical and Outstanding Music.

Luke is also a musical director in theatre, his credits include The Harp in the South, Muriel’s Wedding and Chimerica (Sydney Theatre Company), The Events for Sydney Festival/Belvoir/Malthouse, Hamlet (Belvoir), The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (Belvoir/Sydney Festival), Big Fish (Hayes Theatre), and The World’s Wife (Melbourne Theatre Company).
Platinum Sponsors
Silver Sponsors
Other  Music  Logo-page- 001
Presented By
Voices of BirraleePhone (07) 3367 1001