The Australia Ensemble UNSW has announced the winner of the winner of the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship for 2020-21. Ian Whitney has been awarded the $10,000 Fellowship, given to 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. The Fellowship is made possible in 2020-2021 by Emeritus Professor Roger Layton AM and Merrilyn Layton.
Ian Whitney writes “I am thrilled to be selected for the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship. It is immensely exciting – and humbling – to know that 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 and Mrs Layton, the Australia Ensemble, and the University of New South Wales for what promises to be an amazing and enriching experience.
The two works, written over 12 months will feature at a public workshop to be held in 2021. Mr Whitney will also receive mentoring sessions in Composition from the UNSW School of the Arts and Media, members of the Australia Ensemble UNSW, and an external composition mentor.
Originally from Brisbane, Ian Whitney now based in Sydney is interested in fictional musical narratives. He is currently undertaking a 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 whilst 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.
His work has been performed by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Opera, PLEXUS, Arcadia Winds, Highly Strung and Ensemble Françaix. Additionally, he has written significant solo works for violist Christopher Cartlidge and harpist Alice Giles AM.
The Australia Ensemble, resident at The University of New South Wales, was founded in 1980 following a proposal put to the University by Roger Covell and Murray Khouri. One of Australia’s finest chamber music ensemble, it comprises seven leading instrumentalists and is able to engage other outstanding musicians to enable it to present some unusual and varied ensembles along with the standard chamber music repertoire. The core musicians of the Australia Ensemble UNSW comprise Geoffrey Collins, flute; David Griffiths, clarinet; Ian Munro, piano; Dene Olding, violin; Dimity Hall, violin; Irina Morozova, viola; and Julian Smiles, cello.