The Isabel Menton Composition Award, named in honour of Sister Isabel Menton of the Sisters of St Joseph, is regarded as one of the most prestigious creative arts competitions at ACU. This year, the Competition required applicants to centre their works around the theme of ‘Joy’ which need to be able to be sung by a part-singing university-level choir of approximately 20 voices. Over 60 entries from across Australia were received with 8 applicants receiving an award.
Composer Richard Maddox was awarded first prize in the Open Division for his new choral work ‘Let All The Earth Dance’.
Organist, choir director, composer/arranger, liturgist, academic and lecturer, Brett McKern won first prize in the Liturgical Division with ‘Joyful, We Adore You’ and young musician and ACU Student Chorister and Bachelor of Creative Arts student Samantha Allen-Craig took out first prize in the Student Division prize with her work ‘Deep Winter’. Other student prizes were awarded to Amiel Matthews (second prize), Chantelle Irikian and Johnathon Goulter (Honourable Mentions).
Professor Anne Cummins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) believes this choral composition prize will help to foster the production of new Australian choral repertoire.
“Throughout her life Sister Isabel was dedicated to excellence in music through championing choral music and training generations of music teachers.”
The winning pieces from Richard, Brett and Samantha will be added to repertoire of the network of ACU choirs and represent a lasting tribute to the memory of Sister Isabel and highlight the growing tradition of choral music excellence being fostered at ACU.
Entries to the Open and Liturgical Divisions were judged by ACU Brisbane Student Choir and Community Choir Director, Timothy Sherlock, and a panel of ACU staff including the Assistant Director of ACU’s Centre for Liturgy, Dr Jason McFarland, and Professor Timothy McKenry and Dr Ian Burk from the National School of Arts shortlisted the prizes.
Samantha Allen-Craig, who was awarded first prize in the Student Division with her work ‘Deep Winter’, being presented with her certificate by Professor Tim McKenry, Deputy Head of School of Arts, and Ms Faye Dumont, Melbourne Student Choir Director.
Richard Maddox was awarded first prize in the Open Division for his new choral work ‘Let All The Earth Dance’.
Since retiring from the Music Department of the University of New England (Armidale, NSW) in 1991 Richard has concentrated on composing and performing with local musicians. He is a member of, and occasionally conducts, the Armidale Symphony Orchestra, the a cappella singing group Fiori Musicali and the Armidale Choral Society. Most of his works are written for friends and colleagues and have received performances in Armidale and elsewhere.
He is a represented composer of the Australian Music Centre, and a composer-member of the Australian Performing Right Association. His compositions have been published by The Keys Press (Mt. Lawley, W.A.), Orpheus Music (Armidale, NSW), A Coeur Joie (Lyon, France), Lawson-Gould (New York, NY) and Wirripang (Wollongong, NSW). His Discussion: Duo for Oboe and Bassoon was selected by the Società Internazionale della Musica Contemporaneo for publication by Edizioni Carrara (Milan, Italy).
Some of his works have been recorded on Richard Peter Maddox: Australian Songs (Move Records), Batalla Famosa (Orpheus Music), O For a Muse of Fire (Australian Music Centre) and Ghosts, Fools and Seers (Stone Records).
Julian Revie was awarded second prize in the Liturgical Division for his new choral work ‘Joy is Ringing’.
Julian Darius Revie is Associate Director of Music at the Center for Music and Liturgy, Saint Thomas More Chapel at Yale University. Prior posts include serving as Organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Canada and Director of the Choir of Robinson College at Cambridge University.
Mr. Revie’s compositions for solo instruments, voice, chamber ensembles, and orchestra have been performed in Australia, North America, and Europe, in venues including the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall. In 2015, The Love of God was performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra with a 300-voice massed choir during the Papal Mass in Philadelphia. In 2016, Mr. Revie’s Kyrie won first prize in the Francesco Siciliani composition competition run by the Pontifical Council for Culture, with a jury chaired by Helmuth Rilling and Arvo Pärt. In January 2018, To Follow the Star will be sung by an international children’s chorus during the Epiphany Papal Mass at the Vatican.
Mr. Revie studied piano, organ and clarinet from an early age. He holds degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Yale University and Caltech in the United States and a Master’s in Composition from Cambridge University in Great Britain. He has also studied composition with Philip Lasser, Samuel Adler, and Milton Babbitt at the Juilliard School in New York.
Joy is Ringing was written in Melbourne, inspired by the majestic bells of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, which are regularly rung following the 17th-century tradition of change-ringing. The vocal lines imitate the ringing of the Cathedral bells, with the singers repeating patterns that gradually change, resulting in a long-term process of transformation that culminates in a cascade of joyous scales.
Brett McKern was awarded first prize in the Liturgical Division for his new choral work ‘Joyful We Adore You’.