For composer Ella Macens there is nothing quite like the feeling of standing in front of an orchestra and hearing her music come to life. The world premiere of The Space Between Stars (2017) at the 2018 Chancellor’s Concert will no doubt be an especially poignant experience for the Master of Music (Composition) student, as the piece is dedicated to her late grandfather who passed away at the time this piece was composed.
“When I began composing this work, I imagined the listener lying in an open field – the earth in total stillness,” Macens said. “I imagined them gazing up at the night sky, watching as it glowed with millions of bright shining stars. I pondered, what is the space between stars? Is this space empty? Is this space silent? Could this space be charged with the energy of those who are no longer with us?”
The Space Between Stars was written as part of Macens’ participation in the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s inaugural National Women Composers’ Development (now called Composing Women) program (2016-17). As part of this program, she was able to spend two days working with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Hobart last year. Composers Maria Grenfell and Matthew Hindson, provided guidance to Macens as she workshopped early versions of The Space Between Stars with the orchestra.
Professor Hindson is also included in this year’s Chancellor’s Concert program, with his 1996 work LiteSPEED. This high-energy piece will kick off the night with the pulsing beat of ‘90s techno dance music, demanding speed and stamina from the SCM Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Maestro Eduardo Diazmuñoz.
Other pieces to be played on the night include Ney Rosauro’s Concerto No. 1 for Marimba and Orchestra, to be performed by 2017 Percussion Concerto Competition winner Jing (Nancy) Zheng, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47.
On curating this program, Professor Diazmuñoz said, “The musical and artistic growth of our students is paramount. We always strive to offer them the best possible experiences, including major works and music composed by their own fellow country men and women, including their peers.”
After completing the Composing Women program last year, Ella Macens has been in high demand. She is currently composer in residence with Sydney Children’s Choir where she is creating six new choral works. New works created for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs VOX ensemble and Cranbrook School’s choir will be performed this year at the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Town Hall respectively. This year Macens is also working with the Nationwide Latvian Song Festival, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s National Composer School, The Song Company, Sydney Festival, and the National Carillon Association of Australia, all while teaching three units of study with us at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and completing her Masters studies.
Don’t miss the premiere of The Space Between Stars and the rest of Maestro Eduardo Diazmuñoz’s exciting program at the 2018 Chancellor’s Concert.
Greenway Series: The Chancellor’s Concert
Wednesday 28 March 2018, 6.30pm