At the Festival, you can always expect the unexpected. We are passionate about introducing new music to the world and each year we invite creative artists right into the heart of the Festival. 

Commissioning bold and original music is an essential part of connecting the present with the past and the future, engendering debate and discussion, making new discoveries and most importantly, bringing together the best creative minds. We believe new work is the only way of ensuring that our art form stays alive and kicking. Each new piece of music the Festival commissions, creates an important bond between our Festival crowd (a very discerning and informed group of music lovers) and Festival musicians (a forward-looking and a well-connected bunch).

Each year, the Festival invites one composer to be its Composer-In-Residence. Why? To provide composers with the opportunity to interact with performers and  audiences. And, equally important, for performers and audiences to interact with real, live, modern day composers.

Last but not least, creating new music brings a lot of joy. It is exhilarating to see a small idea grow into something substantial and lasting. And the best thing? We get to share it with you. 

Our 2015 Composer-in-Residence, Dutch-Australian composer Kate Moore recently (2017) won the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for her work The Dam. She is the first female composer in the history of the award to receive this honour. The Dam was commissioned by the Festival with the support of Betty Beaver, a long term Festival supporter.

The Festival’s 2016 Composer-in-Residence was Gerard Brophy, one of Australia’s most internationally successful composers. Gerard is extraordinarily aligned with different trends in world music, from Latin American samba to Indian devotional music and plenty in between.

Find out more about our history of commissioning here.

If you are interested in commissioning a new piece of music, please contact Roland Peelman, our Artistic Director on 02 6230 5880 or email Please note, all of our staff are part-time and may not be immediately available to answer your call.  Please leave a message or send an email and Roland will be more than happy to call you back.

commissioning - matched funding

Commissioning and promoting new Australian music

Each year we commission at least one major new work from our Composer in Residence, as well as works from emerging composers. 

Four of our wonderful existing donors wish to invite other Festival patrons to share the joy of commissioning a new work. They have pledged up to $10,000 for 2018 to match contributions from new donors.  Find out more.