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New Head of Conservatorium recognised with Australia Council grant

Published 07 Mar 2018

This year will be a busy one for new Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music Head and Australia Grant recipient Dr Maria Grenfell.

In addition to the demands of her new position, Dr Grenfell recently secured an Australia Council for the Arts grant of close to $14,000 to compose a 20 minute triple concerto for American trio, the Ivy Street Ensemble.

All members of the trio are part of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the world premiere of the piece will take place in Denver, Colorado.

“It’s a significant grant," Dr Grenfell said.

"I was really surprised and excited to hear I had been successful.”

Having studied composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Dr Grenfell moved to Hobart in 1998.

Her music has been commissioned, performed or recorded by all the major symphony orchestras in Australia and New Zealand, and her chamber music has been played by numerous ensembles in Australia and internationally.

Dr Grenfell said her latest commission, which would take six to eight months to complete, would be a wonderful opportunity to work on a significant composition.

“Composition is my passion,” Dr Grenfell said.

“I’m very fortunate the Colorado commission is for a 20 minute piece which is quite substantial, whereas newer commissions tend to be on the shorter side.

“While it does feel a little bit intimidating, it also gives you a lot more time length in a piece to really develop some ideas.”

The grant covers some soloist fees and travel for the final rehearsals and performance.

“It’s a satisfying moment to sit back and hear the final performance,” Dr Grenfell said.

“I am also really excited because I have never had a commission from an American ensemble before and I know they do things quite differently from a promotion perspective, so I might be giving talks or taking part in meet and greets- I really don’t know yet.”

The American concert season runs from September 2018 to May 2019, so the piece may premiere anytime during that period.

The recent round of Australia Council for the Arts grants for project and career development comprised $6.4 million in funding and supported close to 200 projects, 118 individual artists, 27 groups, and 51 arts organisations.