CURRENT Projects


WITH THE WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ONCE AGAIN

In 2017 I was awarded the Fine Music FM Young Composer Award for my orchestral piece FLIGHT, which was premiered by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in September 2017. I am excited to have been invited to work with the WSO once again…

In 2017 I was commissioned by Jason Catlett to compose a new work for Genevieve Lacey (recorder), Danny Yeadon (baroque cello) and Neal Peres Da Costa (chamber organ) for Sydney Festival 2018. The work, titled The Lake, was premiered in the Siedler Salon Series on January 19, 2018 and was performed again earlier this year by the trio at the Adelaide Festival. The WSO have invited me to orchestrate The Lake for a small string ensemble for performance in their chamber music series concert Bows of Youth taking place at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood on August 4, 2019.

SYDNEY CHILDREN'S CHOIR COMPOSER IN RESIDENCE (2018-19)

I am thrilled to have been invited to fill the role of composer in residence with Sydney Children's Choir! We have teamed up with Sydney Living Museums to explore the history of significant homes and sites across Sydney. From lions and gardens to staircases that wind up to the heavens, these six new works offer an insight into life as it was long ago.

TASMANIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA'S AUSTRALIAN COMPOSERS' SCHOOL (2018-19)

I have just completed my first every concertino (a mini concerto!). The piece, titled Glass Ocean, is for Cor Anglais and Symphony Orchestra and was specifically composed for Dinah Woods under the guidance of composers Matthew Hindson and Paul Stanhope, and conductor Elena Schwartz.

Glass Ocean is about the texture and fluidity of water.

Whilst composing this piece I imagined a glass ocean upon which we could walk and gaze down through crystalline beauty at the world below. I imagined the various colours, textures and shapes that would become visible and wondered what it would be like if we could slice the ocean in half and observe the activity within without the water flowing over, as if looking through a large glass window at the aquarium.

In September this year I will head down to Hobart to workshop this new piece the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra as part of their Australian Composers' School. The work will be performed in Hobart on Wednesday 25th September.


RECENT PROJECTS


MUSIC FOR MASSED CHOIR

I've always been passionate about my Latvian herritage, and so it was particularly special to have been asked to compose a new choral work in celebration of Latvia's centenary for performance in Riga during the XXVI Latvian Song and Dance Festival (2018). The work, titled 'Vecmamina Svesuma' ('Grandmother in a Foreign Land') was a collaboration with my grandmother Aina Andersons who wrote the lyrics for the piece. The work was premiered in Riga on July 2, 2018 by a choir of 1,000 Latvians who reside outside of Latvia. This was a truly special experience and the work has continued to develop since this time…

Earlier this month, Toronto hosted the XV Canadian Latvian Festival of Song and Dance where Vecmamina svesuma was once again performed by a choir of over 1,000 singers, this time accompanied by orchestra! The performance took place at Maple Leaf Gardens on Saturday 6th July, 2019.

Click below to hear a snippet of the performance, before all the power went out!

THE SYDNEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PERFORMS

THE SPACE BETWEEN STARS

On Wednesday 8th May the Sydney Symphony Orchestra performed my symphonic work The Space Between Stars as part of their Meet The Music series in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. Talk about a bucket list tick! The orchestra played the work superbly under the baton of Jessica Cottis. The Space Between Stars is about my love of the night sky as well as the grief of losing my grandfather Arturs. The work was originally composed for a workshop opportunity with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s inaugural National Women Composers’ Development Program (2016-17) and was premiered by the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s symphony Orchestra in March 2018 (listen here). A snippet of a review from Peter McCallum in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Its strength was the skill and polish with which Macens balanced and drew colours from the orchestra allied with expressive sincerity.”

Photo: Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Photo: Sydney Symphony Orchestra

CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2019

Quite some time ago I received an exciting email from Roland Peelman, Artistic Director of the Canberra International Music Festival, asking if I would be interested in composing a new work for CIMF 2019. Under commission by Arn Sprogis, Margot Woods and Irena Sprogis, I was introduced to Berlin's Sonic.art Saxophone Quartet, for whom I composed my first ever sax quartet piece titled Ripple. The premiere took place at Gorman House, ACT on Tuesday 7th May, 2019 and the ensemble were absolutely fantastic to work with! A big thank you again to Arn, Margot and Irene for supporting new music.

Ella+Macens+CIMF

UPCOMING Projects


THE NATIONAL CARILLON (2018/19)

In 2011 I explored writing for the world's largest instrument - the carillon - for the first time with my piece 'The Transfixed Walls', which was awarded second place in the inaugural National Carillon Competition of Australia. I have recently received a commission from the National Carillon Association of Australia to once again compose for this enormous instrument, this time with solo soprano included.