Composer Alex Turley is the 2024 recipient of the Layton Emerging Composer Fellowship, as announced by Music Performance UNSW this morning.

Alex Turley

Alex Turley. Image © Keith Saunders.

The Fellowship, valued at $10,000, engages a composer to write one small-scale and one large-scale chamber work under the Australia Ensemble UNSW’s artistic development program. Working across a year, the Fellow will also receive mentorship opportunities from the Australia Ensemble, Artistic Chair Paul Stanhope and external composers.

“I am honoured to be the 2023-24 Layton Emerging Composer Fellow. This is a valuable chance for me to refine my craft by writing for some of Australia’s most accomplished chamber musicians,” said Turley

“This Fellowship, now in its sixth year, has fostered the creation of a substantial body of contemporary music from emerging voices, and I am excited to be able to contribute to that legacy.”

The Fellowship is yet another accolade in Turley’s career. This year, he received an early-career Creative and Performance Leadership Fellowship from the Forrest Research Foundation, which sees an 18-month long academic appointment at a university in Western Australia with a salary and allowances for research and accommodation.

Alex Turley standing. Photo supplied

He was the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s 2022 Young Composer in Residence, and won the 2021 Arcadia Winds Composition Prize. He is also a prolific arranger, having worked for artists including Paul Grabowsky, Ben Folds, Rüfüs Du Sol, Ali McGregor, the Hoodoo Gurus, Genesis Owusu, Ngaiire and more.

“For me, it’s about more than adding the odd orchestral flourish or decorating what’s already there,” Turley told Limelight in March. “I want to get into the structure of a song and take it to a new place.”

In 2021, Turley collaborated with Maningrida elders and Ripple Effect Band for the work Barra-róddjiba. He also recently saw the premiere of Agam, an orchestral suite created in collaboration with Sangam music collective and performed by the MSO. 

“Alex Turley’s effective and idiomatic writing for the gamut of orchestral instruments translated evocative concepts, such as breath and the refraction of light, into a focussed expression of musical ideas ranging from pulsating energy to contemplative stasis,” said the adjudication panel.

Previous recipients of the Fellowship include Nicole Murphy, Harry Sdraulig, Ian Whitney and Elizabeth Younan; composer Angus Davison received the 2022–23 Fellowship. The Fellowship is supported by Emeritus Professor Roger Layton and Merrilyn Layton.

More about the 2024 Layton Fellowship can be found here.

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