About the music
My first piece 'Flying' was written for the Castle Cove Public School Band in the late 1990's. I had trouble finding suitable music for my smallish unbalanced group to play, so I decided to write my own piece and custom design it to suite the abilities of the players. (The version available here was revised in 2012). The kids in the band really liked it. It also had some great feedback from adjudicators at band festivals so I wrote another piece the following year - 'Sideshow Alley' (revised 2007). This piece ended up being a bit hard for my primary school kids but they had a lot of fun playing it anyway. It's more suitable for a junior high band. I wrote another piece 'Cartoon Caper' the year after, but it proved too difficult and we never performed it. I need to revise this piece one day, it'll be a fun grade 3. A bit of a gap to 2007 when I wrote 'Rock 101' (revised 2012) for my beginner band to play at the NSW Schools' Band Festival.
I didn't write anything serious again until 2010. I was becoming frustrated with the difficulty of the beginner (grade .5) pieces by the major US publishing companies that were being chosen for the set list of our Yamaha Band Festival here in Sydney. They were seemingly becoming more complex each year. Many band directors were finding it difficult just to get their beginner bands - usually year 3 students - to play through these at the festival in June. Certainly a high level of performance was not possible. [for the overseas readers our school year in Australia starts at the end of January so thats less than 5 months. A usual amount of rehearsal time would include 1 or 2 1hour band rehearsals, plus 1 private or group lesson per week]. Correct me if I'm wrong but most beginner bands in the USA are older than 3rd grade - right? - I'm sure these pieces are much more suited to the beginner band programs in the US. Anyway, I wrote a beginner piece 'Heroes March' and submitted it to the festival organisers for the 2011 Dickson's Music Yamaha Band Festival. They selected it for the list along with 3 or 4 other published pieces which I thought was great! But what I wasn't expecting was that it was performed by 34 of the 50 bands in the novice section! I think I sold about 50 copies that year purchased mostly by schools in Sydney's North.
With this success I wrote and submitted another piece for the following year (2012) - 'Remember The ANZACs' which had similar success to 'Heroes March'. I was also commissioned to write a piece for Knox Grammar Preparatory School (a leading Sydney private school for boys) - 'Hard Knox' (exclusively for Knox). And, I was also invited to be the composer for the North Shore Band Festival. This festival is for primary school bands only. They commission an Australian composer to write a test piece for the A Grade section (grade 2.5), so I wrote 'Tales Of The Sea'. I needed 4 other test pieces for the other grades. So I wrote 'Tumba Rumba' to fill the gap.
Following the success of the 2012 North Shore Band Festival I was commissioned to write 'A Grand Ocassion' for Roseville Public School for their Centenary celebration in 2013. More commissions followed with Knox Grammar Symphonic Wind Orchestra requesting a challenging grade 4 - 'In Pursuit Of Excellence' in 2014 and in 2015 Matthew Pearce Public School requested a grade .5 for their beginner band - 'Settler's March'. In 2016 I was again invited to be the composer for the North Shore Band Festival and 'Sci - Fi' was the commissioned work. 'Blytheswood Overture' was commissioned by Warrawee Public School to celebrate the band programs 30th year.
I completed two new pieces in 2017. 'Schaefer's Old Time Dances' for the Forbes Town and District Band and 'Crestwood March' for Crestwood Public School beginner band. Matthew Pearce Public School commissioned a second piece in 2018. This time a grade 1.5 piece for their intermediate band. 'A Story To Tell' had it's premiere at the NSW Schools Band Festival in August. In 2019 'Danzon' was commissioned by the North Shore Primary Schools Band Festival and was premiered by nine bands.
2021 sees the availability of 'Amazing Grace' (grade 3), 'O Magnum Mysterium' a transcription of the work by Tomas Luis de Victoria (grade 4), as well as my first piece for orchestra. 'Suite Scotland' (grade 2.5) commissioned by Knox Grammar Preparatory School has three movements - Air, Strathspey and Reel, with versions for Full Orchestra and String Orchestra. 'Marche Militaire' (grade 2.5) I arranged for my Senior Concert Band at Beecroft Public School.