Compose Queer

What is Compose Queer?

Our friend Ciara Hadley. Photographs by @audreymichael_photography

Compose Queer is an initiative to empower young queer composers. We have sourced four composers, providing them with a paid opportunity to compose for Divisi Chamber Singers and Sally Whitwell. At the heart of this project is the composers themselves. We want to give them the opportunity to write a new piece in a professional context, working with one of Australia’s leading musicians and a live ensemble. The first workshop took place in March 2020, and the first concert was in February 2021. Seeing the success of this program, we have decided to continue the Compose Queer initiative as part of our Ensemble’s core goals. As such, we will launch our debut album in March 2022 of the commissions from the original concert season and an addition work by Caerwen Martin.

Although there is a thriving amateur queer music scene of community organizations and hobby musicians, there is limited opportunity for composers to express their queerness at a professional level. With this in mind, our project has two goals. Firstly, to do just that, empower four composers with an opportunity to be as queer as they desire and express it without the restrictions that often limit ameteur composers in commercial briefs. Secondly, raise awareness of queer issues in classical music to the broader community. If we want this to be a professional standard project Divisi needs to pay these composers in a meaningful way for the professional standard work they give us.

The fantastic Sally Whitwell

To achieve this we will provide a $600 fee to each of the four composers and have organised a set of workshops. This will culminate in a concert at Tempo Rubato. The campaign raised $4990 which will go most of the way towards the concert, and fees for the composers and musicians.