2017 winner Andrew Keller with Ensemble Offspring

Merlyn Myer Music Commission 2019

Melbourne Recital Centre is pleased to announce the 3rd Merlyn Myer Music Commission.

Established by the Myer family in memory of Dame Merlyn Myer (1900-1982), the initiative was founded to support one accomplished professional female composer in Australia biennially. The commission was awarded to Sally Greenaway in 2015, and to Andrea Keller in 2017.

In 2019 the Merlyn Myer Music Commission will commission an Australian female composer to create a new musical work. The commission has been designed to provide significant creative freedom to an accomplished professional, foster her artistic development and provide an opportunity for her new work to be performed and heard in an outstanding performance setting.

The selected composer will be invited to write music of any genre, up to 30 minutes in length and involve instrumentation of flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello and others, for up to eight players. The work will be performed by Syzygy Ensemble in 2019. The premiere performance will take place in Melbourne Recital Centre’s Salon. An archival recording of the performance or rehearsals will be made available to the composer for her use.

The award will consist of cash, a performance of the new work in the Salon in 2019, and travel costs if necessary. The composer would use the cash to pay herself for her composition – Melbourne Recital Centre will cover the cost of the musicians for rehearsal calls and the performance. Travel costs will be provided for the composer if applicable, opening the commission up to female composers living and working anywhere in Australia. It’s expected that the composer and ensemble will support student engagement through students’ attendance at a rehearsal or a workshop session during the period of the project.

This commission opportunity is open to all Australian female composers. The winning composer will be selected by a panel including representatives of Melbourne Recital Centre, the Myer family, and industry experts. Expressions of interest are sought from eligible applicants no later than Wednesday 29 August 2018 at 12pm AEST.

The Merlyn Myer Music Commission is funded by The Aranday Foundation and The Yulgilbar Foundation.

Key Dates

EOIs open
27 July 2018

EOIs close
Wednesday 29 August 2018, 12pm

Successful candidate notified
by Friday 7 September 2018

Development, composition, rehearsal period
September 2018 – May 2019

Performance in the Salon
Monday 27 May 2019

Key Aims

While women are well represented in the performance streams of Australia’s music conservatoria, the same cannot be said of the compositional streams. This imbalance continues in Australia’s professional music sector, where women composers are significantly under-represented, both in terms of commissions of new work and inclusion of their work in the performance canon overall.

The Centre expects that this Commission will achieve:

  • An unparalleled opportunity for a professional Australian female composer to extend her artistic and compositional practice. The commission will be composer-led with minimal restrictions on genre, length of the work and number and diversity of musical instruments.
  • A public performance for an invited audience that includes key industry representatives, to support career development.
  • An archival recording available for promotional use with agents, concert promoters and musicians.
  • The opportunity to focus public and media attention on the under-representation of female composers and their work.

The project’s success will be measured by:

  • Feedback from the composer and performers on the contribution the experience has made to their artistic and career development
  • The level of attention the project can bring to the under-representation of female composers in professional performance practice in Australia
  • The ability of the Centre to program the work again in subsequent seasons to increase the profile of the composer, the work and the Merlyn Myer Music Commission.
  • Audience feedback about the work itself, particularly from key industry representatives attending the premiere performance

Expressions of Interest

EOIs are to be submitted via the link below. Applicants are asked to submit their biography (100-200 words), a statement about the proposed project (100-200 words), links to recent music/video files, contact details, with the option to upload a one-page PDF giving further information about her ideas for the project.


Please direct any questions to Sarah Wade, Artistic Planning Coordinator at sarah.wade@melbournerecital.com.au