Making music at Abbotsleigh



The Abbotsleigh Music Department are thrilled with the musical activity this term and the creativity of Abbotsleigh's students. 


TaikOz inspire with earth-shattering beats!

Abbotsleigh Senior School students were excited to be visited by members of internationally renowned ensemble TaikOz on Monday 16 October. The Peter Duly Concert Hall was filled with the sounds of the different taiko (the Japanese word for ‘drum’). At times the musicians performed from a seated position impressing the audience with their strong core muscles and energetic movements, whilst other pieces required the musicians to play large ‘slung’ drums with the baci (drum sticks) moving at such intense speeds that they became a blur! The physicality of the performance was stunning, at times the musicians resembled martial artists with the visual movements in perfect synchronisation providing drama and life to each strike of the baci








Some lucky students in Year 7 and 8 were given the opportunity to play the shime-daiko led by the TaikOz musicians in a piece written by one of the Australian members of the ensemble. This was a wonderful example of traditional world music, combined with contemporary Australian music and Japanese language. 

'I found it fascinating to learn about the rich history and story behind each drum, especially the tree logging story. Last holidays I went to Japan and saw a modern taiko performance. It was different to the traditional performance that I saw at school because it involved a drum kit and pop music. It was interesting to see the development from the traditional version of taiko to what it has become now and the contrast between the two interpretations.' Emily Kamata – Year 8 student.



New Music Festival October 20-21 October

The Abbotsleigh Music Elective students, Symphony Orchestra and School Choir welcomed students from Roseville College, Ascham School and Sydney Grammar to two full days of workshops, rehearsals and performances.

Along with Abbotsleigh’s resident composer Mr. Harry Sdraulig, guest composer Dr. Nicholas Vines and guest conductor Mr. Warren Trevelyan-Jones, students explored the craft and aesthetic of contemporary Australian Art Music.




Abbotsleigh’s resident composer Mr. Harry Sdraulig with the String Quartet. 


Dr. Nicholas Vines 



The Festival focused on giving hands-on experience with the creative process of composing and performing new music. Students studied a new work by Dr. Vines called ‘The Essayist’s Prayer’. Not only did they analyse, deconstruct, query, and explore, they also learned to actually perform it; the world premiere of the work presented on the Saturday afternoon in the Peter Duly Concert Hall. Guest conductor Mr. Warren Trevelyan-Jones led over 200 musicians in a glorious climax of joy and challenge. The work stretched the students in terms of their conceptual understanding of contemporary art music. Not only was it appropriately challenging, but the text (written by Dr. Douglas Wilson) was based on the imagined processes of a high school student when undertaking an English essay assignment. The very tongue-in-cheek lyrics helped students to make personal connections with what is often perceived as an ‘elite’ art-form.

Abbotsleigh was extremely privileged to have such high calibre artists work and perform with our students. 



Dr. Nicholas Vines  

Guest Composer: Dr Vines graduated in 2007 with a PhD from Harvard University, where he taught theory and composition as well as at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before returning to Sydney in 2012. His exceptional experience as a teacher was acknowledged in 2016 when under his mentorship, the Artology Fanfare Competition won the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Music Education. As a composer Dr. Vines has been described as 'riveting' (The New York Times), 'arresting' (The Boston Globe), 'compellingly original' (Boston Phoenix), 'full, extravagant and wild' (Sydney Morning Herald). His works have been performed by the likes of Alarm Will Sound, BMOP, Ensemble Offspring, the Schola Cantorum Gedanesis Chamber Choir, the BT Scottish Ensemble and the Australian Piano Quartet. He has been commissioned by organisations around the world, such as Acacia Quartet, Callithumpian Consort, Firebird Ensemble, Guerilla Opera, Chamber Made Opera, the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra



Mr. Warren Trevelyan-Jones 

Guest Conductor: Mr. Warren Trevelyan-Jones is currently the Head of Music, St James' Church, King Street, Sydney, Director of The Consort of Melbourne, Chorus Master of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Director of the Parsons Affayre and Co-founder of Ensemble Plus Ultra. He began his illustrious singing career as a Choral Scholar and Lay Clerk in Exeter Cathedral Choir, graduating in music at the University in 1988. In 1999 he was appointed Lay Vicar in the Choir of Westminster Abbey, London. Mr. Trevelyan-Jones is also a regular member of many of the leading early music ensembles both in Britain and abroad. These include Vocal Consort Berlin, the Gabrieli Consort, Taverner Consort, Orchestra of the Renaissance, The Kings Consort, Dunedin Consort, Collegium Vocale of Ghent and La Chapelle Royale of Paris. He has also performed with The Sixteen and the Tallis Scholars. He has travelled extensively and appeared on over 60 CD recordings, and on many television and radio broadcasts, and in many of the worlds' leading music festivals and concert halls. 


Wahroonga Food And Wine Festival

'On 29 October, Symphonic Winds girls played in the Wahroonga Food and Wine Festival. It was a great opportunity to be able to showcase the girls’ hard work and dedication to committing time to practice in the ensemble as well as their individual talents.

They played four pieces; Trumpet and Bridges, Carnegie Anthem, Mas Que Nada and Moon River which were each unique due to their different genres and featuring various parts of the ensemble such as the warm tones of the clarinet, cool melodies of the saxophones, the fanfares of the brass and crisp strikes of the snare.

Abbotsleigh’s own pop band also featured; Adjacent Youth, consisting of Amy and Holly Nelson, Garnet Ho and Danielle Huen who played covers of different popular songs. The audience was able to listen to the four girls blending their voices together to create four-part harmony – something that is quite difficult to do! It was an incredible experience for all the girls to be able to perform for the Wahroonga community, representing Abbotsleigh. Congratulations to all of the performers and their teachers!' – Danielle Huen (Year 12, Abbotsleigh)


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