Moving Air Cover

Concert Program

Gustav Holst - trans. James Curnow

Jupiter (from The Planets Op.32)

Julie Giroux


Andrew Boss

A La Machaut


John Williams arr. by Robert W. Smith

Harry Potter Symphonic Suite

Eric Whitacre

Godzilla Eats Las Vegas!

Percy Aldridge Grainger

Irish Tune from County Derry

Jodie Blackshaw


Program Notes

Jupiter (from The Planets, Op. 32) (1914)

Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934), transcribed by James Curnow

Jupiter (the Bringer of Jollity) is the fourth movement in Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite, originally written for orchestra between 1914 and 1916. Holst himself described this suite as “a series of mood pictures” which are together said to depict the progression of life. Jupiter illustrates the radiant happiness, hopefulness and frivolity. The introduction is a syncopated dance, influenced by English folk music traditions. This is then contrasted by the famous chorale theme, which pays tribute to Holst’s more traditional school-singing past. The hymn is more widely known as the tune I vow to thee my country, as Holst set these words to the same tune may years later.

The arrangement you hear tonight is a transcription by James Curnow, and places the original orchestra work into the wind band setting.

© Andrew Wu

Outlander (2010)

Julie Giroux (born 1961)

Outlander is a musical odyssey which explores emotions and states in the extreme; fear, total isolation, violence, pain, hope, relief and in the end, tears of joy and triumph. Full of textures and dynamic contrasts this work is extremely descriptive with the help of extensive melodic percussion and piano parts. The percussion and piano pads create a wonderful pallet which at times is dark and foreboding, even primal. Other times it helps creates a melodic texture that is sadly beautiful. Outlander explores what it is to be both human and alien with an orchestration and form that is totally freestyle.

The story: This work reflects the futuristic musical journey of a young heroine named Nanami who has recently graduated from the Space Academy. Her first mission into space turns into a catastrophic event forcing everyone on the ship to abandon via personal escape pods. Nanami unfortunately gets sucked into a wormhole and comes out millions of miles away from home. Low on fuel and supplies Nanami lands on a planet with oxygen and carbon based life forms where she is an alien, captured and treated with hostility at best. Her only saving grace? On this planet, all of the creatures can hear her thoughts and she can hear theirs. The dominant race of this planet does not share this gift. Nanami uses this talent to her advantage and with the help of these creatures escapes, flies back through the wormhole and returns safely to earth.

© Julie Giroux

A La Machaut (2015)

Andrew Boss (born 1988)

A La Machaut integrates thematic material from 3 works of the great Medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut and adds a colorfully modern touch. The piece opens with a slow introduction using melodic and harmonic material from his polyphonic chanson Puis qu’en oubli (“Since I am forgotten”). The upbeat percussion transitions the piece to the main material, quoting the melody of his secular virelai, Douce jame jolie (“Sweet lovely lady”) – beginning in the bassoon and passed around to numerous instruments in a soloistic and variation-like manner throughout the piece. This piece also uses material from the opening measures, the triplum voice, and the cantus firmus from the Kyrie to Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame, which are labeled appropriately in the score. A reflective middle section brings back the slow material from the introduction while maintaining the upbeat rhythms introduced earlier in the percussion.  A short recapitulation revisits the virelai in several contrasting textures, leading to a climactic variation with shimmering winds, blasting percussion and low brass. A final tutti variation harmonizes the virelai and closes the piece. The horns outline the parallel 5th motion of the #4-5 and #7-1 scale degrees in the last two measures, a cadential signature for many of the Medieval composers.

© Andrew Boss

Harry Potter Symphonic Suite (2001)

(from the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

John Williams (born 1932), arranged by Robert W. Smith

Robert W. Smith’s setting of the score to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone features six of the film’s most memorable themes.

The work opens with Hedwig’s Theme, who is musically portrayed by the celeste, a luminous little instrument that is capable of producing crystalline, pearling tones at dazzling speeds. The celeste begins alone but soon is joined by the flutes and clarinets as the dizzying pace needed to defy gravity and achieve flight.

Nimbus 2000 is musically portrayed by flutes, clarinets, saxophones and bassoons as an ingenious form of transportation, with extraordinary leaps and astonishing agility. Hogwarts Forever stately describes Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an august institution that has trained and taught young wizards for centuries. The noble and stately French horn section presents the musical anthem with support from the rest of the brass. The pomp and ceremony of Quidditch can be described by the brass section with its tubas, euphoniums, trombones, horns and heraldic trumpets.

Following the simple and beautiful theme Leaving Hogwarts, the score concludes with Harry’s Wondrous World capturing the youthful imagination and exuberance in all of us.

© Robert W. Smith

Godzilla Eats Las Vegas! (1996)

Eric Whitacre (born 1970)

Godzilla Eats Las Vegas was commissioned by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Wind Symphony, Thomas G. Leslie, conductor, and received its premiere on November 28th, 1996.

Here is a script that the audience follows while it’s being performed:

Part One

It is a Bright and Sunny day as the sequined curtain rises on tinsel town, and the excitement of a new day filled with the possibility of The Big Payoff is practically palpable. The band kicks off the show in high gear and all is well as we suddenly hear:

A lone shakuhachi flute usher the arrival of something really VERY bad.

A relaxed rhumba. showgirls blissfully jiggle.

Morse code signals the confirmation of approaching doom.

The players finish off their third set and head for the bar; outside we hear:

Oh no, oh no, oh no, it’s:

Godzilla! Glorious Godzilla!

VARIOUS QUICK CUTS (stock footage)
Godzilla destroys cars, screaming tourists, ect.

The band, quasi Greek Chorus, calls for Godzilla to Mambo.

Godzilla mambos, casually crushing hysterical Vegans without missing a step.

A tiny terrier barking bravely, then:

Demolishing everything in his path… not even the doggie escapes!

As Godzilla heads down the strip, searching relentlessly for:

CLOSE UP (stock footage)
Frank Sinatra (Stomped!)

CLOSE UP (stock footage)
Wayne Newton (Stamped!)

CLOSE UP (stock footage)
Liberace (Stepped upon!)

The Village Gods destroyed, Godzilla continues his carnage until the City of Sin is leveled!

Part Two

A fearless army of Elvises (Elvi) appear in the distance, formation marching through the littered streets

The Elvi attack, using bombers, missiles, ect.

One wicked laugh from Godzilla and the Elvi scatter like mice!

QUICK CUT (stock footage)
The Sphinx sits outside The Luxor, looking seductive in a Mae West sort of way.

Godzilla takes one look and his eyes pop out of his head.

The Sphinx (Sphinxtress?) seduces the Reptile, who instantly falls in love and begins to…

…tango with her.

As they dance, the Elvi slowly regroup and head for the:

QUICK CUT (stock footage)
Pirate ships at Treasure Island

The Elvi approach the dancing monster and launch a ferocious volley of cannonballs directly at him.

The cannonballs find their mark, and Godzilla:

Falls to the ground, annihilated. The Elvi are triumphant!

The lounge is open again, and the city of Las Vegas toasts the victory. The scene climaxes with:

VARIOUS CUTS (stock footage)
People happy, tearful, ect. Stock footage, stock music.

A dark, ominous, and very familiar sound…

Godzilla lives! Godzilla lives! Complete terror (possible sequel?).

The Show is over. The End.


Irish Tune From County Derry (1918)

Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882 – 1961)

Irish Tune From County Derry is one of Percy Grainger’s most popular works, familiar not only to Classical-music audiences but also to film and television audiences worldwide. Today this masterpiece of harmonisation and orchestration is now an essential part of the wind band repertoire throughout the world and an evergreen favourite for audiences everywhere.

This wind arrangement was first composed and published in 1918 for the Army Band at Governor’s Island, New York, as No. 20 of his British Folk Song Settings, and is ‘lovingly and reverently dedicated to the memory of Edvard Grieg’. Grainger evidently was fully aware of the potential of this stunningly beautiful music presented here. The work exists in no less than seven substantially different versions for combinations ranging from chorus with optional piano through full orchestra, wind band, a harmonium with accompanying instrumental and/or vocal ensemble. Although the lush orchestral arrangement popularised by Leopold Stokowski from 1949 remains popular, the distinctively idiomatic scoring tones of the wind band arrangement seems to convey Grainger’s genius more vividly.

© John Michael Cooper

Twist (2013)

Jodie Blackshaw (born 1971)

Twist, composed for wind orchestra, is inspired by the shape, spirit and history of Australia’s magnanimous waterway, the Murray River. The work is divided into six sections, each is subtitled:

I – Survival. This powerful opening was stimulated by the indigenous story of ‘Tiddalick the Frog’. There are assorted versions of this dreamtime fable but essentially, it tells the story of a colossal, greedy amphibian who consumes the entire river without any thought for the inhabitants of his bionetwork. This forthright, almost violent introduction into your journey along the river is driven by bass and percussion; it seeks to paint Tidalick’s volatile movements whilst he selfishly gorges on the region’s lifeblood.

II – Reflection speaks of the majestic beauty the river displays at dawn and dusk. At times, the water is so very calm a perfect mirror image of the surrounding landscape is reflected on the water’s surface, bringing a sensation of inner peace to any spirit who is fortunate enough to experience such splendour. The elegance of the vibraphone pitted against a meandering flute solo and an unpredictable bass line reflects the stillness of the river but also the hidden undercurrents that lurk just beneath the surface.

III – Discovery reveals the arrival of the European settlers and the introduction of paddleboats in the mid-1800s. These steam-powered beasts enabled essential supplies to be delivered to farmers working the land in arid, remote regions. The magnificence of the towering cliffs must have been an awesome sight to newcomers navigating this treacherous waterway. These discoveries inspire a chorus of brass rising above busy, interlocking woodwinds and pulsating percussion, transforming into a glittering, joyous melody that echoes the enthusiasm and spirits of the paddle boats themselves. Just as dawn is announced by a chorus of kookaburras, so to is this movement but instead of a recording, the call of idiosyncratic Australian birds is emulated here by the trumpet section using various playing techniques and plunger mules.

IV – Obsession. Following the paddleboats is a bush landscape, painting the timbral colours experienced at the campfire at dusk. This is usurped by a sleazy late night tango featuring at first the soprano the baritone saxophone. The river is as deceiving as it is beautiful. Whilst the calm and innocent surface has lured many into the Murray’s embrace, precarious snags, unseen creatures and treacherous undercurrents present many hazards. Even with experience the Murray still makes those in love with her unable to resist her temptations.

V – Carnevale is the Italian term for carnival or festival and is used here to capture the Mediteranian  culture in the South West regions of NSW. In the late 1940s and early 1950s hundreds of Italian people migrated to Australia and thanks to the development of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and many years of strenuous labour, they helped to transform otherwise unworkable land into thriving viticultural regions. Whilst many despise the changes that man has brought to the Murray and her surrounding landscape, no-one can deny that these immigrants have promoted positive change in Australia. The melodic material used in this section is inspired by the Italian folk dance the ‘Tarantula’ and is simply bursting with energy and joy.

VI – Ascension. Through all of these twists and turns the piece comes back to where we started using material from ‘Survival’. Not only does this implicate the lifecycle of the ecosystem, it also hopes to challenge all listeners to consider this – how do we successfully sustain our beloved Murray River? As it now not only affects the natural inhabitants, it encompasses all who prosper from her bounty, and that means you too.

© Jodie Blackshaw

Sydney University Wind Orchestra

The Sydney University Wind Orchestra is an award winning symphonic wind orchestra that performs a wide repertoire, specialising in modern wind band music from the late 20th and 21st centuries. The band is very active, giving regular concerts, collaborating with other musical ensembles and holding a training camp each year.

SUWO prides itself on its musical excellence, but also on its friendly, social environment. Winner of “Best Small Club” for 5 continuous years from 2006-2010, shortlisted for the Dave Burnett Award for Best Club with 100+ members in 2013 and 2014 and winner of “Best Website” in 2012 and 2013. Our musicians enjoy many fun filled social events, from dinner gatherings, to bowling, Bunnings BBQs fundraising days and musical outings.

Executive Committee

President – Lauren Vickery
Vice President – Katrina Wu
Treasurer – Emily Dirckze
Secretary – Emma Koch
Publicity Officer – Sam Cheng
Librarian – Andrew Wu
IT Officer – Georgia Harrington
Equipment Manager – Rebekah Bradshaw
General Executives – Holly Lockhart and Mitchell Togher

Conductor and Musical Director – Cathy Chan

Cathy Chan is a freelance conductor and music educator working in Sydney’s Inner West. She has a Masters degree in Conducting from the NSW Conservatorium of Music and works regularly with school and community groups. Cathy conducts and coordinates the Sydney Southeast Orchestra, which runs annually, and is also a member of the Create East team, and regularly works with the Department of Education Arts Unit. She studied composition with Peter Sculthorpe, Ann Boyd and Ross Edwards and regularly writes and arranges music for schools and students. She has also been NSW President and National Secretary of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association. Cathy was a guest lecturer in conducting at the University of NSW for over a decade and remains a passionate advocate for conductor development. Cathy was musical director of the Sydney Homotones for 21 years. She has conducted performances at the Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Conservatorium and on a ferry that cruised around Sydney Harbour. Cathy plays many instruments but especially loves the euphonium and tuba and has helped coordinate International Tuba Day events and International Tuba Conferences. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys walking her dog, baking cakes, vegetarian yum cha and chocolate.