Music Ensembles

Ensembles You Can Join

Open to all UNSW students by audition only: UNSW Orchestra, Burgundian Consort, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Jazz Conjunto (T2 only) and Tango Ensemble (T2 only). 

Open to all UNSW students no audition required: Collegium Musicum Choir and UNSW Wind Symphony.

Open to any UNSW students through the courses BA Performance Labs A/MUSC1708 (12UOC) or Music Ensemble/MUSC4706 (6UOC), as well as all UNSW BMus students: 

Audition or Submission required: Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Balkan Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensemble (T2 & T3), Collegium Musicum Choir (T1, T3), Guitar Ensemble, Intermediate Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Conjunto, Sound Lab Live (T3 only) UNSW Wind Symphony.

No Audition required: Balinese Gamelan, Fundamentals of Improvisation, Handbells Ensemble, Jazz Composition Ensemble, Jazz Keyboard Ensemble, Sound Lab Studio and West African Drums. 

Performance Lab Students 

Students enrolled in a performance lab course must participate in an ensemble as a course requirement. These students must be aware that they need to attend 80% of ensemble classes as they would any other SAM class in order to meet the course requirements. These students will do part checking in Weeks 10 or 11, depending on the ensemble. 

Students must also register/audition for an ensemble during O-Week as all ensembles start in Week 1. If students find themselves not signed up to an ensemble by Week 1, they must contact their convenor immediately. 

Below are details of how to sign up, or audition for each ensemble for Trimester 2021. 

Most ensembles will have a public performance that will take place at a time that differs from the usual rehearsal time. All participants in the ensemble are expected to attend this performance. Your ensemble director should be able to inform you of the date and time of this performance at the first rehearsal or earlier. 

Ensemble Director in T1:  Alister Spence

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursday 4pm-6pm

Jazz Students MUST Read - 

Entry for new members is by email audition on or before Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

This ensemble explores established and new and exciting trends in jazz music and its many stylistic offshoots. It is intended for students who are experienced in jazz improvisation and have some practical performance experience.

Vocalists and instrumentalists on any instrument are welcome in this ensemble.

Ensemble members will gain insight and experience both as a soloist and as a member of a contemporary jazz ensemble.

Pieces will be chosen performed in the ensemble from standard and contemporary jazz and jazz-related repertoire. Original works are welcomed!

The Advanced Jazz Ensemble works in a supportive and mutually encouraging environment.

Previous members of Advanced Jazz Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Alister Spence by email on or before Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble.

New applicants should submit their audition to Alister via email as an MP3.

Audition requirements:

12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • 1 chorus of melody
  • 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence
  • 1 chorus of melody

Drummers should play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)
  • 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form
  • 1 chorus of melody

Ensemble members are expected to:

1. Practise written parts

2. Prepare for any improvised solos

3. Listen to recordings of the works being studied

4. Attend all classes punctually

Ensemble Directors: Mara Kiek and Llew Kiek

Sign up: email your interest to Mara Kiek

Schedule: weeks 1-10, Tuesday 4pm-6pm

In the Balkan Ensemble course, for both singers and instrumentalists, students will learn about characteristic elements of Balkan folk music, particularly the complex rhythms and harmonies that uniquely identify the music of this region. There will be a focus on the vocal technique required for authentic performance of Bulgarian traditional singing, and plenty of opportunities for rhythm comping and traditional modal and contemporary improvisation for instrumentalists and vocalists.

Please note, all participants will be required to sing as part of the training. The course is run by two of Australia’s most influential world music pioneers.

REGISTRATIONS

Registrations will open in January 2021

Join the Burgundian Consort: Auditions | Music Performance (unsw.edu.au)

Date: Tuesday February 9, 9.00am

Location: G14, Robert Webster Building

Audition For the Burgundian Consort in 2020.

The Burgundian Consort has existed as an elite arm of the Collegium Musicum Choir for many years (since about 1985). It includes only a small number of singers (12-18), mostly (but not exclusively) undergraduate music students and sings challenging, unaccompanied repertoire.

All members of the Burgundian Consort are required to audition.

Individual auditions and group auditions will take place between on Tuesday 11 February.

Please note there is a compulsory group audition following your individual audition.

Please be prepared to sing and complete:

  • One piece to sing unaccompanied
  • Part singing
  • Sight reading
  • Aural assessment

Rehearsals are each Monday during the academic term, 4:00-6:00pm in G16, Robert Webster Building UNSW.

 

Non-Academic Enquiries: Please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

New Members

Wednesday 10 - Thursday 11 February 2021, 9:00am-5:00pm

If you are a new member, you will need to undertake a short voice placement in order for us to determine which voice part you will sing with (i.e if you are a Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass). Registrations for voice placements will open in January 2021.

Existing Members

There is no need to take another voice placement. Registrations will open in January 2021.

REGISTRATION:

Join Collegium Musicum Choir: Voice Placements | Music Performance (unsw.edu.au)

Non-Academic Enquiries:Please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

 

Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm. Online

Sign up: Email ensemble director Sandy Evans to sign up. 

Jazz Students MUST Read - 

This is a 2 hour performance class that explores the 'how to' of improvisation in a practical setting. 

No prior knowledge of improvisation is necessary, however participants in this ensemble are expected to be able to play their instruments with some proficiency, and to be able to read music. 

The ensemble will perform together in an extended rhythm section and melody instruments workshop setting, with the repertoire being chosen primarily from the jazz tradition though not limited to that. 

The harmonic and melodic structure of the pieces will be analysed and scalic/ modal possibilities suggested. Each student will be given an opportunity to explore these ideas in the performance of the piece(s). Pointers will also be given on group performance, 'groove', dynamics etc. 

Ensemble Director: Janet Agostino  

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm, Webster 331 

Audition Date: TBA, Webster Room 331 (during O-Week)

Students who played in the Guitar Ensemble in 2020 do not need to re-audition. All other students will be required to audition prior to Week 1.  

Please contact the ensemble director Janet Agostino to discuss your intent to audition.  

The UNSW Guitar Ensemble provides a forum for classical guitar students to explore a wide range of repertoire as well as to refine ensemble skills, including sight reading, rhythmic and stylistic accuracy, balance and creating an effective tonal palette. There will be performances scheduled throughout the year and participation in these will form part of the assessment for the course. 

 

Ensemble Director in T1:  Alister Spence

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursday 4pm-6pm

Jazz Students MUST Read - 

Enrolment: Email Alister Spence to sign up. No audition required.

This ensemble is for students who are interested in gaining understanding and experience in jazz composition.

There is no audition or specific entry requirement, but students must email an expression of interest to the ensemble director ASAP, and before Wednesday 3rd February 2021. Please state your instrument and a brief description of any experience you have performing and/or composing jazz. Include your student Id and either your Performance Lab Course Code, or your Ensemble Elective course code.

Students should have a reasonably sound knowledge of music theory, but jazz composition experience is not necessarily a pre-requisite. The ensemble will be both theoretical and practical.

 

 

Ensemble Director: Adrian Lim Klumpes

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm

Jazz Students MUST Read - 

Entry for new members is by email audition on or before Wednesday 3rd February 2021.

This ensemble is for students who already have practical experience in jazz improvisation and a good knowledge of chordal harmony and associated scales/modes. The ensemble is intended to deepen an understanding of jazz improvisational practice through the performance of pieces carefully chosen in a range of jazz related styles. Areas of focus include developing an improvisational language, chord/scale theory, guide tones, jazz voicings, group interaction, effective rhythmic expression and knowledge of repertoire. Vocalists and instrumentalists on any instrument are welcome in this ensemble as long as they have the experience and knowledge to complete the audition requirements set out below.

Auditions for new members will be conducted by email: Please email Adrian at adrianklumpes@gmail.com on or before Wednesday 3rd February

Please state:

  1. Your instrument(s)
  2. Your background (if any) in improvisation
  3. Your Performance Lab Course Code, and whether this will be your Primary Ensemble, or your Ensemble Elective code.
  4. Any other relevant information e.g. any specific improvisatory skills you want to develop, any particular reasons you are interested in this ensemble.

In the same email, please include:

A short (1 to 2 minute) recording of you performing a 12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • 1 chorus of melody
  • 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence
  • 1 chorus of melody

Please send as an MP3.

Drummers play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)
  • 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form
  • 1 chorus of melody

Please send as an MP3.

Previous members of the ensemble do not need to audition. However, they must contact Adrian by email on or before Wednesday 3rd February to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble. Please provide your student Z ID, Performance Lab course code or Ensemble Elective. Please note that numbers are limited due to social distancing requirements, so be sure to contact Adrian ASAP.

Ensemble Convenor: Alister Spence 

Ensemble runs Weeks 1-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm, Webster Room 141 (level 1)


Ensemble Director: 
T1 Casey Golden <casey@caseygolden.com.au>

 

This ensemble is for students who have little or no jazz performance experience, but are keen to learn how to voice chords, accompany effectively and improvise on the piano in a variety of jazz-related styles. Some piano performance ability is required.

By listening to audio examples and studying well-known jazz repertoire the ensemble will gain experience in applying stylistically appropriate chord voicings, bass lines, accompaniment rhythms, modes and scales for improvisation and improvisational approaches, as well as effective ways to interact as an ensemble. Each member will take it in turns performing within the ensemble as bass line players, chordal accompanists, melody players and soloists. Time will be given for individual investigation and skill development as well as ensemble performance.

Students interested in the Jazz Keyboard Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Alister Spence by email on or before Wednesday 3rd February to register.

Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble.

N.B. in T1 2021 the ensemble will be capped at 8 people due to COVID-Safe Distancing protocols.

Please email Alister if you have any queries.

Runs in Terms 1, 2 and 3

Ensemble Director in T1: Ellen Kirkwood <ellen.kirkwood@gmail.com>

Ensemble runs Weeks 1-5, 7-10, TBA

UNSW Jazz Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble that plays jazz big band repertoire in a range of styles. Some Australian compositions are included in the repertoire. An exciting aspect of the group’s activities is premiering UNSW student compositions. The orchestra performs a concert at the end of each term.

Previous experience playing jazz and/or improvising is helpful but is not a prerequisite. Sight-reading ability is required on all instruments.

Brass players from any background are particularly encouraged to apply.

Jazz Orchestra membership is open to a broad of instrumentalists.

Previous members of Jazz Orchestra are not required to audition. However, they must contact Ellen Kirkwood by email on or before Wednesday 3rd February. Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble.

New applicants should submit their audition to Ellen Kirkewood via email as an MP3.

Audition requirements:

12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • 1 chorus of melody
  • 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence
  • 1 chorus of melody

Drummers should play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

  • Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)
  • 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form
  • 1 chorus of melody

Students are expected to:

1. Practise written parts

2. Prepare for any improvised solos in their book

3. Listen to recordings of the works being studied

4. Attend all classes punctually

 

Ensemble Director: Sonya Lifschitz 

Expressions of interest to audition for the ensemble should be emailed to the ensemble director in O-week of Term 1. 

Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10, Day/Time TBA

The Ensemble's mission is to INSPIRE and PROVOKE both the music makers and the listeners to examine, broaden and re-define the boundaries of music and the musical experience in the 21st century. 

UNSW NEW MUSIC COLLECTIVE was formed in 2018 under the directorship of the internationally-acclaimed pianist Dr. Sonya Lifschitz. The ensemble is dedicated to the creation and performance of new work as well as experimental and concert music of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Currently, the ensemble consists of 8 members who bring exceptional performance, improvisation, arranging and compositional skills to enable creation and performance of advanced and challenging contemporary (art) music repertoire in curated, imaginative contexts. In 2018/2019, the ensemble performed: 

Workers Union (1975) by Louis Andriessen; Changing Light (2002) by Kaija Saariaho; Tuning Meditation by Pauline Oliveros; Opera with Objects (1997) by Alvin Lucier; The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942) by John Cage; Action Music 2 (2018) by Erik Griswold; Coming Together (1971) and Attica (1972) by Frederic Rzewski, and Facing the Danger (1986) by Vincent Plush among others. 

Membership of the UNSW New Music Collective is by audition only, and is based on demonstrated high level performance skills, interest in contemporary (20th and 21st century) concert music, openness and curiosity to work with graphic notation including elements of improvisation, and well-developed collaborative skills. 

REGISTRATIONS

Registrations for UNSW Orchestra will open in January 2021

Join UNSW Orchestra: Auditions | Music Performance

Date: Thursday February 11, 9.00am

Location: G14, Robert Webster Building

Auditions will take place between 10am and 5pm on Thursday 11 February and Friday 12 February.

Please be prepared to play and complete:

  • Two pieces to play unaccompanied on your nominated instrument
  • Scales and technical work
  • Sight reading
  • Aural assessment

Rehearsals for UNSW Orchestra are each Tuesday during the academic term, 6:30pm-9:00pm in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium UNSW.

Non-Academic Enquiries: Please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

REGISTRATION:

Registrations for UNSW Wind Symphony will open in January 2021.

Be A Section Leader: UNSW Wind Symphony Auditions | Music Performance

Members may audition for the position of section leader. Auditions will take place on Friday 12 Feburary 2021. 

Date: Friday February 12, 3.00pm

Location: G14, Robert Webster Building

Audition For UNSW Wind Symphony Section Leader in 2021.

Please be prepared to play and complete:

  • Two pieces to play unaccompanied on your nominated instrument
  • Scales and technical work
  • Sight reading
  • Aural assessment

Rehearsals for UNSW Wind Symphony are 4pm-6:15pm each Tuesday during the academic term, in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium UNSW.

The Music Performance Unit will be offering a small number of masterclasses throughout the remainder of the year, to which all will be welcome. Please check back regularly on our website for the latest offerings, which will be updated throughout the term.

Non-Academic Enquiries: Please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

 

Ensemble Convenor: John Napier

Schedule: Weeks 1-10, Thursday 4-6pm, Robert Webster G18 

This ensemble features the djembe drums (also ‘jembe’) a ‘goblet’ shaped drum whose origins are associated with the Mandinka peoples of the former Mali Empire. These drums are now part of various musical cultures from West Africa including but not limited to the nations of Senegal, Guinea, and Mali. The djembe is played with the hand while the three accompanying dunun drums (also dundun, djun djun) and bells are played with sticks. Traditional djembe ensemble music is learned aurally and presents rhythmic challenges to the musician. The ensemble instruction will also include some singing and dancing. 

No auditions required. 

Offer in T2 & T3 2021

Ensemble Director: Dr Kim Burwell 

Classical chamber music is for pre-formed small ensembles. To arrange an audition, you should email me (k.burwell@unsw.edu.au) with a list of ensemble members and instruments, ready to perform repertoire that you have previously rehearsed, even if it is still a work in progress. You should also be prepared to discuss your intentions for repertoire during the term. The repertoire should be challenging and should offer participants shared responsibilities across a range of ensemble skills. There may be some scope to negotiate schedules: the earlier you get in touch, the more scope we will have. Feel free to contact me at any time, for more information, feedback on ideas, or appointments for auditions.

Ensemble Director: TBA

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Tuesdays. 4pm-6pm 

Jazz Students MUST Read -

Proposals for Jazz Chamber Ensembles are invited for T3. This is an exciting opportunity to pursue musical interests that broadly fall within jazz and improvised music. Entry is by a discussion with Sandy Evans. Write a short proposal detailing the creative rationale for your project, the instrumentation and the repertoire. Email your proposal to Sandy ASAP, and before _____________. Please include the Student Id for each musician in the group, and either your Performance Lab Course Code or your Ensemble Elective course code. Proposals will only be accepted for projects where most of the musicians elect this ensemble as their Primary Ensemble enrolment.

A musical sample may also be requested by Sandy in some cases, but isn’t required in the initial proposal.

Ensemble Convenor: TBA

Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10, Thursday 4-5pm, Room TBA

The Latin Conjunto is dedicated to the performance of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian genres, such as:  son, pachanga, mambo, salsa, samba and choro. Both instrumentalists and vocalist are invited to join the ensemble through audition. All students will learn the fundamental rhythms for these various genres, and some may elect to learn the percussion instruments. Auditions will be held in O-week but also please apply to _____via email: 

Ensemble Director: TBA

Schedule: weeks 1-5, 7-10, Thursday 4pm-6pm, Robert Webster 331 

The Balinese gamelan at UNSW is a variation of the semar pegulingan type, a gong-chime ensemble consisting of up to thirty players. The UNSW ensemble consists of metallophones, gongs, and other instruments, such as flutes, fiddles, drums and cymbals. This type of gamelan music is based on a seven-tone scale and can be used to perform a diverse repertoire including contemporary gong kebyar compositions, which are characterised by brilliant sounds, syncopations, sudden and gradual changes in sound colour, dynamics, tempo and articulation, and complex, complementary interlocking melodic-rhythmic patterns (kotekan). 

No auditions required, please email ensemble director if interested. 

 

Ensemble Director: Dr Adam Hulbert 

Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7- 10, Monday 4pm-6pm in Webster 140 

Sound Lab (Studio) is intended for students who are interested in developing their ability to work in a studio environment. This ensemble focuses on studio recording and mixing techniques for a range of instruments and involves collaborating with other musicians and ensembles to record their performances. Participants will also use their recorded material to develop remixes. 

 

Ensemble Director: Dr John Napier 

Please express your interest during O-Week to Dr John Napier. 

Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursdays 4pm-6pm, Room TBA

The Tango Ensemble will play classic Argentine tangos and milongas, using scores originally mostly written and arranged between 1930 and 1950. For pianists, players of orchestral strings, flute, clarinet, saxophone. Places in this group are limited and if auditions are required, they will be held in O-week, but please email John by sending your application to Dr John Napier.

Ensemble Director: TBA

Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10 Wednesday 4-6pm Room TBA 

Email ensemble director ASAP to secure your place. 

The Handbells ensemble features the university's own set of Malmark Bells, a professional instrument that offers students a fun and unique way to make music together. 

The ensemble plays a diverse range of repertoire, ranging from folk tunes and classical music to contemporary, film scores, original compositions; we are only limited by the input in the ensemble. Students have the opportunity to write or arrange their own works for the ensemble, and accepted compositions will give students the opportunity to conduct their own work. The Handbells ensemble plays (at least one) concert at the end of the semester; this may require participation outside of the normal rehearsal hours of the ensemble. 

Up to 14 students will be accepted into the ensemble. No prior experience is required, however, apply promptly as places are limited and fill up fast. 

No auditions required. 

 

Ensemble Director: Dr Adam Hulbert 

Sound Lab (Live) ensemble is offered to musicians who would like to produce and perform new electroacoustic works. You are encouraged to use your existing techniques with DAW environments and traditional instrumentation and/or expand these to incorporate UNSW’s collection of fixed-architecture and modular synthesisers. Primary tools for the performance will be Ableton Live with Push and hardware synths. You'll will be given support for learning these where needed. The ensemble will perform live in a multimedia environment, and video artists/VJs are welcome to apply. In T3 performances of the works will be filmed in Studio One.

In T3 this ensemble is offered as face-to-face, with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Of course, nothing is certain, and if a lockdown is declared you’ll need to be willing (and able) to adapt to working remotely.

About the theme

Heterotopia is a concept elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault to describe certain cultural, institutional and discursive spaces that are somehow ‘other’: disturbing, intense, incompatible, contradictory or transforming. Heterotopias are worlds within worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. (Wikipedia)

In the second Sound Lab Live for 2020, you are invited to respond to the concept of ‘heterotopias’ by creating a soundscape that reimagines an existing place. T3 sees a return to campus, which means we can start to use the hardware machines. You are are encouraged to use field recording, as well as hardware instruments such as Buchla Music Easel, Modular synth, Dave Smith Prophet, Arturia minibrute, Theremin, or Fairlight CMI, or your own instrument in a new context. You’ll also be asked to film some material for projection-mapped visuals that will accompany the filmed performance.

Application process

With a return to campus, lab spaces are limited, so an expression of interest will accepted on or before Friday 4th September. Late submissions will be considered only if all spaces have not been filled.

Expression of interests should answer the following:

  1. Name/zID/Email/Ensemble course code.
  2. Your initial idea: what space are you thinking of?
  3. Do you wish to work collaboratively or individually?
  4. Your reason for applying.
  5. Your experience with electronic music and instruments you’d like to use.*
  6. Two song/musical piece/installations that currently inspire your approach.

*Experience is not essential, just a willingness to experiment and learn.

All inquiries and applications go to Adam Hulbert: a.hulbert@unsw.edu.au

Organisational units