Harry believes the best music emerges when composers are emotionally invested in the genre, style or meaning of what they are creating.
Harry, who is completing a Doctor of Musical Arts in composition at the University of Sydney, feels that finding a strong concept or source of inspiration for a new composition is crucial to the success of the music.
While he is working closely with Year 12 students at the moment as they create their HSC compositions, he is also assisting with the development of a Music Composition curriculum for students from Years 9 to 11.
As part of this role, in fostering important connections across the school and building curriculum links, Harry will work in conjunction with the Head of Early Learning, Director of Music and Early Learning Staff to develop an arts-based collaborative experience for students in Early Learning across this year.
A Primary Composition Club!
In facilitating a love of creativity and developing students skills in organising sound, the department will be launching a Primary Composition Club for students in Years 5 and 6, which will see Harry mentor our younger composers. This club will run fortnightly each Friday lunchtime. If there are any students interested in joining the Composition Club, please email the Music Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Harry, a former trumpet player who has been composing music since he was in primary school, said playing in various youth orchestras as a child gave him a strong appreciation of the classics of the orchestral repertoire along with the various elements involved in composing a new piece.
“When you are sitting in an orchestra, you learn so much about how great pieces of music are structured and put together,” he said.
“I played under a few conductors who were enthusiastic about 20th and 21st Century music.
“You learn about balance, and about how different sections of the orchestra function from the inside. There is so much to learn from these experiences.”
In his own composition practice, for which he receives commissions from arts organisations, festivals and individuals for celebrations and other occasions, Harry is particularly enthusiastic about the freedom of the 21st Century arts scene, in which “almost anything goes”.
In his teaching, he enjoys “the sheer diversity of music students bring to you” including their wide sources of inspiration, ranging from classical music and indie rock bands to traditional music from a variety of cultures.
“Students bring their cultural background into their writing as well,” he said. “IGS is very culturally diverse.
“We are all much more connected through the internet and social media than we were in decades past. A student might name a Korean boy band as their inspiration, for example.”
Students who are emotionally invested in the music they create tend to do best in the HSC, Harry said.
“It’s a positive feedback loop. The process becomes so much easier.”
While Beethoven might have used a quill pen and ink, Harry and most contemporary composers use computer software.
“I am really excited to be at IGS,” he said. “It’s a very diverse, progressive school with really talented young kids and a really well-developed music program.
“It’s brilliant that the School has a Composer in Residence and is focused on the creative side of the arts.
“To be here is really exciting.”