A COMPOSER from Albury whose musical life already includes many female mentors is honoured to receive an award named for another remarkable woman.
Daniel Brinsmead won the inaugural Isabel Menton Composition Award for unpublished and previously unperformed choral works, earning the top prize of $4000.
The new competition is part of Australian Catholic University’s 25th anniversary celebrations and recognises Sister Isabel Menton’s contribution to the arts and Catholic education.
Brinsmead’s piece The Call of the Winds is a setting of a seasonal poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery, better known as the author of the Anne of Green Gables series.
The composer said he tried to evoke each season through different tonalities and choral textures.
“I wanted to celebrate both pianist and choir as equal artists,” he said.
“The piano part is, hopefully, as challenging and interesting as the choral parts.”
Now based in Wales studying for his Master of Music, Brinsmead still has family ties to the Border.
The former Albury High School and Border Christian College student graduated from the Australian National University School of Music in 2010.
He worked freelance in Canberra for several years and also took part in the Border Music Camp as official accompanist and then composer-in-residence.
Brinsmead said he began composing about the age of 14.
“My ever-patient mother gave me piano and music theory lessons throughout my schooling,” he said.
“I loved to improvise at the piano and scribble down my ideas.
“After discovering Sibelius (music scoring) software, I became transfixed with producing my own scores, arrangements and trying them out with friends.”
Brinsmead said being chosen as one of eight winners from 918 worldwide entries in the Abbey Road Anthem Competition in 2011 was a turning point in his career.
“Choral music has now become my passion,” he said.
“However composing doesn’t seem to get any easier and I am always grateful, and sometimes surprised, to finish a piece.
“Competitions are fantastic in that they give composers a deadline.
“Even if you don’t win, you can add a new work to your catalogue and have flexed your creative muscles.”